September 27, 2010 – Stuart Lake Trail

Stuart Lake Trail

Stuart Lake Trail

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hey everyone, here it is! This year’s first fall color picture! (Meaning, the first one *taken* this year. Obviously, it’s not the first one *posted* this year…) The forecast for nice weather on Saturday held true, so I took full advantage. I ended up staying up until about 2am Friday night trying to pick a trail though, so that made getting out of bed early on Saturday pretty difficult. The difficulty was because I was trying to figure out based on very incomplete information what the colors were doing and where. Also, I of course needed to pick a trail that would actually have the kind of plants that would be changing. Even if I nailed the elevation and location (eastern vs. western slope of the Cascades), if I had ended up on a trail with just evergreen trees, that wouldn’t have helped anybody.

I ended up settling on the Colchuck Lake trail, which is near Leavenworth, up Icicle Creek Canyon, and takes you into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. (You’ll notice that the title of today’s post is “Stuart Lake Trail”, not “Colchuck Lake Trail”, that’s because the Colchuck Lake trail branches off from the Stuart Lake trail 2.5 miles in. So at this point, it was before the junction.) In the end, I feel like I made a pretty decent choice. Down low, there were a lot of yellows and lime greens, and as you got higher up there were a few oranges and reds tossed in. It was mostly the lower ground-covery bushes and such that were changing, but that was all I was hoping for at this point in September. And of course, the payoff of the big lake basin at the end, while not being very fall-color-y, is still absolutely fantastic. Maybe I’ll post a shot of that here in a few days.

If you were curious about my methodology for finding where the color was, I used (as I do often) the website for the Washington Trails Association,  Their website has trail guide write-ups for a huge number of trails around the state, and they allow users to write up trail reports and include photos.  So, I browsed the list of the most recently submitted reports, to look for people talking about fall colors, hopefully mentioning how far along they were, and even more hopefully including pictures so I could see for myself.  Based on those reports, and the location and elevation of the trails they came from, I decided to aim for about 5000 feet of elevation, on the eastern slope of the Cascades.  This trail fell right into that category, taking you from 3400 feet up to 5600 feet.  This picture was taken at just under 4000 feet, for what it’s worth.

In other, completely unrelated news today: Amazon had a contest to create your own commercial for the Kindle. They just released the list of winners, and it turns out my cousin Deanne won the grand prize!! Here’s a link to the page with the winning videos, definitely go check it out. Also, here’s a link to her personal blog. It doesn’t look like she’s got an entry yet about winning the big contest, but that shouldn’t stop you from checking it out.  In addition to making prize-winning commercials for Kindles, she also paints semi-professionally (sometimes using my photos as source material!) so she posts time-lapse videos of her working on the paintings. It’s awesome!  Check it out!  Doooooo it!   Now, dang it, do it NOW!

Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 17-55mm f/2.8 lens. 1/200s, f/7.1, ISO 200. Focal length: 17mm.

Subscribe to the Picture of the Day via: a feed reader (RSS) or email


  1. avatar
    Deanne September 28, 2010

    Haha, this post cracked me up! Thanks for the shout out!! :)

    PS-You Rock….I wish I could bring you and your camera with us to Door County Wisc. Next weekend to photograph the fall colors up there!

    • avatar
      Dave September 29, 2010

      Didn’t you just buy yourself a fancy little camera not too long ago? Just bring that! Although it probably doesn’t crack lame jokes all the time, so that’s definitely a drawback.

      Just remember to crank down the exposure compensation, the bright colors from leaves can really confuse your light sensor. I had to go as low as -1 1/3 this weekend.

Leave a Reply to Deanne Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *