This summer has been a busy, wild and intense ride! In June I spent 20 days photographing Washington State and Southern Alaska. Two weeks ago, my son, Ryan, and I hiked for 10 days during a 1,500 roadtrip thru the Pac NW and at Glacier NP. And in two days, my wife and I head to Bonaire in the Caribbean for some underwater photography and scuba. Needless to say, I am behind in my blog and it may take the rest of the year to catch up.
Today, I have only an hour or so free before I have to start packing, so I thought I would do a quick recap of the highlights of the hiking tour Ryan and I enjoyed…so sit back and enjoy!
Neither my son or I had ever visited Crater Lake and it turned out to be far more impressive than either of us had anticipated. On our first night there, I got what may be the best shot of the entire trip. I had long wanted to photograph the Milky Way with Wizard Island and the lake in the background. I found the famous, whitebark pine that precariously hangs over the edge of the crater and got some solid images before the cold got to me and I decided to pack it in near midnight. Ryan, who had been warming up in the car, came over and we spontaneously decided to use him as a model for a last shot. Just as I hit the shutter, a meteor lit up the sky right over his head and we simultaneously screamed “Did you see that?!!!” In my next breath I yelled “Don’t Move” hoping he could hold still for the 20 second exposure so his image wouldn’t be blurry. Did he freeze? Check it out…
After a couple days of exploring Crater, we headed for the Oregon coast. Along the way we stopped at Toketee Falls. The standard shot is from the observation deck…and it is an impressive view!
My son decided to scramble down to the base of the falls. I followed him but soon had second thoughts when it became clear that the trail was not official, safe or sane. More about that experience at a later date!
Thor’s Well is one of those attractions that photographers fantasize about. It’s a collapsed cavern on the Oregon shore. At high tide, the ocean literally pours thru the roof of the cave and it truly looks like the Pacific is draining into a massive well. I had planned our trip to coincide with high tide and sunset…I was not disappointed!
Our next three days were spent hiking the famous waterfalls in the Columbia Gorge. Ryan loves waterfalls and he had a long, detailed list…and I think we hit every, last, single one of them. Hiking up Oneonta Gorge was without doubt, our favorite…similar to the Virgin Narrows at Zion only shorter and much greener!
Our next stop was Palouse Falls in Washington State. It was over 100 degrees F when we arrived and I chuckled to think I had left Florida trying to escape the heat of August! We hiked down to the base of the falls (yes, it was a trend…Ryan was determined to see every waterfall from all possible perspectives). Fortunately, it cooled off overnight so we didn’t bake in our tent. In the morning, the sun apologized for its brutal behavior the day before by greeting us with an epic sunrise.
We wrapped up our trip with three days in Glacier National Park. Although there were a number of active wildfires in the park, Glacier is huge so we just selected hikes in the areas that were unaffected. I was a bit disappointed by the hazy skies but they did seem to intensive the color at sunrise and sunset.
Glacier is well known for its wildlife…and now I know why! Bears, Big Horn Sheep, Moose, Mountain Goats, Marmots, Bald Eagles…the variety was incredible. Not only that, but when you are alpine hiking, some of these critters use the same trails you do…so they get close.
We finished our trip with the long hike to Grinnell Glacier on our last day. My 20 year old son was kind enough not to leave me behind as we climbed the trail. But to tell the truth, after hiking 50 or so miles since the start of our roadtrip, I admit that I didn’t exactly sprint up the mountain.
So there you have it: 10 Days summarized by 10 Photos! I have much more to share with you about trip…some great stories…like the one where a Park Ranger gave me a breathalyzer test because my eyes looked weird (that’s what a 57 year old guy looks like after hiking for 10 days with 4 hours sleep per night!)
Anyway, I gotta run. More to come later!