|Posted by Dean Hebert on October 2, 2016 at 1:00 AM||comments (0)|
With a forecast of clearing skies I decided to attempt another hike in the Mount Baker Wilderness.
I've got to say I'm not a big fan of the access road; one lane, blind corners, and potholes. Thankfully it was Monday and traffic was light.
It was late afternoon when I hit the trail and began climbing up the modest grade through a nice forest. This late in the season I had to stop and photography every flower I could find!
As I neared the crest of the ridge, the sky was a solid layer of cloud so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw some blue skies at the top.
The sun was trying it's best to burn off the remaining clouds as I wandered up the rolling hills, making my way closer to Mount Baker.
As I reached the next summit along the trail, Mount Baker emrged from the clouds and filled the skyline.
I spied some flowers a little lower down so I stopped to frame a few shots.
A layer of clouds flowed over the ridge and I loved the light and shadow and colours.
As the light began to fade, I made my way back to a field of flowers I'd seen earlier. More clouds meant more photos along the way.
Mount Shuksan glowed pink in the dying minutes of sunlight.
A layer of clouds had formed below me on the opposite side of the divide.
By the time I was set-up at the flowers I'd seen I was left with a soft, alpine glow.
I sat there enjoying the view unit it was dark before heading back to the truck.
|Posted by Dean Hebert on September 18, 2016 at 11:55 AM||comments (0)|
I'm always looking for new hikes near my home in Chilliwack and after seeing some photos of the Mount Baker area I decided I needed to go and explore.
The Lake Anne hike starts in the wrong direction, descending into a green valley. I wasn't happy going down the switch backs knowing I'd have to climb them on the way back.
Early views hinted at the scenery to come.
I'd timed my hike to reach the lake with plenty of time before sunset so there was no need to rush.
Much of the trail runs along the bottom of the valley before slowly rising towards the pass. I met a gentleman who was carring a camera and hiking with his two young daughters. We struck up a conversation which helped pass the time.
As Mount Baker came into view I had to pause and take a few shots.
Lake Anne sits just below the pass at the foot of Mount Shuksan, which is pretty impressive from this vantage point.
I wandered down to the lake and sat beside the shore to have a snack. The lake is a popular campsite and even on a Monday there were plenty of people spending the night. With a couple of hours before sunset I took a slow stroll around the lake. It's an incredible sight!
As per my usual, I ditched the best light at the lake to see if I could get a better shot of Baker, which didn't pan out as well as I thought. I did get a descent shot of one of the neighbouring peaks before the sun went down.
As the last of the light faded from the sky I booked it back to the truck, inspired to return and see more of this incredible wilderness.
|Posted by Dean Hebert on August 25, 2016 at 5:25 PM||comments (0)|
After several attempts to reach beyond the lower Pierce Lake I was finally able to summit Mount MacFarlane.
The hike to Pierce Lake is a long, steep, slog, mostly through ugly forest. The exception is a stand of old-growth forest before the crossing of Pierce Creek. Unfortunately this is only a few minutes in a 3 hour climb of 1000 meters.
After an age of drudgery I came abreast of the lake and a short drop brought me down to the shore. It's a pretty lake but I didn't linger as there was still a mountain to climb.
It wasn't long before I reached the open slopes at the far end of the lake. The impressive headwall loomed in the distance but I wasn't deterred as I knew there was a trail leading to the top.
The last time I'd been here the upper meadow was filled with mist and I'd lost my way, retreating when I could find the trail. This time I had no problem following the boot-beaten path. I stopped to take a shot of some large tiger lillies.
Further along the trail there were more flowers so it was time for more photos. I had been hoping for fields covered in wildflowers but that's not what I got.
The sound of the waterfall serenaded me as I climbed the steep headwall, finally reaching the upper lake for the first time.
My feet were tired so I sat down and snacked on some food, debating whether to go on to the summit or start the long hike back. As I waited I convinced myself that the peak was right there and I should get off my lazy ass and go see what all the fuss was about.
The trail isn't obvious in some spots but easily regained by continuing upward. The views steadily improved as I worked my way up the ridge.
Finally at the summit I enjoyed the amazing views. This might be the most impressive viewpoint of Mount Slesse, which is further south along ridge.
As usual, my original plan had been to find a great scene, preferably of the mountain reflected in the upper lake, and wait for sunset. But I was so tired and the cloudless sky was so uninspiring that I just headed straight down. I took a couple pictures of the forest between the lower lake and Pierce Creek.
