Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Over the past few weeks I seem to be posting a lot of recent pictures, more so than normal. That’s probably because, at least in my mind, this time of year is primetime for me. I absolutely love the fall, I think in general things are more beautiful now than at any other time. The colors change, the temperature’s perfect, the snow has finally melted enough so you can get to the high country, the bugs are gone, and even the humidity drops so you don’t get as much haze. It’s fantastic! One of these years I’m totally going to leave my schedule open so I can take a few days off at a moment’s notice and head up to the hills whenever the weather’s going to be nice. Not this year, unfortunately. But maybe next year.
I’ve already posted two pictures recently from the hike up to this point, so now you get to look at the reward that you get at the end of the trail: Colchuck Lake. The two peaks you see at the end of the lake, in no particular order, are Colchuck Peak and Dragontail Peak. I’m not sure what the name of the one that’s lit up there on the left is. That’s the Colchuck Glacier (the primary water source for this lake I think) between the two peaks there in the distance. It’s tough to see it through the reflection, but this lake (like many lakes in the high country) is very green and milky, due to silty deposits from glacial meltwater.
Sadly, I only had time for a dayhike, and I had stayed up until 2 am the night before picking just the right trail. But, I feel like I picked a winner, although it would have been great had I been able to stay overnight and see what this place looked like just before sunset and just after sunrise. Oh well, next year, right? I timed it intentionally so that I’d get to this spot with just about an hour and a half of daylight left, because that’s when the light starts getting good. So that at least worked out for me, although it made the hike back to the car a bit dicey. Also, I only had about 10 or 20 minutes to hang out at the lake proper before I had to head out, which meant I couldn’t explore much. I basically got to see the view from the end of the lake, then I had to turn tail and run. But man, it was worth it.
Okay, that’s it for today!
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens. 1/40s, f/11.0, ISO 400. Focal length: 11mm.
Friday, October 8, 2010
Well, I missed yesterday, and I came pretty darn close to missing today too. Phew, just made it in, under the buzzer. Of course, that means none of you will be reading this until Monday anyway, but hey, I don’t actually care when you all read it, I only care about getting it written before some completely arbitrary mental deadline. Because it matters, that’s all I’m saying.
This is another shot from my recent hikes, from two weekends ago this time, when I hiked up to Colchuck Lake. For some reason, I’m still feeling a little bit of a mental block that’s preventing me from posting the pictures that I consider the “best ones” from recently, so instead you get another so-so one. This is Mountaineer Creek. As you hike up to Colchuck Lake, first along the Stuart Lake trail, then on the Colchuck Lake trail proper after it splits off, you hike along (or near) this creek for almost 3 miles, crossing it a few times in the process. Most of the time, it acts exactly like you would expect a mountain creek to: it tumbles noisly over a bunch of rocks and stuff. But shortly after the junction (of the trails for Stuart and Colchuck Lakes), you get to a very calm stretch, where it looks to have a nice, sandy bed, with even a bunch of moss growing here and there. This was fall, I’m not sure quite what happens in the spring when all the snow starts melting, as it doesn’t look like there’s really anywhere for a bunch of extra water to go. Hmm, maybe I’ll have to come back and check it out. The water here is COLD though – I think this is the drainage of Colchuck Lake, which consists of glacial meltwater. (Well, I’m assuming that’s true (the drainage of Colchuck Lake part), I don’t actually know.)
Anyway, I hope all of these fall color pictures I’ve been posting has inspired you to get out and see some color near you, wherever that is. (and yes, I’m deliberately discriminating against any potential southern-hemisphere readers with that remark – Northern Hemisphere Rules!!!) Around Seattle, there is supposed to be heavy rains (and even snow!) in the mountains this weekend, so I’ll probably be chilling out around the city. But, if you’re somewhere else, you should get outside! And take some pictures! And tell me where they are! Because I want to see them!
Okay, that’s it for this week, enjoy the weekend!
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens. 1/125s, f/10.0, ISO 400. Focal length: 21mm.
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, http://wta.org. 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.