Wednesday, August 27, 2008

casey and stacy

photo booths are silly :) see what you missed out on, Sarah?!

we will return, oh yes, we will return.

Monday, August 25, 2008

daisies


My favorite flower...I looove Gerber Daisies. A friend of mine gave me a lovley bouquet and I just had to take some shots.


Seeing these pictures on blogger do not do them justice and I'm beginning to see how the quailty is really compromised by posting on this site. Check out more on my flickr site, as the pictures really stand out there.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Lake Kachess


Oh the mountains, how I have missed you!! It had been too long since I had been up in the passes and I was craving a good hike. Panda had scoped out this one before we came, so I honestly thought that I knew what I was in for. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't!

 

What I liked most about this hike is that the lake hits you right away. There is no hiking for miles until you come upon it, instead you walk right along side of the lake for pretty much the whole trail. This usually leads to a lot of people being on the trail, and there were a ton of people out, but pretty much all of them were camping and using the lake as recreation and not on the trail. I really wanted to get the kayakers alone, but there were so many people on the lake it was impossible. I had to "get rid" of a few people in photoshop and also while processing this photo I realized that I might have found the need for a new camera. Same style, just higher mega-pixel. With all this nature shooting and no zoom lens I lose a lot when I crop in.

 
The lake, although at a higher elevation (2,300 ft. above sea level), was lower than I am used to climbing and thus I saw a few interesting plants and flowers that I hadn't seen before. These little guys were interesting and if you make the picture larger you can see they look a little starfishy. Since I hadn't been hiking in a while, when we started the trail I questioned bringing my tripod as it weighs a ton. I decided against it and my pictures were worse for it. I was a bit more shakey than I thought I was going to be and some of these shots didn't turn out as well as I hoped.


I know we are always our worse critic, so I'm not going to be too hard on myself, but I am a bit disappointed in my huckleberry picture. I was so excited that this trail had an abundance of huckleberry bushes and I'd been wanting to get a picture of them all season. While Panda was busy shooting the tiniest of spiders I went skipping up the trail to find some berries to shoot. I found this little guy, cleaned him up a little, then proceeded to shoot. He looked so good in my viewfinder that I went running back to show him how cute it was. I was so proud! Processing it now, I can see how a tripod would have really helped. I plan on going back to the trail again, so I will have another chance at these little berries. Stacy gonna get ya!

 

We reached a bit of a point that looked out over the lake unobstructed. Luckily it was getting later in the day and most of the people had cleared off the lake and the island that was in front of us. The lake was so liquidy, clear and silvery. It was so beautiful. I don't know if I was just happy to be out, happy to see my friend, or if the trail was just exceptional, but I was really feeling it out there. I have to say that this trail, next to the Denny Creek trail, is my favorite hike.


I feel a little guilty about this picture. I was wandering around the point while Panda was up on a small cliff shooting the island in the middle of the lake. I saw an opening to the lake and was able to get an unobstructed view of the end of the lake and also the surrounding ridge (which I think is Box Ridge). I had one foot on a rock in the lake and another on the small hillside I had to slide down just to grab this shot. I ran back over to let him know that there was a beautiful view of the peaks over there and he said "I can't wait to see your shot". I feel a little guilty for getting it, but at the same time it was really beautiful so I'm proud that he gave it to me.


I went to put my hand in the lake to see how warm it was and I noticed this one branch growing out of the water. It was the exact same color as the rocks, completely blending in to the water. I'm glad I was able to capture the red in the leaves.


I've been wanting to get a picture of the hairy trees I see when we go hiking. It's really moss, but it makes the trees look...well, hairy! We were walking back on the trail and I went "Oh! Look at all the hairy trees!". Panda said, "you've found your shot". After taking the shot I noticed someone coming down the trail behind us. I thought we could let him run past, but he stopped right in front of us and put a red ribbon on a tree along with a glow stick. Seeing our quizical faces he explained that he was setting up for the runners that were about to come through at around 10:30 that night. Called the Cascade Crest Classic, the runners go for 100 miles through the trails and they have a time limit of 32 hours to complete it. Freakin nuts...check out the map on their website to see their route. 

I loved this hike. There was everything I could ask for; a beautiful lake, mossy trees, flowers, huckleberries, climbing, at times streneous hiking, and a great friend to enjoy it all with. I can't wait to come back.