I'm thinking this hike would be better as an overnight, eventhough I'd dread hauling my gear to the upper lake.
|Posted by Dean Hebert on August 22, 2016 at 1:00 PM||comments (0)|
A great day for photography was marred by high winds and a blur on my wide angle lens.
I'm always a little nervous when I hike by myself and the dense young growth at the beginning of the trail had me calling out to warn off any ursus that might be in the area.
After crossing the stream I stopped in the clearing and tried a few shots.
Then a quick climb up through the forest to the ridge before beginning the long walk to the wide open pass. Bushes covered the trail for most of the lower slope until I reached the rock slide. After a bit of elevation gain I reached the lower meadows. I was hoping for more abundant flowers but had to settle for some blooming heather.
I kind of had plans to climb Jim Kelly but once at the meadows I just didn't seem to have the energy. I'll just have to save that one for another day.
Coquihalla Mountain makes a great backdrop and the dappled lighting added interest.
The wind picked up on the pass and I quickly cooled off. I made my way over to the lake below Illal hoping to recreate a shot from a couple years ago but I couldn't find the patch of lupines and had to settle for more heather.
I'd also contemplated summiting Illal but I just wasn't feeling it. Instead I moseyed over to the cliffs overlooking the valley between Coquihalla Mountain and Illal Meadows. There's some lakes down there that I'll have to explore some day.
I composed a couple of shots from there before continuing to look for interesting subjects.
The wind was intense by now, you'll know what I mean if you've been there, and the flowers wouldn't hold still for pictures. Thankfully, rocks don't sway in the breeze.
I caught a spotlight on Jim Kelly.
The plan was to catch the sunset from the meadows, but I was getting quite chilled as I'd failed to layer appropriately for the conditions. Also, as I was doing a set of focus stacked shots, I noticed a blur in an image. I tried to clean it with a micro fibre cloth but couldn't. I switched to my 70-200 lens but it wasn't what I wanted to use. I knew there might be some good light but I decided to start back. This way I'd have less trail to travel in the dark and I'd be home, in bed, sooner. A couple of parting shots as the sun sank below the clouds and then it was time to make tracks.
|Posted by Dean Hebert on August 3, 2016 at 11:45 PM||comments (0)|
McGuire Ridge is one of my favorite photography locations. Unfortunately, the road is deteriorating. Loose rock and trees encroaching on the road are beginning to make this a "bush beater" special.
I'm always looking for veratrum viride and whenever I see it I have to stop and try to get a good shot. The lines and shapes lend themselves to black and white treatments.
While I was paused I noticed some fern heads emerging nearby.
Then it was time to tackle the rock slide and steep access to the ridge. There was still a fair bit of snow as I side hilled over to one of my "go to" locations.
I took the usual photos of Slesse and Tomyhoi, as well as the border peaks while I waited for the sunset. here were some interesting rocks so I set up the tripod and focus stacked smoe shots.
Around this time of year the wild flowers make their apperance.
Without clouds in the sky there wasn't much chance of a stunning sunset so I started back. Sometimes it just the direction that your looking because when I crested the ridge there was some good light to the west.
|Posted by Dean Hebert on June 4, 2016 at 2:25 PM||comments (0)|
I haven't been getting out much so Zoa seemed like a good way to stretch my legs, without killing myself!
There was still snow half way to the parking lot so I found a good spot and geared up. The snow was firm so there was no need for snowshoes and once at the trail head the snow was gone. I ended up carrying my snowshoes the whole way. The hardest part of this hike is the first hill but I stopped often to take photos. There were storm clouds moving in so I kept my fingers crossed that they would just blow by.
The ground was snow-covered in the forest, making it harder to travel than it shoud be, even though the snow was packed. Yak Peak poked through the trees so I framed a couple of shots.
By the time the forest began to thin out the storm was upon me. When it started hailing I pulled out my camera and recorded some video of it. The hail didn't last long and I was soon at the first summit which is my favourite spot to take photos.
I'd thought about staying for the sunset but as I cooled off I decided to head back. Coquihalla Mountain and the surrounding peaks were still covered in snow beneath a cool cloud formation.
|Posted by Dean Hebert on May 14, 2016 at 1:20 PM||comments (0)|
A trip to the American Southwest during easter has become an annual tradition for my wife and I. I try to make it all about photography but she's not so interested in that. For her, it's a quick get-a-way to a warm destination. This year's trip had too much driving and Serea and Shawn were burnt out quickly and less than willing to wait for sunsets.
