September 13, 2006

Mom's Visit 2006

Mom came up for her annual visit, so I took vacation and we spent over a week on the road. The skies were still pretty hazy from forest fires for the first part of her visit, but we went out anyway. No use sitting at home when you can spend time in the mountains.

We spent one day south of Mount Baker and I showed her the viewpoint I'd found off FS-1233. We did a little more exploring in the area and found more viewpoints with views of Mount Shuksan and Baker Lake. I grabbed some snapshots to record the views, but it was too bright and hazy to even try for photos. We spent the rest of the day along the North Cascades Highway, making it only to the Diablo Overlook before sunset.

Reeds on Lake Elizabeth The next day turned into geology day. We spent a day around the US-2 corridor and stopped at two of my favorite rock hunting grounds -- Lewis Creek on the Index-Galena Road, and Fourth of July Creek on Beckler River Road. Both places have interesting rocks, full of swirls and veins, and I often find keepers to bring home. This trip was no excetion, and between the two of us we brought back what must have been 100 ponds of rocks. We spent sunset at Lake Elizabeth on Money Creek Road and a nice piece of gravel punctured my tire somewhere along the way. Not quite the kind of geology I'd wanted!

Falls on Paradise River We spent four days in total at Mount Rainer. One day was when it was still hazy, so the photos were near impossible, but I was able to reshoot the waterfall on the Paradise River I'd found a few weeks before. I'd only managed a couple of shots the last time before my batteries died. This time I was able to spend my time and take many more photos, even accounting for the fact I wasted about 20 shots before I noticed my camera was still in macro mode. Fortunately, Mom is pateint enough to let me reshoot when I need to...

Mount Rainier in Clouds A storm came through later in the week and not only cleared the haze out of the air, but made for some dramatic photos around sunset. For some reason during the trips this year, I saw photos at Rainier I had never noticed before. One spot on Paradise Road in particular caught my eye and we stopped there several times during our visits to photograph here. I'm still not happy with the photos I took, but this area shows definite promise. It's not on my mental list of Rainier sunset photos.

The Castle at Sunset But the star of the trips to Rainier, aside from the mountain itself, was The Castle. I'd seen it before from different points along Stevens Canyon Road, but there was one photogenic spot I'd never noticed before. I spent time here on two different evenings, and while the first had more light, the photos came out a little flat. But the second evening was as the storm cleared and the sun peaked beneath them, which made for a very dramatic photo.

Caterpillar on Leaf The last day we spent at Rainier was mostly overcast, so we spent time around Copper Creek just outside the park. It's a very photogenic creek, but the water is rather low this time of year. I think the photos will be better there either earlier or later in the year when the water is a bit higher. Still, it's a nice area to spend some time, and I was greeting at the beginning of the footpath by a fuzzy new friend.

More from Rainier this week, including the obligatory photos at Reflection Lakes:

Mount Rainier and Trees

Mount Rainier at Reflection Lakes

Mount Rainier and Reflection

We spent the last few days of her visit in the North Cascades. One day was spent in the Cascade River area in the southern part of the park, and we explored a few of the Forest Service roads there before heading to Johannesburg. The highlight of the day for me was the quick hike out to La Rush Lake, which I had never seen.

Snagtooth Ridge at Sunset The last day of her trip we spent back on the North Cascades Highway, making it to Washington Pass for sunset this time. The colors at the pass were amazing shades of yellow and orange, but photos were still elusive. I did manage to capture the tail end of the fading light on Snagtooth Ridge, although it was about ten minutes too late to have the foreground ridge in light.

And of course, there's the required photo of Liberty Bell:

Liberty Bell

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