Visiting


After a day of sleep and the normalcy of a work day, I was feeling better and decided to give it another go with my old friend who was in town. For some reason they wanted to go to a laser show and, seeing as I hadn't been to one in the longest time, I was game.


We had some time to kill so we headed over to Ivars for some chowder. After dinner we wandered down the waterfront, and as the sun was setting I was regretting not bringing my camera. My iPhone can't take sharp pictures and most tend to be a bit blurry. Still, it was all I had so when I saw this birdie flying through the sunset I just couldn't resist.


I do like this little guy though. He was outside of the aquarium and I wanted to unbolt him and put him in my living room!


We caught a cab up to the needle just after I took this photo. Obviously I still had someone on my mind...

We bought the tickets for Laser Floyd "Dark Side Of The Moon" and walked around the science center until the show started at 9:15. I wanted to get the needle at night and I was in luck as the fountain was still going and if you look close, you can actually see Jupiter in the sky. 
The laser show was fun and was exactly like I remembered it from when I was younger. I'm glad today went a little better...It's a long way from ok, but time always heals all wounds. I hope my friend enjoyed Seattle and comes back soon.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Radiohead and the Day After

Two words come to mind when I think about the White River Amphitheater: NEVER AGAIN.

This post contains both Iphone and Canon pictures. I decided to combine the two days into one as the second day was greatly affected by the first. Honestly I've never had a concert going experience such as this and it's too bad because after I had heard the news of a death in my musical world I really needed some live music to lose myself in.

Getting to the Amphitheater was not too big of an issue. I took highway 18 around so I didn't have to sit in traffic and made it to the show in about an hour and a half. The seats were pretty good and I was lucky to be under cover. There was weather swirling all around the venue and it was raining off and on. A friend that I hadn't seen in years was also in attendance and once we found each other all we did was hug for about 5 minutes saying over and over, "man I've missed you". She is a photographer and a real inspiration. I've known her since she was 14, and she's turning 22 this year.

Before the show I spotted two parents with this adorable little girl. I'm a sucker for kids at shows and when they pulled out the noise canceling ear protection for her I couldn't resist. I asked if it was alright for me to take a picture and they said it was fine. I even e-mailed it to them as they couldn't get her to sit still after I got a couple shots of her, she was so into the music.

"I am a moth who just wants to share your light"

The show began and I tried to lose myself in the music. Unfortunately, it just wasn't there. The energy was off to me. I think the main reason was they played a lot off of In Rainbows, which is very slow and mellow and not my favorite album.

"We're not scaremongering; This is really happening"

I did get to hear a few of my favorite songs: "There There", "National Anthem" which I missed at the Greek Theater show because we were running late, "Idioteque" and the first song that got me into Radiohead thanks to my good friend Casey "Street Spirit (fade out)". Some people don't get Radiohead and I understand that as it took me a while to get into it, but I swear to you the transition from "Exit Music (For A Film)" to "Let Down" on OK Computer is a religious experience. It's beautiful how they bring you down and the in one swift motion bring you back up...all by song.

Even if this show had been the best I'd ever seen in my entire life, it would have been completely negated by the parking situation at the end of the night. I liken it to my emotions to coming off Mt. Si. I was looking for Pinky, it was that bad. My car didn't even move for an hour and a half. I fell asleep, then around 12:30 I was awoken by cars starting up around me. I saw an opening and headed towards the exit. They routed us through country roads, and merged all of the cars together so we wouldn't move for long lengths of time. I did not get home until 3 am. I will never...ever...EVER go to that venue again. Just terrible.


I knew I was going to be out late for the show, of course I didn't know how late, so I took the day off after it to sleep and to also handle a situation that had recently come my way. It's something I've been dealing with for a few years now, and I'm coming to terms with what I have to do about it.

A mixture of guilt and responsibility and not trusting my own instincts are now flooding over me and it's a little too much to deal with. I wanted to head to the mountains with my friend, but had to be responsible so I stayed in the city. I still had my friend with me in spirit and I saw this picture so I had to take it for him.

The tiredness of the day before stayed with me and I went home every couple hours to sleep. The music yesterday didn't bring me out of my funk, so I thought I'd try to do a little shooting. I had an hour to spare so I headed over to Gas Works Park.