Even so, I was able to spend several hours in Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley.
Now, if you're not into deserts then these might not be your ideal destinations but I love the rocks and sand as well as the hardy vegetation and wildlife that eeks out a living in these harsh enviroments.
So, after flying into Palm Springs and renting a car, we were off to Joshua Tree.
After driving in the desert, the bright pink blooms of the cacti caught my eye and I quickly pulled over. After an indeterminate time, I looked back at the rental car and saw Serea and Shawn beckoning me to return. This set the tone for the rest of the trip.
Our next stop was Split Rock, so named for the large rock, split in two, at the trail head.
I wandered down the trail, enjoying the unique topography of the area. A cool formation of rounded boulders rose above the surrounding rocks and I tried to get a good shot.
Then a lizard posed for me!
Knowing they were waiting for me, I made my way back to the car, stopping once or twice when something interested me.
We drove up to Keys View and spent a few minutes at this high look out.
Then it was off to Hidden Valley where we explored the trail through this rocky landscape.
It was suggested that we go for dinner, and since we'd planned to eat at Red Lobster in San Bernadino, it was easy to get in the car.
After a quick overnight stop we were off to Death Valley. Our first stop was a short trail to a water source. I came across a lizard that blended in with it's background.
More bright cactus blossoms caught my eye.
It was a long drive through the desert and when we reached the entrance to the park we pulled over for a break. Bright yellow flowers a few meters from the road were enough for me to get my camera.
Turning south, we wound our way up to Dantes View. The dried pools of the salt flats made for some interesting images.
I've never seen one of these lizards before.
Zabriskie Point is one of Death Valley's iconic locations so I was hoping to be there for sunset. Unfortunately my trusty companions thought we should head to Las Vegas for dinner. I pulled over at Twenty Mule Team Canyon and did a quick reconnaissance up a small hill. I knew time was limited so I ran a bit, quickly gaining the summit only to see more levels. My time was up so a few shots was all I could get before we were back in the car.
|Posted by Dean Hebert on January 17, 2016 at 3:45 AM||comments (0)|
Janice had posted that she wanted to head to Cutthroat Pass and after a quick search I decided to join her.
It's a long drive from Chilliwack so we loaded up on coffee, crossed the border, and then drove for hours along Hwy 20. We made a couple of stops along the way before arriving at the trail head. At the first opening in the forest I realized I'd failed to charge my batteries and they were all dead. I figured I could get a couple of shots, so I would have to use my phone unless the scenery warranted using up my battery.
The trail is part of the PCT and is so well graded that we kept a quick pace all the way to the pass. Views were spectacular and we'd timed it just perfectly as the larches were ablaze with colour!
We had our lunch while we enjoyed the sights. With plenty of time, I suggested we explore a ridge to the north. Choosing a line, we hiked straight to a notch where we peered into the next valley.
Janice didn't like the steepness of the final approach so she went back to the trail while I fought my way up the last 20 meters or so. More great views awaited me at the top. A larch tree was growing near the top so I took some photos.
Descending a steep slope can be tricky so I took my time, inching my way down. By the time I got back on the trail, Janice had disappeared. I figured she'd gone to explore around the corner so I started in that direction. I quickly caught up to her and we decided to head back.
|Posted by Dean Hebert on January 3, 2016 at 7:55 PM||comments (0)|
At the end of each year I look back at all the pictures I took (3500, a slow year) and decide which 12 photos are my favourite, which ones represent the year. Here they are in chronological order.
|Posted by Dean Hebert on October 21, 2015 at 10:50 PM||comments (0)|
Upon returning from Waterton Lakes, I was surprised to see that someone had replied to an ad I'd placed on clubtread. I'd been looking for someone to accompany me on a circuit tour of the Sawback Range in Banff National Park for almost 2 years. I sent off an email to James from Edmonton to see if he was still interested. He was, so we synced up our time off and made plans.
On most of my trips so far I would drive to Golden and then spend the night there before heading to the trail head the next morning. This time I found an inexpensive hotel in Sicamous so I stayed there. It meant that I still had a 3 hour drive in the morning but I was able to make it to Lake Louise by noon.
With an eye on the forecast, I was apprehensive of doing a loop trip. If the weather took a nasty turn we could be stuck a long way from comfort and safety. One final check at the visitors centre showed a slight improvement so we booked our campsites and headed to the trail head at Moose Meadows.
