North Cascades Photography – Mount Erie

North Cascades Photography – Mount Erie

Mount Logan, North Cascades National Park

Skagit County extends about 100 miles from the crest of the North Cascades range, west to Anacortes and Cypress Island.

Mt Erie is located in Anacortes. The summit rises more than 1,200 feet above the sea and is visible clear across the valley.

Cascade Loop Mt Erie is on the Cascade Loop Scenic Highway. In fact this years Cascade Loop Magazine sports an image taken from Mount Erie! 

The mountain is a city park, part of the Anacortes Community Forest Lands. A paved road takes you to the top.

The view south encompasses Campbell Lake and the Puget Sound.

Mt Baker at sunrise, from Cypress Island

The park is multi-purpose, there is a network of hiking trails, picnic tables, paved walk ways and many spectacular vistas.

The rocky bald face of the mountain attracts rock climbers from all over. The south facing slopes are accessible year round, more info on climbing here.

I have visited several times for sunrise and sunset.

There is a very short sidewalk to a stone bench. The view south, over Lake Campbell really cant be beat!

Here is a series of sunrise images from several visits.

These are sunset shots, all from the last few months.

Night Sky Photo Tours are scheduled on the New Moon. Find out more here.

North Cascades Photography – Hike to Stehekin

North Cascades Photography – Hike to Stehekin

Along Cascade River Road

The hike from the Skagit Valley up and over Cascade Pass and down along the river to the remote village of Stehekin, on the northern shore of Lake Chelan is a magnificent journey. Sort of like crossing the Misty Mountains to get to Rivendell, there is a lot to see!

It is a 23 mile (37 km) hike from the Cascade Pass parking lot to High Bridge, where shuttle service is available to Stehekin. The entire trip falls with in the North Cascades National Park. Depending upon your level of motivation the basic trip can be done in 2 or 3 days.

However I would recommend 3 or 4 days for the trip. There are several detours along the way that are really to incredible to miss.

The journey starts along the Cascade Loop Highway in Marblemount. The North Cascades National Park Wilderness Information Center is located there. To camp anywhere in the park you need a permit. Here is all you need to know to obtain one! I highly recommend the trail guide: “Hiking the North Cascades” by Erik Molvar (Falcon Press). There are accurate and detailed descriptions of the trails and you’ll find a lot of useful info.

Once that’s all done you’ll be heading up the Cascade River Road to its end, at the parking lot for Cascade Pass. The road gets a bit sketchy at the end, and you wont be able to stop gawking at the views!

The trip has one up section, and this is it: 3.7 miles of switch backs to Cascade Pass, an elevation gain of 1,700 feet. The views start near the top, there is one last switchback and then the trail turns east and approaches the pass.

The Pass is a great place for a break, and you’ll see a lot of people there. From this spot, its all down hill to Stehekin!

Dropping from Cascade Pass the trail navigates around the upper basin and soon passes the Pelton Basin campground. It’s not long before the switchbacks start. Whereas the trail up to the pass from the Skagit side is completely in forest, here the trail is exposed to the hot sun.

One nice surprise is the waterfall along Doubtful Creek as it bisects the trail on the east side of Cascade Pass, where there are small pools providing a much needed break and swim.

Many people who make the sojourn from Cascade Pass to Lake Chelan make a straight trip from the Cascade Pass parking area to Stehekin, with no side trips. But there is one of the most awesome valleys in all the North Cascades (Horseshoe Basin) that you should not pass up as you make your journey.

A short distance from Doubtful Creek is the trail to Horseshoe Basin. You can drop your big packs and day hike up to the Basin, or, if you scored a camp site at Basin Creek Camp, you can stay an extra day exploring Horseshoe Basin and the Black Warrior Mine.

The trail follows the stream up from the trail junction into Horseshoe Basin; it follows a course along the stream, across the stream and in the stream, brushy and wet. Shortly the trail emerges into a clearing where boulders dot the basin floor. Climbing up on the largest, the view is transfixing. The green bowl is surrounded with grandeur, full of color and drama.