Del can head out when he's shooting and you can usually tell his mood based on the pictures. It's cathartic for him, but even dark they still come out beautiful and he's better for it. Mine, on the other hand, reflect the fact that I'm tired, grumpy and not in the best place because they totally suck. I love these arches, but would like to come back when the shadows are longer, and when I'm not pissed off :)



A new AT&T ad maybe?


I debated making this black and white, but I really like the copper color of the old tanks, so I left it as is. It's a terrible shot, but the gloominess of the sky and the ominous look of the pipes captured my mood.


I really like the clouds in this one, and there is a tiny little birdie on the railing.

I'm trying right now to not be mean, to be honest and to know my limits. I don't want to hate anyone and I don't want to hold grudges, but I can't help it in this instance. I'm having a hard time getting over some things from the past and I can't let them go. The one lesson I learned living in LA that I tried to bring with me is that everyone should have a certain place in my life and I shouldn't expect more from them. Each friend I have is special in their own way and they all have their own idiosyncratic things that I am aware of and thus don't expect them to be more than they are. I also need to know when to let people go, no matter how great of a person they are and no matter how much they have taught me. If I can't get over the past it brings both of us down. Ugh.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

LeRoi Moore 1961-2008

I'm so sad about hearing this news I just felt compelled to post.

In 1998 I went to see a band that forever changed the way I listened to music. Sitting in the highest section of the Tacoma Dome, I looked down as LeRoi Moore, Boyd Tinsley, Carter Beauford, and Dave Matthews walked out on stage and proceeded to blow my mind. I remember distinctly seeing Boyd all the way at the front of the stage with the spotlight on him while he played a solo so hard that he broke every string on his violin. I remember hearing the deep boom of the tenor sax as LeRoi played along with "What Would You Say". Hearing Dave forget the lyrics to his own song, but make up new ones so quick that you wouldn't have even known. Watching Carter behind his huge drum set with an equally huge smile on his face.

I met so many of my friends going to see this band. There was a huge group of us that would go together, so big in fact that when I watch the live Gorge DVD every time they pan to the audience I can point to about 20 people I came to the show with. I can still remember hearing the sound of the clarinet drifting on the wind, hitting us all the way up in lawn seating. The energy in the crowd as soon as they realized what song was about to play. We were such big fans that we knew what song they were going to play simply by hearing Dave tune his guitar. We would make bets as to which song was going to be next when he switched guitars. "Ooh! It's the 12 string! I bet they'll play Grey Street" or "awww, it's the electric. I bet they'll play I Did It. Time to go to the bathroom!"

I saw them every year until 2004, when I started dating someone who couldn't stand the band and would get upset at me for listening to them. Rather than deal with him, I put my love aside for the band and stopped listening to them all together because it made me so sad that I couldn't see them anymore. Finally last year my friend Dane talked me into going to see them at the Hollywood Bowl. I was so overwhelmed by the music and the energy that I teared up at almost each song.

To remind me what this band and their music gave to me I tattooed a firedancer on my ankle. Now it seems as though I will have to add a saxophone, as LeRoi Moore died today.

I don't think it's possible for me to explain how much this band means to me, how every show I went to (25 so far) was a new and exciting experience for me and how much I will miss the sound of this talented man.

Los Angeles

A court date gave me a great excuse to head down to my old home, Los Angeles and spend some time with family and friends. I was armed with my camera and also my newly acquired iPhone (can you believe it's my third one?!) and was ready to see the town through my shutter.

My mom and cousins surprised me by coming into the terminal and greeted me with tons of cousin love. First stop, In and Out! Just looking at this picture is making me want one. We then took PCH all the way out to my families house in Camarillo, where I would be staying.

The drive was just beautiful and we had this flock of huge pelicans that followed us almost all the way to Ventura. Evidence of the recent, and not recent, fires was every where. The burned trees reached eerily to the bright blue sky and I so badly wanted to stop and shoot some of them, but the cousins were tired and wanted to go home so I resisted, thinking I would have the opportunity again before I left.

This day was for the family, so I hung out with them the rest of the night. My aunt Carolyn and my mom were really into watching the Olympics, and I hadn't seen any of it yet so we settled in to watch the swimming, and I got hooked! Carolyn and I finally stopped watching around 1:00 am. I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer and I was surprised that I even lasted that long, but I couldn't stop watching the darn thing. At one point during the weekend I actually watched a 30 mile marathon. I sat and watched people run. Crazy.