As we put on our boots and made final adjustments to our packs, clouds covered the sky. It was actually great weather for hiking, nice and cool, as we headed up the easy trail through the forest. All to soon, the trail joined an old fire road and began to climb. We passed lots of folks who were daytripping to the ink pots, as well as a couple of young women who'd camped at Luellen Lake the night before.
After 2 hours of steady hiking we arrived at the ink pots. Maybe on a sunny day this would make a pleasent spot to stop and enjoy the sights, but today it seemed a little drab. We rested just long enough to get a few photos before pushing on.
This leg of the hike was a steady journey up the forest enclosed valley. We reached the first campsitequickly, but since it had zero views we'd opted to not stop there and instead, carry on to Luellen Lake. It would make for a long day with full packs but I was hoping the scenery would be worth it.
By the time we reached the turn off for the lake, I was hiking on fumes. Maybe I'd packed too much stuff. I'd brought my 3 man tent because I wanted the extra room to try and stay dry if it rained hard, but that added 2 pounds to my pack. Anyway, that last kilometer was equal parts wanting to lie down right where I was, and the excitement of reaching camp.
The first views of the lake were less than incredible as the cloud cover completely obscured the surrounding mountains. In the gathering darkness we set up our tents, had dinner by headlamp, and then retired for the night.
Not much had changed in the morning and James and I ate breakfast beneath a couple of trees, trying to stay dry. We discussed some ideas about our plans for the day, deciding that since we had a day to "waste", and today was supposed to be the worst day, weather wise, we would hangout close to camp. I didn't see any reason to try navigating a high mountain pass in what could turn into white out conditions.
After sitting around for a couple of hours we decided to go for a little stroll along the shore. A light mist was falling but we thought nothing of it.
There's a waterfall at the head of the valley and as we continued around the lake I thought it would make a nice destination and provide a good photo op.
An hour and a half later we were at the foot of the falls and the mist had turned to mixed precipitation. We climbed up the hillside to get a better perspective of the cascades, at one point encountering some slippery footing.
Not wanting to get hurt, we turned around and began the journey back to camp.
By now it was snowing but it melted as soon as it hit the ground. James and I both had wet feet, and I had made the mistake of not removing one of my base layers that I sleep in. Half way back the snow intensified and started piling up.
Back at camp I dusted the snow off my tent and snuggled into my sleeping bag to warm up. I hung my wet garments inside the tent hoping they would dry out. Lying inside I listened to the slithering of the snow as it slid off the tent. I read my book for awhile until it seemed the snow had stopped. I flicked the side of the tent and the layer of snow that had built up, fell off. Then I could hear the snow again, still coming down. Outside, I could hear James walking back and forth presumably getting something to eat. I thought that was a good idea so I got up to join him.
The tempeture had dropped and my boiling hot, noodle soup cooled down quickly. After dinner it was back to my tent where my clothes hadn't dried out yet. I put on all of my dry clothes and then huddled in my sleeping bag, reading more of my book.
In the middle of the night I awoke disoriented. My tent had collapsed under the weight of the snow and I had a difficult time figuring out what had happened. I finally got myself rearranged but now more of my gear was wet, including my sleeping bag.
Just after dozing off, the tent collapsed again. This time I got up and went outside, removing all the snow from around the tent.
In the morning I stayed in bed as long as I could. At this point, I couldn't any way that we would be able to complete our hike. The cold had sapped all of my desires except to be warm again.
While the fresh carpet of snow made for some good photography, it wasn't long before I was back in my sleeping bag. James and I had discussed our options again and decided that the wisest course of action would be to just sit tight for the day, then hike out tomorrow. It was a good thing that I'd brought a good, long book with me.
In the middle of the afternoon I heard voices. A group had hiked through the snow to reach the lake. They were setting up their camp next to me and I could hear James talking with them. I got up to see who had joined us, to discover it was a group of teens on their grad trip! It was nice to have some company and James and I helped them to get a fire going before joining them for dinner.
We all sat around the fire until sunset before we turned in for the night.
The next day there was a cool layer of clouds over the lake so I took some photos before breakfast.
Then it was time to pack up. The kids were heading out to Baker Lake and after we took a couple of group photos we parted company.
Surprisingly, the trail was in good shape and we had an easy, (other than the grunt out of the inkpots) but long hike back to the truck.
This means that I have some unfinished business in the Sawback Range.