Horseshoe Basin, North Cascades National Park

The Horseshoe Basin trail is less than 2 easy miles from the trail junction to the head of the valley and the Mine. black warrior mine

The North Cascades are full of old mining claims; piles of colorful tailings and rusted remains of sluices and Pelton wheels littered about. But I had never visited a mine that I could enter and explore. The Black Warrior Mine operated until the mid-1950′s and is a National Historic Place. There is a sign at the entrance giving a brief history of the mine, the names of the prospectors and misled investors who poured their mostly futile efforts into this hole. There are two main cavernous rooms blasted into the mountain side which make the opening of the mine. One of these “rooms” served as a kitchen while the other was used for workbenches and tools. Wooden supports and floor boards are flooded with water. Old tables and remains of habitation litter the floor. The shaft of the mine runs deep; several miles of tunnel remain, open for any brave person to explore.

When you tire of the basin and continue on your way down the Stehekin Valley you’ll pass several camp sites: Cottonwood Camp was once the last stop on the bus route from Stehekin! Traveling is pretty easy, for the most part you are following along the road following the bus route to Stehekin. But the road has been washed away in several places, replaced by a foot trail.

At Park Creek is another camp and the trail (Park Creek Trail) heads up to Park Creek Pass and continues over and down to Colonial Creek camp, on Highway 20.

Bridge Creek is another large camp along your route and is where you meet the Pacific Crest Trail. From here its 5 miles to High Bridge. Many years ago the entire road washed away in a flood. So for the next 5 miles you’ll be hiking along the PCT!

IF you have the time and energy, plan another day here and make a day trip up the North Fork of Bridge Creek. Its too long to describe here and will be the subject of an entire post soon!

Walking along the Stehekin River Road is in itself fantastic. The river cuts a deep cleft through the cliffs at High Bridge and the confluence with Bridge Creek creates a wondrous series of cataracts and islands. From High Bridge there is a regular bus that takes you the last 10 miles to Stehekin. Check the Park Service site for the bus schedule.

Your hike must include a visit to the Stehekin Pastry Company. Delicious, fresh treats, ice cream, espresso, friendly staff and a comfortable place to relax…

Everything about Stehekin is awesome. Its remoteness (you can only reach it by hiking, ferry boat or float plane), the people are cool, scads of awesome things to see and do…even the Post Office is a neat place to just visit!

Beside the Pastry Company there is a restaurant, a lodge, and a post office. Thru hikers on the PCT mail resupply items to them selves at Stehekin. Its the last stop on the route to Canada. Late in the summer you will often run into some of the PCT hikers as they finish the last few days of their 2,400 mile trek!

When you’re done restin’ and ready to go home you can either walk back the way you came, or catch the Lady of the Lake to Chelan!

Here are a few more images from the trail…

 

 

 

North Cascades Photography – Hike to Stehekin

North Cascades Photography – Hike to Stehekin

The hike from Skagit Valley, over Cascade Pass and down to the remote village of Stehekin on the shores of Lake Chelan is one of the classic hiking routes in Washington State. The trail follows an old Native American path used for millennia to cross the mountains.

Cascade Pass

Cascade Pass

It is a 23 mile (37 km) hike from the Cascade Pass parking lot to High Bridge, where shuttle service is available to Stehekin.

Cascade River Road

Cascade River Road

Driving up the North Cascades Highway, which is a part of the much longer Cascade Loop Scenic Highway,  to Marblemount and up along the Cascade River Road my heart always revs up with excitement. We made an early start and schlepped up the 40-something switchbacks to Cascade Pass.

The day promised to be a hot one and after a short rest we hoisted our packs and headed down, down, down…

I have hiked most of the trails in North Cascades National Park with the notable exception of the section we would cover today: From Cascades Pass east to Basin Creek (and Horseshoe Basin!)

Stehekin Valley Trail and Doubtful Creek, North Cascades National Park

Dropping from Cascade Pass the trail navigates around the upper basin and soon passes the Pelton Basin campground. It’s not long before the switchbacks start. Whereas the trail up to the pass from the Skagit side is completely in forest, here the trail is exposed to the hot sun. Hiking down here I am already dreading the trip back up!