Around 2:30 am that night I was awoken by the house shaking and a loud rumbling. I thought for a second it was an earthquake but then realized it was thunder! I walked downstairs to find the whole family outside, my uncle in his underwear and Carolyn with her camera trying to capture the lightning. It was all around us, swirling in a huge weather pattern that was basically right over the house. I ran to grab my camera and realized right away that this was a tripod moment, and I didn't have mine with me. I still got quite a few shots, but the above one is my favorite. I even like the way the house lights are blurred.

The next day was friend day. I headed out to LA and my first stop was to see Bill, who was working. They are remodeling the hotel and it was really loud, but I still enjoyed a really nice pomegranate martini and the Tunapica, which I had been craving almost as much as In and Out animal style fries.

Then to court. Blah

After getting all my tickets paid, I picked up the 157th funniest man alive, and my good friend, Dane. We headed over to the Cat and Fiddle for happy hour and ended up spending a couple hours just chatting and drinking. He and I met in Seattle and he moved to LA before I did. When I finally made the move down, he welcomed me with open arms to the city and introduced me to a lot of his friends, making it a really enjoyable first year in an unfamiliar place. I've even helped out with a couple of his projects and was second assistant director on one of his productions. Please check out his comedy page on myspace and also if you are down in LA he's opening for Damon Wayans tonight, how cool is that?!

After dropping Dane off I headed out to the Valley to spend some time with my little ninja, Lisa. I was a little overwhelmed being down there and she invited me to rest up at her house and just veg watching the Olympics. She was working on some music placements for Lincoln Heights (on ABC Family) and it was cool seeing her do what she really came to LA for. It also really made me miss my old job and the creativity that it provided me.

I hung out for a couple hours with L then drove over to meet one of the Jens at the Shoe Pavilion before heading over to the restaurant to meet everyone else. She was in true Svejda form and I loved her for it. She was supposed to have spent the day in Venice Beach filming, but I lucked out and she canceled her shoot so we were able to hang without her being all tired. After being flirted with by a married couple at Starbucks, we headed over to Mexicali to meet the other Jen and her man Travis and my friend Dupe. Tequila was flowing like mad and I was pretty hammered. I don't even remember Svejda leaving...oh golly.

Jen invited me to come stay at her house and after a quick stop for a mixer at the local grocery we headed back to her place and I proceeded to consume more alcohol before passing out on her couch, god bless her. I woke up early and left her a quick note written on a paper towel and headed back out to my families house. I had a hike to go on!


Wow, this was a crazy hike. My uncle and cousins go geocaching and they really love going into the mountains to hike, so I asked if we could organize a little adventure for me. It was about noon when we hit the trail and it was about 89 degrees out with humidity, so honestly it felt about 112. I was so hungover that I was shaking and the heat wasn't helping at all. I think the above shot was about as good as I did out there. I tried macroing a cactus and fell into it. I told you it was bad!

 
My uncle was so mountain man. It was neat to see, actually and I felt a little closer to him because we share the love of the hike. He likes to go up into the hills alone sometimes and I really related to that. I love being alone, and spend a great deal of time just being quiet to the point where sometimes I can be a bit anti-social. It's nice though because I've surrounded myself with people that are the same way so they never complain about me not being around. Uncle George is a lot like that and I could only imagine that with wife and three kids all in the house with not a lot of time to just be alone, that the trail provides a much needed rest and "me" time. 

When I go to see my family most of the time I have my cousin Jolie attached to my hip. She usually never leaves my side and so I don't get to do a lot of things with Blake. He initially didn't want to come out with us, but I'm really glad we dragged him out there because it was really nice spending some time with just him. He's such a smart kid and so much fun to be around. Of course it was not the easiest thing to explain to him why cousin felt like throwing up all over him! "You see Blake, when grown ups drink too much alcohol they tend to feel really bad the next day".


The trail wound around a series of hillsides and some large rock formations so I got in a little rock climbing as well. We were pretty high up and if you look closely at the middle of the above picture you can see the marine layer from the ocean.


