Wednesday, April 20, 2005


As promised I'm posting some of my photos from Mount Rainier. In my last post I covered most of the highlights, but I ignored two great signs I saw. The first sign doesn't have a photo, but it was on the highway and advertised the Weyerhauser Bonsai Collection. That's right, Weyerhauser the paper company has a collection of well groomed miniature trees. Bonsai trees are regular trees that you abuse into fitting some centuries old notion of beauty. You starve and cut too short the trees, bracing and tying the limbs into interesting but unhealthy configurations. I guess I found it funny that a paper company would go to the trouble of growing these bonsai trees when a great one takes hundreds of years. My understanding of the paper industry is that it's not the most patient, and certainly not with any organism sporting bark.

The second great sign was for a Volcano Evacuation Route.
These are signs that don't make appearances in the Mid West. You don't see a lot of evacuation route signs (any kind, tsunami, volcano, etc) in Ohio. We have tornado warnings, but those don't get fancy signs. This particular sign was about 500 yards outside of the park proper. Which means it's maybe 5 miles from the middle of Mount Rainier. Here's the deal, if you're 5 miles from a giant volcano and it erupts you're dead. At five miles away the pyroclastic flow is going to get you. Moreover, if you don't know to move away from the smoking scar in the earth that used to be a 14,000 foot mountain...then you've probably already been naturally selected, and I'm guessing that the sign isn't going to be the primary trigger for fleeing. I have to imagine that somewhere in our lizard brains is something that says, when molten rock begins raining and flowing at 80KM/'s time to move, and with some rapidity.

For more photos visit Extra Vaganza

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