One nice surprise was the waterfall along Doubtful Creek as it bisects the trail on the east side of Cascade Pass, where there are small pools providing a much needed break and swim.

Many people who make the sojourn from Cascade Pass to Lake Chelan make a straight trip from the parking area to Stehekin, with no side trips. But there are two of the most awesome valleys in all the North Cascades (Horseshoe Basin and the North Fork of Bridge Creek) that you should not pass up as you make your journey.

We made it to the trail junction with the spur to Horseshoe Basin, dropped our packs and headed up for a look-see. Having scoured many route guides about the North Cascades I had read about the amazing beauty of Horseshoe Basin, but honestly was not prepared for what we saw there…

Horseshoe Basin, North Cascades National Park

The trail follows the stream up from the trail junction into Horseshoe Basin; it follows a course along the stream, across the stream and in the stream, brushy and wet. Shortly the trail emerges into a clearing where boulders dot the basin floor. Climbing up on the largest, the view is transfixing. The green bowl is surrounded with grandeur, full of color and drama.

The basin was aglow in the afternoon light, orange granite spires surrounding the lip like fangs, too-numerous-to-count waterfalls glistening, their sparkling waters plunging down into the valley. There were wildflowers popping out everywhere, yellows and purples, reds and blues, all accenting the deep green of the basin floor.

Glory Mountain from Horseshoe Basin, North Cascades National Park

We hurried on, racing the sun, heading up the valley, climbing across boulders and scree, on to a snow field, up to the gaping hole of the Black Warrior Mine.

The Horseshoe Basin trail is less than 2 easy miles from the trail junction to the head of the valley and the Mine.

The North Cascades are full of old mining claims; piles of colorful tailings and rusted remains of

Black Warrior Mine

sluices and Pelton wheels littered about. But I had never visited a mine that I could enter and explore.

The Black Warrior Mine operated until the mid-1950′s and is a National Historic Place. There is a sign at the entrance giving a brief history of the mine, the names of the prospectors and misled investors who poured their mostly futile efforts into this hole. There are two main cavernous rooms blasted into the mountain side which make the opening of the mine. One of these “rooms” served as a kitchen while the other was used for workbenches and tools. Wooden supports and floor boards are flooded with water. Old tables and remains of habitation litter the floor. The shaft of the mine runs deep; several miles of tunnel remain, open for any brave person to explore.

Black Warrior Mine

The wonder of the place is still with me. Maybe its the history, all of the people who worked so long and hard here, digging and scraping for naught. Here, as in many of the North Cascade valleys, it was miners who blazed the trails that we now use to visit the high country. The road from Stehekin, long ago, came all the way to the mine entrance. Over time nature has reclaimed the road, now vehicles can only go as far as High Bridge, 17 miles downstream.

The falling sun chased us out of the valley, we camped at Basin Creek camp.

The next morning we started our pleasant hike along the trail to Cottonwood Camp and on towards our rendezvous with the shuttle bus at High Bridge.

Our timing was perfect; we made it to High Bridge (On the Stehekin River Road) and caught the North Cascades National Park shuttle down the valley.

Along the way our jam-packed tourist bus passed a huge black bear and her two cubs foraging for berries; I was disappointed to miss the chance to visit and capture a few images, but my chance would come soon enough!

stehekin pastry companyEvery hike to Stehekin must includes a visit to the Stehekin Pastry Company. Delicious, fresh treats, ice cream, espresso, friendly staff and a comfortable place to relax…we went here first and ate as many pastries as we could hold.

It was a hot day in Stehekin. So we took shelter at the local restaurant and then took the bus back up the valley to visit Rainbow Falls. The 300 foot cataract provided lots of cooling!

Everything about Stehekin is awesome. Its remoteness (you can only reach it by hiking, ferry boat or float plane), the people are cool, scads of awesome things to see and do…even the Post Office is a neat place to just visit!

