Posts Tagged: North Cascades National Park

April 13, 2011 – Mt. Baker Ski Area

Mt. Baker Ski Area

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Turns out it’s still ski season here in Washington, which is awesome. Although no, this picture isn’t THAT recent, it’s from earlier this year, end of January I think. Remember how I said that I headed up to Mt. Baker that one particular day to take advantage of the sunshine? It’s still true! And this is from then!

The terrain you’re looking at (which is part of the Mt. Shuksan massif) is all out of bounds, probably inside the National Park boundary (and I’ve mentioned all this before.) Nice little slide right there on that little hummock. It’s not clear if those people you see in the picture caused it or not. I have an earlier picture two of them are standing on the top of the ridge above it, and the third guy is well below it on the next hummock down. By analyzing the ski trails, it looks like there’s a decent chance that he did start it. But, all three of them look pretty relaxed, which is definitely *not* how I’d look if either me or my buddy just narrowly avoided being buried in a slide that I/he/she had triggered way in the backcountry. So, I’m going to just say it’s “unclear” and leave it at that.

Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Canon 55-250mm IS lens. 1/500s, f/10.0, ISO 100. Focal length: 250mm.

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March 17, 2011 – Heather Pass

Heather Pass, North Cascades National Park

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Today’s post takes us back to last fall, and to North Cascades National Park in Washington state. The North Cascades contain some of the most rugged terrain I personally have ever seen, and consequently it’s pretty ridiculously beautiful. It’s not one of the most visited national parks, and as such access to it is somewhat limited. Meaning, you can’t get to the huge majority of the park without hiking for several days. There are definitely some cool places you can get to via a simple day-hike though (like this spot), so it’s well worth a trip even if you’re just visiting the area for a weekend.

The day this picture was taken worked out really well, it was one of those perfect, crisp, sunny fall days. I mean, I make it sound like I just got really lucky, but that’s not quite right. I mean, it turns out there’s this thing called the internet that has all sorts of information on it, like weather forecasts and movie times and pictures of naked people. The internet told me that it was going to be nice, so that’s why I spent the 3-ish hours driving to the trailhead that day. But the area in which I WAS lucky was that sky. I mean, holy crap, look at that sky. That’s the kind of sky people like me DREAM about. Toss a polarizer on your lens and your jaw will just drop. I love it.

Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens. 1/200s, f/5.6, ISO 200. Focal length: 20mm.

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March 4, 2011 – Mt. Baker Ski Area

Mt. Baker Ski Area

Friday, March 4, 2011

Hey, guess what!! I posted a picture today! I know, I know, I’m awesome.

This is another view from Mt. Baker Ski Area, in northwestern Washington state. I specifically chose the words “view from Mt. Baker” as opposed to “this is Mt. Baker Ski Area”, becasue the area you’re looking at here is strictly out of bounds. The ridge in the foreground is in a designated wilderness area, and I think the peak in the background (it’s actually just a little pointy part on the ridge that leads up to the actual summit of Mt. Shuksan) is inside the bounds of North Cascades National Park. So while technically possible to ski it, it would take quite a hike to get there, through some really gnarly (and extremely avalanche-prone) terrain. Maybe that’s your cup of tea, but it sure ain’t mine. But, I was totally standing inside the bounds of the ski area when I took it, so it totally counts.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll stand by it (and then I’ll caveat the crap out of it): Mt. Baker has the most jaw-droppingly incredible scenery of any ski resort anywhere, hands-down. Okay, now, hands back up, because here come the caveats. A lot of the time (most of the time?) you can’t even see the scenery, because, duh, the ski area that holds the world record for snowfall tends to have crappy weather. Bluebird days are almost non-existent, and often you can count the total number from an entire season on one hand. Sometimes on one finger. That’s not an exaggeration. It’s a haul from Seattle (3.5 hours), so the only reason we even went up there on the day I took this picture is because we knew it would be sunny with some reasonably fresh snow. Next, I can only really fairly compare the scenery here to other places I’ve actually been. Which limits it pretty severely. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been to some places that are decent competitors (Vail, Whistler, Whitefish, heck, even Snoqualmie), but I still think Baker wins out. I have *not* been to anywhere outside North America, at least not in the winter. And, I’ve only actually been to one European ski resort at all (Zermatt), so the odds are good that those may actually be better. And, finally, the last caveat to that statemen…

Wait, who the eff cares which one is truly “best” in the scenery department? That doesn’t even make sense. Views, just like photos, aren’t something that can be compared, judged, and stack-ranked. It just doesn’t make sense. Beauty, and the related quality of views or pictures can’t be quantified, and thus can’t be labelled “winner” and “loser”. It’s like asking “Which is greater? The number 532, or a chair?”

So, sit down, stop asking questions, and look at the pretty picture! And, optionally, go to Mt. Baker Ski Area, because, seriously, the views are incredible.

Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Canon 55-250mm IS lens. 1/160s, f/16.0, ISO 100. Focal length: 250mm.

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February 3, 2011 – Maple Pass

Maple Pass, North Cascades National Park

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Today’s picture comes from North Cascades National Park, which is (as you would imagine) located along the northern part of the spine that is the Cascade crest, in western-ish Washington state. Somewhere very near to where I was standing when I took this picture is a spot called Maple Pass, which is accessible via a day hike that’s only moderately strenuous. Driving to the trailhead (at Rainy Pass) and back is probably more difficult than hiking to this spot. Really, the only problem with this plan is that the stuff you’re looking at is all covered in a whole bunch of snow until really late in the season, probably into August. So there’s a very narrow window of time when you can head up there without special equipment. But it’s totally worth it.

Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens. 1/250s, f/14.0, ISO 400. Focal length: 44mm.

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November 24, 2010 – North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

There, see? Something mountainy. Yesterday, I promised a picture of a mountain, and today I delivered. Gosh, I’m so reliable and honest. Sadly though, this is the last picture that I’m going to post until next week, due to the Thanksgiving holiday. So, I sure hope you like it. Otherwise you’ll be left with nothing but a sour taste in your mouth over the entire long weekend. You may even have to go elsewhere (oh, no!) in search of your photographic fix.

This is, as the post title would suggest, a picture from North Cascades National Park, a few hours northwest of Seattle. Sometimes people call the North Cascades “The American Alps”, which always makes me chuckle a little bit. Because people call a LOT of things “The American Alps” or “The Switzerland of America” or variations on the theme. (Are you listening, Ouray, Colorado??) I just love the implicit inferiority in a statement like that. It’s like you’re not even trying to claim that you’re an interesting place on your own. It’s like you’re agreeing with whoever you’re talking to that sure, the Alps are the greatest thing ever and nothing could ever compare, but hey, this is kinda the closest thing we’ve got to it, so I guess you’ll just have to deal. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not disagreeing, the Alps are really fantastic, and I’d LOVE to live there. But, well, I don’t. So I guess I’ll just have to deal with the American version. How sad.

That’s it, folks! I’ll see you next week!

Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens. 1/320s, f/13.0, ISO 200. Focal length: 44mm.

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