June 09, 2007

Boulder River Trail

For my first local outing of the year, given the overcast weather, I decided on the Boulder River Trail. I had hiked the four miles to the old river crossing a few years ago, but what really stuck out in my mind was the waterfall about a mile in. I'd spent time photographing it then, but it was still early in the year and the flow was pretty light at the time, little more than a trickle down the cliff face. Being later this year, I hoped for better flow.

There were a dozen cars at the trailhead, which did not bode well for solitude. A light rain had dogged me on the whole drive up, but the dense canopy overhead kept most of it at bay. The temperature was cool and surprisingly there was none of the predicted wind. Perfect conditions for a photographic stroll through the woods.

The trail is flat for the most part, following along the Boulder River about 50 feet upslope. It's a very photogenic river, but there are few access points to the river edge early in the trail that don't involve a steep scramble through underbrush. It crosses into the Boulder River Wilderness after about a quarter mile, so the hike is pretty serene. Unfortunately, after the first half mile or so the trail is more exposed and the steady light rain had me pretty wet.

Unnamed Falls The waterfall turned out even more spectacular than I had anticipated, spliting into a double stread plunging into the boulder-strewn river. The vegetation was vibrant green under the rain and clouds, and there was still none of the predicted wind. The view from the trailside was picture perfect, and I spent quite a while shooting from there. The steady rain made shooting difficult, but I managed to bungee my umbrella (brought for just such a purpose) to my tripod, serving as a handy if not precarious rain shield.

Unnamed Falls

A little farther ahead, a side trail lead down to the river edge across from the base of the waterfall. It was actually more runoff channel than trail, and the pack full of camera gear made for slow going. The season's underbrush crowded the trail and was full of the day's raindrops, so I was virtually drenched by the time I reached the river.

The scenery of both the lower falls and the view upstream were impressive, but I had a difficult time finding good compositions. I grabbed the camera bag and tripod and walked along the rocky shoreline in the rain, but struggled to find the right shots.

Cascade on Boulder River I was intrigued by a boulder and fallen tree upstream and thought they would make an interesting background to a river scene, but I had a difficult time finding as interesting of a foreground since the river bent out of range. The lower falls proved as difficult to shoot because of the lower angle and shooting directly into the rain. I snapped a few different shots, but felt the better shots were from up on the trail.

Lower Falls By this time I was soaked and my gear was damp all the way through. Keeping the camera lens dry was proving nearly impossible, and I had almost nothing dry to clean it with. Even my lens paper was now wet. After I felt I'd captuired everything there I could, I climbed back to the main trail and ventured a little further. There were a few other side trails down to different parts of the river, but none of them lead to better views. At this point, soaked and hungry, I decided to head back. I wanted to hike to the end again, but I'd accomplished my main goal. The rest would have to wait for better weather.

No comments: