Monday, December 31, 2012

Climate study

This month, my family left the brown plains of Iowa for the lush greenness of Washington, the Evergreen State. I combined a vacation with my search for interesting waymarks and geocaches, which lead to a deep and new understanding of climate. I hadn't expected this, but that's what happened. Reading can inform a student, but it will not make climate "real."

We spent one week just east of the Cascade Mountains, and another week on the Hood Canal. The  areas we visited were very wet (in different ways), with precipitation of some sort every day. We've never experienced these things -- being fogged in for an entire day; having new, deep, moist, fluffy snow every day; a temperate rainforest of the Olympic National Forest and Park; and most astounding to us -- green winters (as opposed to brown or white). "G" of GAIN said that "if it's green, it's really-really green."

One of the best experiences was climbing Mt. Walker on Christmas Eve. We were able to pass by fungi, ferns, rhododendrons -- with buds!, and evergreen trees -- cedars and hemlocks. Because of the climate, trees here seem to grow taller and bigger around than they do in Iowa. We also experienced 2000' of elevation in our steep two mile hike up Walker, so we were able to learn about wet, drippy snow and dry, windswept snow.

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