June 17, 2009
I’ve been meaning to get this one out of the way for quite awhile. This is Mt. Shuksan and (the very appropriately named) Picture Lake. It’s up near Mt. Baker, in the Heather Meadows Recreation Area, which sits on the boundary of North Cascades National Park. The parking lot(s) for the Mt. Baker ski area are very close by, if that means anything to you.
Similarly to how the view of the Maroon Bells and Maroon Lake outside of Aspen is *the* prototypical Colorado view, this is *the* view for Washington State. (Well, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch – the real Washington State view is probably the view of the Seattle skyline from Kerry Park, or something involving Mt. Rainier or the Pike Place Market. But that makes this Picture Of The Day entry less interesting, so shut up.)
Heather Meadows is a great place to go hiking or even just to drive in to visit, since you can drive very high up, basically to the top of the ridge between Mt. Shuksan and Mt. Baker, so the views even from the road are jaw-dropping incredible. However, it takes a LONG time for the snow to melt. (Mt. Baker Ski Area holds the *world record* for snowfall in one season – not just among ski areas, but among any location where snowfall is measured – 1.140 inches, or 95 feet. So it’s usually well into August before the hiking trails are clear. (And of course, by October it starts building right back up.)
This picture was taken in the late afternoon, probably 5 pm or so, in early September. Right around then is when the lake calms down enough to allow the mirror-smooth reflection, and the sun is shining right on the mountain, bringing out all the detail. It’s fairly predictable, actually, and I’ve got almost this same exact picture from about 5 years earlier that I took with my previous-generation camera. (Now that I have my “new” (at the time, it’s since been replaced) digital SLR, I went back to take it again.) But, it’s a fantastic view, and you see it pop up here and there in interesting places.
One such interesting place, as it turns out, was on a t-shirt in a gift shop in FRISCO, COLORADO!! Here’s a picture of it:
(Apparently, Colorado is the only state that’s licensed to have mountains, so any mountain scene must therefore be contained somewhere within.)
So, if you find yourself in the Seattle area, and have an afternoon to kill with a super-nice drive, I’d say head up to Heather Meadows. Well worth the time.
It’s worth panning around the map to look at Mt. Shuksan and Mt. Baker.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel XT, 18-55 mm kit lens. 1/200s, f/5.6, ISO 100. Focal length: 18mm.