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls

Next we visited the old Stehekin School house and then the local organic farm. Now we needed to await the last shuttle bus back up the valley, and what better place to while away the time than at the Stehekin Pastry Company!

Lake Chelan

Lake Chelan

The last shuttle was full when we boarded and headed back towards High Bridge. But after the bus stop at Courtney Ranch we were the only ones left for the rest of the trip.

From the “bus stop” at High Bridge we hiked 5 easy miles to the trail junction at Bridge Creek and camped the night. From here you can make a side trip to one of the most remote valleys in the North Cascades National Park. The trail is called the North Fork Bridge Creek Trail and its remote because its a one-way affair, not a through-trail. The round trip from your camp at Bridge Creek along the Cascade River road to North Fork Meadows and the head of the valley is 16 miles, but the hiking is not strenuous. You head east on the Bridge Creek Trail (which is also the Pacific Crest Trail here) to the scenic North Fork Camp.

Goode Mountain, North Cascades National Park

Goode Mountain, North Cascades National Park

The trail climbs a few short switchbacks to a junction with the North Fork Trail, head left, north. SignThe trail passes Walker Camp and soon you’ll get a glimpse of the wonders of the valley. Continuing along the way you’ll pass Grizzly Creek Camp and have to ford the creek. As the trail meanders its way gently upward the trees thin and you’ll break out into a spectacular meadow with views of Goode Mountain (highest peak in the North Cascades National Park) and Mount Logan at the head of the valley. From here the hike is almost all out on the open, the North Fork Meadows is a wonderful green wonderland.

North Fork, Bridge Creek

Wildflowers bloom, bears forage and waterfalls stream down from the glaciers above. The path winds its way up, passing numerous waterfalls to its terminus at the base of a wonderful cataract. here you are surrounded on three sides by steep peaks, cloaked in glaciers with countless waterfalls.

Mount Logan and North Fork Bridge Creek Waterfall, North Cascades National Park

When you can finally pull yourself away, its time to head back down the trail to your camp at  Bridge Creek Camp. The next day we continue our hike back up towards Cascade Pass.

The hike along the Stehekin River Road is in itself fantastic. The river cuts a deep cleft through the cliffs at High Bridge and the confluence with Bridge Creek creates a wondrous series of cataracts and islands.

The next day we again left before sunrise, hoping to beat the heat on our way up to Cascade Pass. We reached Basin Creek with its flown-in foot bridge and were greeted by a nice breeze and perfect skies.

 

North Cascades Backpacking and Photo Tours

If you would like to visit any of these places with a very small group and learn photography skills at the same time, here is your link!

Horseshoe Basin

Tracing our earlier steps from a few days ago, we hiked up into the valley, but this time not all the way to the mine entrance. I worked on my mostly futile efforts to capture the grandeur of the flowers, spires and waterfalls, and then we headed back down to our packs and continued the slog to Cascade Pass and back to the parking area.

The change in flora as I trudged up the switch backs was enormous. The lower basin on the east side of Cascade Pass is filled with Cottonwood trees and Douglas Fir. A few miles above the trail traverses the mountain side and is bereft of any plants, just crushed rocks and boulders. Then the trail swings south and starts its zigzagging route upwards. Here the path is choked with slide alder.

As the trail approaches the upper basin just below Cascade Pass the temperature dropped considerably. From sunny to misty, the forest was now populated with tall sub-alpine fir and a carpet of evergreen needles covered the trail. It was like we had been transported into a new landscape.

We arrived at the top of Cascade Pass and stopped to re-energize before flying down the switchbacks to our car. Gazing east, down the valley which we had just climbed I marveled at the beauty of the mountains.

And I was already planning a return trip.

Any and all of these images are for sale as prints, canvas wraps and digital downloads! Here is the link to the Gallery.

Sahale Mountain from the Stehekin Valley Trail

 

Capturing Images of the Milky Way

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

There is nothing more stunning than a clear image of the Milky Way Galaxy arcing overhead. The Majesty of the Galaxy is on display and you can feel yourself on the outer rim of the immense ring of stars…

By far, the most difficult part of capturing images of the milky way is simply getting there, at the right time!

