Sunday, November 16, 2008

19 Mile Brook, Cater Dome trail, October 2007

Another way to look at water in the mountains is to imagine the WMNF as a large filtering and water recharge system, or even a recharge ‘supra-organism’ since it is mostly living, that cleans and revitalizes the water. The White Mountains; the slopes, peaks, valleys, the forests, the trees and plants, the soils, the gravel, the rivers, the boulders in the rivers, gravity, sunlight, the wind, snow, and ice are all intricate parts of a highly efficient water catchment, filtering and recharge and delivery system. 19 Mile Brook (NMB) in the photo above starts high up on the northwest side of Carter Dome and the east side of Wildcat Mountain. It begins as springs, surface outlets for artesianal, or ground, water. (That’s water that has seeped into the underlying rock strata and is pulled by gravity sideways and downwards. In some cases it begins to ‘leak’ out at a surface point and is called a ‘spring’.) Of course the brook gets fed by rain and plenty of snow. At is tumbles and leaps down the mountain slope by way of V shaped ravines it gets oxygenated. When the leaves of deciduous trees are out and photosynthesizing sunlight the trees drink up enormous quantities of water in the soil and water from available sources like brooks and streams. Water taken up by plants is evaporated (evapo-transpiration), rises as vapor and later returns (condensation) as rain and snow (or sleet, hail, dog, cats, rubber boots, meatballs in one book I read, etc.) This cycle is essential for plants and people. For one thing it creates the atmosphere including the oxygen content that is kind of important for our lungs and blood, and for hiking, skiing, picture taking, etc.

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