On the way back George spotted a huge cave and wanted to go exploring. Reminiscent of a Del and Stacy hike, we created our own trail and forged our way towards the cave, following critter trails. It was cool because most of the time no one wants to go off the trail and explore and George was all for it. After falling a couple times we came to an impasse of a really large drop off so we decided to head back to the trail. We stumbled across these bones and I could kick myself now because I am thinking of all the ways I could have shot this little guy. I was so hot and hungover that I just snapped a picture. Grrr

argh...and now, I present you with fishy island:


My mom was nice enough to drive me to the airport on her way back to Arizona. I know she hates LAX so for her to have not only picked me up, but also have dropped me off was very cool. I hadn't seen her in almost a year and I welcomed a little alone time with her.

My trip to LA was exactly how I thought it was going to be. Family, friends, memories and traffic court, typical. The only thing I was surprised about was that I did not get a parking ticket. I'm positive that the new parking structure at the Santa Monica courthouse was funded entirely by ticketing me.

I honestly thought I would be more sad to leave, but I didn't cry once. When I got to Seattle I was greeted by a very welcoming and friendly face and spent that night (and every night I've been back, for that matter) laughing more than I did the entire time I was away. It strange because while in LA all my friends and family wanted me to move back and when I got back to Seattle most people were telling me it would be ok if I moved back! I wish I was able to have a home in both cities. Each one has something to offer me that the other doesn't. LA gives me creative freedom, music, culture, art, family and friends. Seattle gives me mountains, beautiful hikes, waterfalls, ferry boats, the opportunity to live downtown and not drive my car, close proximity to my best friend and a reconnection to my family here. I'm not ready to leave Seattle yet, and I think that's the biggest thing I took away from this trip.

Besides, LA doesn't have friday nights with the arch :)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Lakeview Cemetery


There is a part of me that regrets having gone to the cemetery to take pictures. I've always loved Lakeview Cemetery, universally known for being the resting place of Bruce and Brandon Lee. However if you take time to walk around and look at the gravestones you will see the Mercer family, Denny Family, Yesler Family, Bonney and Watson families. All the founding fathers of Seattle and their families are buried here. It's local history at it's finest, and unfortunately most people have no idea.



I've been wanting to take pictures there for a while, but last time I tried it was already closed. So I decided to take my chances today and do my run over to the cemetery then run home. I walked through the gates and immediately went off looking for the Mercer family head stone. It's this beautiful little mansion perched on top of a pedestal and it was insanely hard for me to shoot. I just couldn't capture it, so I explored the panels along the sides and really liked this one. The sun was hitting it perfectly in just one corner, and the effect was reminiscent of an old picture taken during the time when the Mercer family might have been just discovering the area.

When I visited Seattle for the first time after having moved to LA I took this picture of St. Francis, of whom I call my "little guy" to the dismay of a good friend of mine. I have never been "religious" exactly, but I've always had a fascination with saints. I found it beautiful that within us there could be such an altruistic nature that we could be considered divine. It's one of the reasons I love the earth and nature so much because I believe within it is God, and we are part of the earth so we too are God. It's only natural that I would gravitate towards St. Francis, but unfortunately I only was equipped with camera phone the first time I saw him. I returned to take another picture, this time with my friend's camera, but I can't find it for some reason...


One of the downsides to not being religious or having gone to church as a young child was that I have no idea of the stories of the church or the bible, nor do I have any clue who the saints are by sight...or story for that matter! My mom never really took the time to take me to any church. I would go with friends when I was curious so I had been to Catholic Church, Mormon Church, a crazy evangelical Christian Church, straight up Christian Church, a Non-Denominational Church and then all the higher power stuff they tried to teach me in Alateen meetings, all before I reached junior high. I started dating someone who was Muslim, so I was a bit informed about that religion as well. Growing up I never had anyone steer me in one direction when it came to the Church so I just created my own, I guess. I like to feel as though I'm closer to God because I feel like I appreciate Him more on my own than I would through other peoples eyes.  If there is anything I would like about organized religion, it would be that they celebrate an individual who has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that they only want to help others. How beautiful is that?


She seemed curious about me. Looking down at me like she knew what I was up to. She was beautiful, and with the blue sky behind her I couldn't resist.


This is my least favorite photo that I took, and yet I add it. I had seen this before and thought it was so touching; a grandmother with her granddaughter, perhaps reading to her or sharing stories. I took many shots from different angles and honestly thought that the sun hitting the grandma's face would accent the picture perfectly but now I think it looks a bit creepy. Almost as though she is scolding her granddaughter instead of the domestic scene I had imagined. It kinda reminds me of an old Hitchcock movie.


