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.