Enchantments

The Enchantments are a small enclave of serrated peaks and jade colored lakes located in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, not far from Leavenworth.

Every year there is a lottery for camping permits, I’ve entered the lottery each year since 2006 and got lucky in 2014 and won a 5 day permit, to the Enchantments Core for early October.

The experience was a bit of a sensory overload. Every time I opened my eyes, I wanted to take a picture.

Every tree, every lake, every scene everywhere I looked was luscious with colors, shapes and textures, OMMFG, I couldn’t stop!!!

Here are just a few images from Prusik Peak and Gnome Tarn.

When I came home and loaded the images into the computer I couldn’t even look at them for a while, the overload was still there! I managed to post a few pics, and then left them.

Normally I go through the files from a photo shoot and choose which images to post online and which to edit for printing.

IF I’m lucky, I might have an interest in maybe, 1 in 10 or 20 or even 1 in 50 is the norm. With the Enchantments, it seemed that every image was perfect.

These images are all from one day! We visited Perfection Lake, Prusik Peak and had an encounter with goats.

These images are from Perfection Lake and nearby…

After the day hike to Prusik Peak I returned to camp and met several goats. They were rooting around looking for food. I managed to get a few images of them as well.

Many more pics to come soon!

Devils Dome and a Lightning Storm

The trip started at Highway 20. My friend dropped the three of us off at the trail head and we ascended up through Devils Garden along the Jackita Ridge Trail. We were on a 12 day trip, heading north, along the Pacific Crest Trail, near the Canadian border, west to Ross Lake and south, back to the highway.  

Devils Garden

The trail afforded many wonderful views of Jack Mountain.

We arrived atop Devils Dome late in the afternoon and set up camp. Though we were atop the peak snow fields nearby supplied us with water.

Jack Mtn

The sunset was magnificent, but we watched it from inside our tent mesh because the mosquitoes were ravenous.

Devils Dome affords a 360 degree view of Jack Mountain, to the south, Hozomeen to the north. 

The glaciated peaks of North Cascades National Park rose to the west and a broad expanse of the Pasayten lay to the east.

After a wonderful dinner we quickly went to sleep excited about the beauty tomorrow promised.

Something woke me up. I lay for a moment with eyes closed, sensing. There was a stillness, which was odd seeing that I was camped on a mountain top, and the smell of rain in the air. Suddenly opening my eyes I saw that the sky was clouded over. I lay for another moment reluctantly picturing myself getting up and putting the rain fly on the tent when I saw the flicker of lightning in the eastern sky. I sat up looking…there was another flash…and another.

Quickly exiting the tent I stood scanning the sky. There was lightning to the east…then to the south, then again, to the west…the dark tumultuous sky was alive with flashes, the peaks briefly illuminated and then again black shapes…I looked on in wonder…and then it stated raining.

I quickly awoke my two companions and let them know that they needed to get up, get dressed and get out of the tent and give me a hand. At first they were both saying, “why don’t you just put on the rain fly and get back in, go back to sleep…” and I replied that if they stayed in the tent that they would miss the lightning show…that provided sufficient motivation and they were soon out of the tent, looking at the skies. The lightning was getting more intense, more frequent…we could see the glow of a fire to the west, over towards Ross Lake and the National Park boundary.

My plan was simple: get the rain fly on the tent, throw all our stuff in it, don our rain gear and then lie on the grass and watch the show. But my two friends had other ideas. One strongly advised that we immediately depart and head down the mountain to find shelter from the lightning. My other friend insisted on a more simple approach: do nothing and simply enjoy the storm. I started with the rain fly and loading the tent and soon they came to assist me.

Someone came up with the idea of planting our trekking poles in the ground, well away from the tent, to act as lightning rods (!). And so, now somewhat content with our preparations, we all watched.

The rain started to come down now. The wind picked up, strong gusts blowing across the summit. The flashes became more insistent, more frequent. With each flash the ridges between us suddenly appeared out of darkness, and then…gone back to my imagination, leaving lasting imprints of what had just been illuminated. From our vantage point we could see what looked like 6 or so fires burning…

On three sides of us there were regular flashes, every few seconds, another, and then another. The wind and rain continued unabated. In fact they increased along with the regularity of the lightning, each building to a crescendo. The lightning now seemed to take on a reddish hue, then green or blue (was it just my imagination?)

Transfixed by the sheer beauty, we had front row seats for nature’s own fireworks show, the best we had ever seen. Just as I was starting to edge towards getting the hell out of there the tempest began to lessen, the wind shifted. The lightning to the west, which seemed to head towards us, stopped.

And that was it! The storm cell had passed us by. The lightning to the east faded out and in its place we could now see the faint hint of the sun.

The date was 08/08/08. This was the opening night of the Olympics in Beijing, and we mused that the fireworks we had just seen surpassed theirs, hands down. It was also the scheduled date for the startup of the Large Hadron Collider and we considered that the lightning storm was a direct result of the resultant black holes now devouring earth. These points we avidly debated, but all agreed that the peak was rightly named: Devils Dome.

As the excitement died down my friends retired to sleep and I ventured forth to catch some of the morning light.

The Pasayten Wilderness is one of my favorite places in Washington, a land of mountains and rivers, steep valleys and meadows, wildflowers and Zen like peace. This experience was on day 6 of our twelve day trek which started at the Canyon Creek Trail head on the North Cascades Highway.

Our journey was just getting started…

Double Rainbows!

I had the good fortune to capture several double rainbows this year.

Here is a series of pics taken in early June from Steptoe Butte. This region is called “The Palouse”, its in southeastern Washington.

Here is another recent set from atop Mt Erie, near Anacortes. That’s Lake Campbell in the foreground.

BOTH of these wonderful rainbow images are included in the 2022 Washington State Scenic Calendar! Have a look at the 12 spectacular images, and you can order your own copy right here.

2022 Washington State Scenic Calendar

The images have been selected and the printing has begun: The 2022 Washington State Scenic Calendar are here.

Twelve images from across the state, complete with 3 rainbows and a lighthouse! 

Printed on a 100lb bond glossy sheet, each sheet is 8″ x 12″. No cropping and no borders! Calendars are ring bound and shrink wrapped!

Calendars are now available locally in Mount Vernon at Re-Feather Your Nest and also at the Skagit Food Co-op

Cost is $25, plus $7.00 shipping/handling. Order your calendar online here.

HERE is the link to Order your copy of the Washington State Scenic Calendar!

San Juan Island Lighthouses

San Juan Island has two lighthouses.

Lime Kiln Lighthouse is on the west side of the island and is famous for whale watching and sunsets. The lighthouse is surrounded by people watching the sunset. Getting the right angle to shoot from was not hard. Inside the lighthouse there is electronic equipment, the red colored LED lights glow, faintly.

Cattle Point Lighthouse

This lighthouse is located on the south side of the island. There is no light that shines at night, just an electronic panel atop the lighthouse building.

Access is easy on all sides of the lighthouse, it sits atop a bluff. I saw a fox there, in the bushes nearby, but no pics!