Posts Tagged: Merritt Lake

September 23, 2010 – Merritt Lake Trail

Merritt Lake Trail

Merritt Lake Trail

Thursday, September 23, 2010

So, as promised, here’s a shot of some fall color, to officially welcome autumn! Well, it wasn’t really promised per se, it was more sort of vaguely hinted at. But that’s as good as a promise in my book! (Probably explains why I’m habitually disappointed by everyone around me.)

This picture of course comes from my favorite fall-color hike: the Merritt Lake Trail, which is along Highway 2 a little ways east of Stevens Pass. If there are any east-coasters reading this that find themselves stranded here in the Pacific Northwest and missing the colors found in the sea of deciduous trees out there, they should totally check this trail out. At least the first couple miles of it anyway. Most of the forest out here is of course coniferous, which means you don’t get any fall color. But you can find pockets that are spectacular. Specifically, there’s a lot of color in the lowlands, there tends to be a lot of oaks and such along rivers in the mountains, and here and there you’ll find random pockets of color like along this trail. Also, the little bushes and such at higher elevations tend to have some nice color displays, but you have to work a little bit more to get to those.

As far as when to go, that depends on your target. The high country is probably showing some really nice color *right now*, and potentially for the next couple weeks. The mid-country (like this trail) shows some really nice color in early/mid October usually (this picture was taken on October 11 last year, although the year before it wasn’t quite this far along that early), and the lowlands tend to peak around the end of October, maybe into the beginning of November. It’s of course tough to know how things are looking up there until you’re actually out there, so it can be a real bummer if you guess wrong, and aim too high or low. (Yeah, been there, believe me – last year in fact, I thought it was still high-country time, so I did a hike up at Mt. Rainier, but instead of seeing any fall color I ended up just hiking around in 3-6 inches of snow the whole day. Still awesome in its own way, but not quite what I had in mind.) I’m actually super curious to see what’s going on this year. Since the weather’s been so atypical all summer long, I have no clue when all the different colors will come out. They’re predicting about a day and a half of decent weather this weekend though, so I’m hopefully going to find out. My absolute fear is that this nice weather will land too soon, and nothing will be changing yet. We’ll see.

Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 lens. 1/250s, f/5.0, ISO 100. Focal length: 37mm.

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June 30, 2010 – Autumn on the Merritt Lake Trail

Merritt Lake Trail

Autumn on the Merritt Lake Trail

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It’s the end of June, folks. That means fall is right around the corner. I’m saying that with a particularly cynical attitude, given that here in Seattle we’re still waiting for our summer weather to start. A common joke around here is that summer in Seattle starts on July 5th. And this year it’s holding particularly true. We’ve still only had I believe one day that hit 75 degrees in Seattle this year. One. Effing. Day. As I write this it’s hovering “comfortably” in the low 60s. But, sometime in the mid-morning on July 5, our summertime high pressure is supposed to finally arrive in earnest, and next week is supposed to be gorgeous. But until the 5th, we’ll be struggling to hit 65 degrees. Sigh.

Right, anyway. Here’s another picture taken in the fall along the Merritt Lake Trail. If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you might start to wonder if the Merritt Lake Trail is the ONLY trail I’ve ever hiked in the fall. But the reality is, if you just consider the last couple years, you’d be exactly right. (Amazing what having a kid will do to your best laid plans…) But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a FANTASTIC trail in the fall. Lots of crazy bold colors that don’t seem like they should naturally occur in nature, especially not in that quantity. (Maybe not QUITE as unnatural-looking at the explosion of fluffy pink cherry blossoms in the springtime, but bringing those up is playing dirty.)

Anyway, enjoy the rest of your June. If you don’t live in the Pacific Northwest with me, you’re probably outside having fun instead of hunkering down inside with a jacket on reading stupid blogs on the internet.

Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 lens. 1/200s, f/6.3, ISO 100. Focal length: 28mm

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January 4, 2010 – Autumn Hiking

Autumn on the Merritt Lake Trail

Autumn on the Merritt Lake Trail

Monday, January 4, 2010

Okay, finally, we’re done with all of those holidays and all that. Back to the grind, etc. Not only is this your first post of the YEAR, it’s also the first post of the WEEK! Man oh man, the excitement is palpable. Palpapalable. Plapable. Palatable. The excitement is reasonably agreeable.

Hiking in the fall is great. Views that are normally composed of a bunch of indistinguishable ordinary green suddenly become a lot more interesting. I’m a big fan of color in my pictures as you’ve probably noticed, so I’m like a kid in a candy store that time of year. There was a several minute gap between writing each sentence in this paragraph, that’s why they don’t really fit together.