On to my favorite. I love the over-exposed background. It makes her seem as though she is behind a great light with her hand reaching to guide you. I was so enamored with the statues that I couldn't stop shooting them. Each time I left one after I was done, I would make sure to thank them and the person who's grave they were sitting on. It gave me just a little reassurance that hopefully something wouldn't follow me home.

 
During the time I was there I had 4 different people ask me where Bruce Lee's grave was. I didn't mind telling them as I remember the first time I went looking for the father and son. I honestly thought I might have the gravesite to myself, seeing that it was a Monday afternoon, but there were so many people around it I didn't want to intrude. There was one disabled man who was telling the tourists all about Taoism and Jeet Kune Do, explaining the idea of the yin and yang. I sat and listened to him for a moment. He was a white haired gentleman who had a soft voice and seeing as I am a sucker for a guy who talks about anything passionately I really enjoyed listening to him speak about Bruce Lee and his form of martial arts. 
I wasn't scared to have taken pictures when I was there, but when I got home and started working with each shot I felt as though maybe I shouldn't have. I'm forever afraid of karma and bad luck and the last thing I need right now is to bring anything bad upon myself. As I've writen this and revisited each shot, I'm actually glad I went and even more happy that I posted them here for everyone to enjoy. And I hope you do.
By the way...the picture above came out as image 0911 when I uploaded it. Just imagine how wonderful the world would be if we did just hold hands and accept each other instead of fighting with one another over our beliefs. 

I suppose this is why they say not to drink and blog :)

Talapus and Olallie Lakes

Oh the battery issues! I can't even begin to explain how frustrating this trail was. It wasn't me, my friend was feeling it as well. He began the trail by saying that he needed to remember how important it is to be outdoors and learn to appreciate it. I wanted to mention to him that it was true that his photography had been different lately, but to remind him that not only had he just purchased a new lens and was learning how to use it (along with an update to the camera software) but each place he visits is a new challenge. Not knowing what to expect, it can be hard to compose a shot, and with new equipment to contend with...forget about it! Not to dwell too long on the amazing talents of my good friend, I'm glad he's had a moment to appreciate how important photography is to him and how much his talents impact the people around him. What he's taken recently is beyond words.

But I digress...

All weekend I was having battery troubles. I had brought rechargeables with me but my camera was eating up the power as fast as I could compose a shot. It was driving me crazy. At one point I'm sure I scared the bears in the area with the loud "Fuuuuuck" that I yelled.

The trail starts off at a very high elevation so it makes the trek to the lakes an easy one. At the trail head we ran to a fisherman with a kid strapped to his back. I'm assuming he didn't catch her, but you never can tell. He was an interesting fellow who it seems did not bring his daughters bottle and had to turn around before making it up to the lake. A pity, as he seemed to really want to fish and we saw a ton of fish jumping in both lakes. They were little guys, but still it would have been fun to catch and release.


On the way up we paralleled a creek and as my friend took the opportunity to shoot one of the waterfalls at a particular point, I spotted a dark little area with a small fall onto a rock that would afford me a nice opportunity to try my hand at fogging. I was so freakin excited that I actually did it, that I don't think I spent enough time working with the shot. I could have left the shutter open a lot longer. Now I know, plus the addition of a polarizer to my filter collection will help in capturing future waterfalls. Usually my camera lets in so much light it's hard to really leave my shutter open. I'm excited to see another waterfall and test it out.


The fall colors are just starting to show and this little branch against a big granite boulder really showcased the changing season. From the trail we saw a clearing through the trees. Just a small walk in and the valley opened up below us. I climbed a little on some of the large pieces of granite, but I started to fear an avalanche as some of them were moving so I jumped down quickly.


Getting to Talapus, the first of the two lakes, was very easy. Unfortunately it's so easy that there were already a few people there. One passive aggressive couple that took up the pathway to the logs that overlook the lake, one family who was constantly in each shot my friend tried to set up (giant lens...I'm sure he was able to get the entire cascade region with that wide angle) and then a foreign family that was...well...interesting.


