Monday, March 16, 2009

3-16-09 The Pleasure of Finding Old Treasures.

It's also astonishing that I finally found these books (displayed in the above photo). I've been frantically looking for them for months. The blue one is Richard Goldthwait’s "Geology of the Presidential Range" published in 1940. It’s the copy Richard gave to me back when I was guiding for the AMC in the 1960s and carried around with me for several seasons in the huts . It’s a bit dog-eared and has what looks like a stain from a greasy plate but it's still a classic. (He updated it in 1968 in a publication I've introduced earlier in the blog that's available on the web.)

The other pamphlets are also classics. They’re the original reprints from "Appalachia", the semi-annual publication of the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC), of Stuart “Slim” Harris’s series of articles titled "Plants of the Presidential Range". He started the series in 1940 and completed it in 1947. They cover most, if not all, of the plants native to the White Mountains including ferns, lichen, grasses, mosses, flowering plants and trees. They’re lovely to look at because Slim illustrated them with his own pen and ink drawings. My favorite is the one on the grasses because it's the family of plants I know least about. Slim is mentioned earlier in this blog by way of his wife, Callista Harris (or simply, "Cal"), who survived him by many years. They were my teachers in my apprenticeship in the White Mountains. They were both superb naturalists and, as a couple, they also worked in the huts several summers during the Second World War. Slim, much earlier, had been hutmaster at Lakes of the Clouds Hut. I'll check the copywrite on the booklets and if they're okay I'll print material from them in the blog over the next few months as it's time, again, to look at plants.

I’ve put together a “virtual” scale model of the Garfield slide site on the Gale River Trail (see last entry in the blog) that takes into account all the variables of the site (for soil development), in particular trying to define "slope" in terms of mass wasting (it's really steep at the top of the slide track). I can now apply data from the Goldthwait paper on the soil development process and plant succession in Muir Inlet, Alaska. Comparisons between the Gale River site and the areas studied in Alaska are close in most cases. The one anomaly is moisture. The precipitation in that area of the Alaska coastline is high, much higher than the Whites, and, of course, moisture effects plant growth enormously. The objective isn’t precision, anyway, it’s just to get an idea of how old the soils are in the Whites, generally, how they evolved and continue to evolve, and how soils effect the plant population dynamics in the Whites.

No comments: