It is a grim and cloudy day this Monday. We were getting spoiled over the past week and temperatures rose into the low 40s at some points. Roofs with ice and snow, some of these winter coats dating back to Thanksgiving, came sliding down at times in small hunks. This past weekend the whole shebang came down in many places, notably the Mazama store and our log cabin. At the store, the SLIME corner was constantly being inundated with falling missiles of snow and ice that curled under the roof edge. Thanks as usual to Larry McWhirter and Jay Lucas for the constant clean-ups.
The memorial for Ellis Fink on Saturday was attended by an uncountable number of people. I can say, without exaggeration, that I have not seen that many cars in town since the opening ceremonies of the North Cascades Scenic Highway. Cars were parked at the top of the hill at the U.S. Forest Service building all the way to the bottom. Roads in all directions around the Winthrop Barn were full and the traffic jam continued into town. Inside the Barn, it was a crush of people, beyond standing-room-only — even entry was tight.
This was all in appreciation of the life of a great guy who expired far too early.
At Harts Pass, after a long absence, the depth measure thingie is back in service. There are now 71 inches up there at 6,500 feet, just a shade less than 6 feet. The snow/water content is at 29 inches, indicating almost half the snow is containing water — close to 3 feet. This content is 130 percent of average and winter is just beginning. El Niño, according to forecasts, is going to produce new surprises as the months roll by.
At the North Cascades Basecamp on Lost River Road, the annual weekly programs will commence this Thursday (tonight for many subscribers of the paper) and will offer, prior to the wildlife lecture, the mini-dinner of soup and a roll. The cost is $7 per person, beginning at 5:30 p.m., with the program starting at 6 p.m.
The program will be hosted by biologist Kent Woodruff, who will give an update on the Beaver Reclamation Program, now about 10 years old: a decade of relocating Castor canadensis in the valley. Since I was a little kid in Maryland, beavers and river otters have been my favorite wild animals The program comes at an opportune time. My daughter gave me a book titled Once They Were Hats, the most comprehensive beaver tome I have ever read, from pre-history to modern times.
It has been a non-stop read, and Woodruff knows his stuff. The program he will be discussing, and Winthrop, even got notice in the book via The Methow Conservancy by the author, who is a Canadian. Her scope covers the entire North American continent and its workaholic animals that narrowly avoided extinction.