In other news, I really do apologize for the infrequency of posts over the past couple weeks. I used the holidays as an excuse, but that’s really all it was, an excuse. The real reason is actually pretty silly, and a little bit embarrassing. There was this website, see, that gives away these cheeseball blog awards. No, not the bloggers choice awards, this is a completely different sleazeball awards website. But it’s a similar idea, you nominate yourself and tell everyone to register and vote for you, thus making all of your friends give away their contact info to a shady organization for no benefit to themselves. It’s really a pretty smart way to get other people to recruit traffic for you. But back to the point, I nominated myself and was waiting to see if I was chosen as a finalist. I figured I wouldn’t be, but just in case I was I didn’t want to have a bunch of crappy pictures posted that would scare any traffic that headed my way because of it. But at the same time I didn’t want to “waste” a bunch of top quality pics in quick succession either. I gotta spread those out, ya know? And use filler pictures like this one to push back that inevitable sad day when I run out of postable pictures. Well, in the end they just cancelled this year’s awards for whatever reason. So now I can resume your daily drip of mostly mundane but occasionally fantastic photos. Welcome back!

Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 28-75 mm f/2.8 lens. 1/200s, f/2.8, ISO 100. Focal length: 28mm.

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October 13, 2009 – Merritt Lake Trail

Fall color on the Merritt Lake trail

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hey everyone. I mentioned yesterday that I’d try to post a picture from this weekend, and that’s exactly what I did. I took Julie and Wes along with me on the Merritt Lake trail, which is 5 or 10 miles past Stevens Pass along Highway 2. I had been on the trail before (last year at about this time, actually. In fact, I think it was exactly 1 year ago today), but that time Julie stayed home, since she was 8 and a half months pregnant. That’s right, I left my wife who was about to pop at home while I went to go play outside. I am truly that awesome.

Anyway, my first thought was to try out a different trail, but the colors were so nice on this one last year that I kept telling myself how much Julie would like it, so I figured now that she was actually able to come along, we may as well hit it up again, and we weren’t disappointed at all.

Western Washington has some stupendous fall color action, although you wouldn’t know it. We tend to be known much more for pine trees and rain. But we’ve got the whole spectrum out here, everything from brilliant reds to golden yellows to flaming orange. Up in the mountains, it’s usually in little islands within the seas of evergreens, but down in the lowlands we get full hillsides of mind-blowing color that rivals anything New England can boast. You don’t believe me, do you? Yeah, I wouldn’t have either, until I saw it myself. This particular trail is a particularly good place to go for color, since you get to walk through these huge canopies of autumn goodness. Everything from the bushes down by your feet to the tree canopy just glows. It’s fantastic. You’re up at around 4,000 feet, so the trees up there tend to change earlier than those down here at sea level. So we’ve still got a couple weeks yet before we see the best of the show around town.

I hope you all are enjoying this time of year, wherever you are. You should get out and take some pictures, it only comes around once a year. Remember: underexpose by 1/3rd or 2/3rds of a stop, otherwise the color will get washed out. You want those leaves to GLOW. Okay, that’s it for today.

Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 lens. 1/200s, f/4.5, ISO 100. Focal length: 28mm.

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July 7, 2009 – Merritt Lake Trail

Fall colors on the Merritt Lake Trail

Fall colors on the Merritt Lake Trail

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I’ll make up for yesterday’s super long entry by making today’s short and sweet.

This is a picture taken along the Merritt Lake trail, along Highway 2 a little ways east of Stevens Pass. This was actually taken only about 3 weeks before my son Wes was born. At the time of course I didn’t realize that was still 3 weeks away. This was the last weekend that I felt comfortable heading out for a hike where I’d be 2+ hours away from home without cell coverage.

And I realize that makes me sound like a terrible husband, heading out to play around in the mountains while my 8-months-pregnant wife sits at home. But it’s not like that at all. Julie doesn’t like to hike anyway. Plus, she was busy that day. So the options were either sit at home alone doing nothing, or get out hiking. Easy choice.

I’m trying to think of any tips or pointers I can give related to this picture, but I’m not coming up with anything. Guess I just got lucky? :)


Couldn’t find the trail in the satellite view, so I put the pushpin on the parking lot.

Notes: Canon EOS Rebel XT, Tamron 28-300 mm VC lens. 1/125s, f/8.0, ISO 200. Focal length: 28mm.

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