Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Coming to the end of another alphabet--Z is always a little more difficult than some of the other letters. I must thank Dina from Jerusalem Daily Photo, whose Zones of Silence post suggested the idea of some other zones to me, the ecological zones of Mt. Rainier National Park.
We start at the lower elevations, with the Forest Zone, where abundant rainfall and melting snowpack from above provide for a lush dense growth of a wide variety of green plants.
Hiking through the old growth forest on a warm day is a cooling experience. Ferns, fungus, mosses, lichens, and a variety of cool weather wildflowers carpet the ground. Nurse logs provide a new base for new saplings.
Critters in the forest include some you might be squeamish about.
So, now lets go up to a higher elevation--the Sub-Alpine Zone. Once the snow melts, the lush meadows are home to a rainbow of wildflowers, starting with these Avalanche Lilies and their companion yellow Glacier Lilies, the first to pop through the snow.
Further up the slope we reach the Alpine Zone--conditions so severe that the few trees are only a few feet tall after a hundred year's growth. The soil is thin and rocky.
The area is similar to Arctic tundra. Growing season is so very short...
In the rocky reaches of the Alpine Zone, we saw dozens of pika the other day.
So thank you again, Dina, for suggesting that Z is for Zones. Thank you to Denise for another successful round of ABC Wednesday. Thank you to the team for keeping us going. You will find the other ABC-Z entries listed here.