Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Well gosh darnit, I missed Monday again. I hope I didn’t ruin anybody’s day because of it. Oh well, so much for my dreams of going 5 for 5 this week.
Today you’re looking at Big Four Mountain. It’s in Washington, along a scenic drive called the “Mountain Loop”. It’s hard to describe exactly where it is using just text, especially if you have no context, but it’s basically a loop (duh) that lies north of Highway 2 (Stevens Pass) and south of Highway 20 (North Cascades National Park), and isn’t on the way to anywhere. It is its own destination. It’s for sure a pretty road, but as is the case with most mountain roads here in Washington state, it stays down in the lowlands, following the rivers. As a result, you’re surrounded by huge rocky peaks the whole time, but you don’t realize it, because the trees are so thick around you. Once you can get up on the valley walls a bit, you realize how gorgeous the surrounding terrain is, but if you never leave the car, it’s easy to miss.
Big Four Mountain is one of the exceptions to the rule, that you can actually see from the roadway. In fact, there’s a really easy 1-mile-or-so hike that takes you up to the “Big Four Ice Caves”, which I’d highly recommend checking out for all non-hiker types. It’s a very easy trail, with big payoffs. The ice caves themselves form in these huge piles of snow at the bottom of huge granite cliffs. There’s streams that run underneath the piles of snow, which melt them out from underneath, resulting in, well, you know, a cave. Not a cave that you should go into, because they have been known to collapse and kill people, but other than that they’re very friendly. The trail is great for kids, even really little ones. Except for the walking into the caves part. That part’s not great for anyone. But now I’m talking in circles.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens. 1/320s, f/9.0, ISO 100. Focal length: 32mm.