Deciding he wasn't going to get in any good shots then, we headed up to the next lake. Olallie is actually off a side trail from the main trail to Pratt Lake. Keep an eye out for the sign about 3/4 of a mile past Talapus. A small hike up the hill and you come to a clearing with a nice view of the whole lake. A lady had set up a tent there and was sitting inside reading. My friend wanted to get a better view of the lake so we went bushwacking through the trails to some campsites and I let him head off into the muck while I tried to capture a flower.


Damn you flower...damn you. My camera had run out of batteries just as I spied this little guy basking in the sun. I love these flowers and I usually only start to see them at a certain elevation so they are kind of a marker as to how high I've climbed. However, every time I would press the shutter down after composing my shot the camera would shut down because of the low batteries. Finally I was able to squeeze out the above shot before my camera died for good.


To tell you how frustrated we both were at the lake, we sat down to enjoy our sandwiches and all the sudden I saw a bald eagle fly from the top of a tree and dive into the lake to grab a fish and watched it soar over the lake and drop the meal off into a nest located just across the lake. I had never seen a bald eagle before and I was in awe, but as we waited for him to do it again to take a picture of it I found myself actually getting mad at the bald eagle for sitting up in the tree and not diving down again. I seriously yelled at a bald eagle, that's how bad it was.

We wanted to head all the way up to Pratt Lake, but we had a bit of late start (what else is new) and the trail was pretty hard to keep track of during the day. I can only imagine what a pain it would be in the dark, and neither one of us was feeling like getting lost and camping over night, so we decided to head back down. We stopped again at Talapus Lake and luckily found it empty. We were visited by a cute little chipmunk that came so close to me I probably could have fed it, and an interesting little muskrat who kept popping his head up to check us out.

I want to do this hike again. I'm really interested to see Pratt Lake but in all this was a good trail. Two lakes, at least, and an easy hike through beautiful forest. What more could you ask for? Ok...don't answer that mr. bald eagle...I'm sorry for yelling at you.

Revisiting Fidalgo Island

Since I couched it all weekend and didn't do any hiking (or physical activity) this weekend, I figured it might be a good time to do some catch up on some trips I haven't posted about.

Last weekend I was invitied to go hang out at Deception Pass. I hadn't been there in years and was excited about the prospect of taking some shots of the bridge, as the day was really clear, and also revisit one of my favorite spots there; Mt. Erie.

For a warm Saturday the beaches around the bridge were relatively empty. There was a wedding being set up and there were well dressed girls getting their heels stuck in the sand. Spotting our party, we hung out for a bit taking in the sun and catching up. The sky was incredibly blue and it was fun watching the boats try to make it under the bridge with the current testing them every step of the way.


There are many trails in Deception Park. We did a quick one with the family, then headed off on our own after they took off. The problem with the trails there are that they are heavily used, very flat and although at times you are graced with views of the water and bridge, they aren't too exciting and you almost get a "been there, done that" kind of feeling. It reminded me of Griffith Park in LA. The hikes there are beautiful, and the views of downtown are amazing, but it still feels manufactured; like the Disneyland of nature.

 
Spying a beach on the north side of the bridge, we decided to head over and check it out. Taking the road to Bowman Bay, we discovered a cool trail leading towards an island. Called the Lighthouse Point Trail, it took me to a place I'd never seen in all my times exploring Deception Pass. I highly recommend it. We only saw 2 other couples on the trail, but it seemed to be very well used. Every turn was another breathtaking view of the cliffs and islands that make this area so beautiful.


Trying to keep the sun, we left the bay and headed over to Mt. Erie. Feeling much better on this trip than the last, I was able scramble up rocks and peaks that I hadn't been able to do on my last trip up here. To be honest, I had my trepidations about heading up to the mountain. I came here when I first moved back to Seattle and it was the last trip with my now ex-boyfriend, so I had some memories to work through and some emotions hit me pretty hard on the way there. I kept it in pretty well, but I think it lead to my depression over the last week. In the end, I'm glad I did it.


I caught a view of this cliff from the ledge and couldn't stop staring at it. There are lily pads all along the shore and the sun was starting to set so the cliff had turned a beautiful orange hue and I imagined diving from the top into the deep blue water.


I'm not sure how to finish this post. Part of me wants to wax poetically on what is, what could be, blah blah blah. In the end, I guess it's best to say the day was beautiful, the company was comforting and I enjoyed exploring places that in my many times being up here I had never seen.