When To Go

To get a good shot you need to go when there is NO moon in the sky. The moon reflects so much sun back, from the sun, that it washes out the Milky Way. Find a Lunar Calendar, the New Moon is when there is no moon in the sky, and you can get decent shots plus or minus 2 days from the New Moon. So, each month there is a 5 day window for Milky Way shots. The hard part of this, especially in Western Washington, is matching the New Moon with No Clouds!

govan school house hdr

Govan School House, Wilbur, Wa

Astrophotography with a DSLR

As far as capturing images like this goes, the equipment list is rather meager. You need a decent DSLR (a full frame body is best, but not mandatory) a wide angle lens ( 10 to 20mm is best, 24mm is fine) a tripod and a cable release (or electronic shutter release) and that’s really all you need, equipment wise.

Once you get out to your spot and get set up set the camera on manual exposure mode and open your aperture up all the way (use the lowest f/stop number) and then, using the chart here, set your shutter speed.

As for ISO, that is really the only variable. Depending upon your camera I would suggest starting at a relatively low ISO, say, 1,000 and then work your way up, checking the images as you go. Each camera will have its own ISO sweet spot, often its the mid point between the lowest and highest ISO setting on the camera.

One more important item is focus. You must set your lens on Manual Focus. Auto focus will not work at night and so, before you head out, take some time and figure out how to manually set the focus ring on your lens to infinity.

star trails at diablo overlook, north cascades highway

Diablo Overlook, North Cascades Highway

There are several way to do this, one is look up your lens on line, looking for the manual, or advice as to how to set that lens to infinity. Or another way is to sit with your camera (set the aperture open all the way when doing this) and take test shots of something at least 50 feet away and then review the image on your camera, using the zoom function and keep testing until you find that exact spot for your lens where its set for infinity, then make some mark or note or what ever so that when you’re out in the field at night you know where to set it.

That’s it! Then you can leisurely move about, composing shots and have fun (make sure to check your focus ring from time to time, moving your rig about can often change the focus setting!)

As you recompose try different ISO settings and Viola! Nice shots.

liberty bell and the milky from washington pass overlook on the north cascades highway

Washington Pass Overlook, North Cascades Highway

Locations

To get decent images you need to get away from the lights of civilization. If you shoot near a city the entire horizon is washed out, no stars, or very faint. Two of my favorite locations are on SR 20, the North Cascades Highway, (which is part of the Cascade Loop). The Diablo Lake Overlook, and the Washington Pass Overlook both have lots of good parking, rest rooms and are user friendly in the dark.

Photo Tours

You might want to come along on a Night Sky Photo Tours. We meet and drive out to some location away from the lights of civilization where we can set up and get clear images of the stars. Drive in Tours are available, as well as Hike in Photo Tours where we visit more remote spots such as Fire Lookouts for our Photo Shoot! You can find out more, and see details and dates here.

Winchester Lookout

Winchester Lookout, Star Trails and the Aurora Borealis

North Cascades Photography – North Cascades Highway

Welcome to North Cascades Photography

Each week we will visit some place in the North Cascades. The best camp sites; day hikes and overnight trips; lookout towers, the best locations for sunrises, sunsets and night sky imaging. Whether you’re into a week long trip, or the best place for a drive-in view, I will cover  the best times to go and How To Tips ranging from How to set exposure for the Milky Way to Where to see Mountain Goats? 

North Cascades Highway

The North Cascades Highway (Highway 20) follows the Skagit River from the Puget Sound deep into the mountains, reaching its highest point at Washington Pass, 100 miles east of I-5, before it drops down to the Methow Valley.

In winter (usually at the end of November) the highway is closed due to heavy snow. The highway is gated on the west side at milepost 134, east of Diablo, and on the east side at milepost 171, 14 miles west of Mazama. Reopening in the spring is usually accomplished by early May.

In Sedro-Woolley the National Park Service and Forest Service share an office, right along the highway. You can stop in for maps and parking passes. They can also give you all sorts of great advice about where to go, current conditions, and all that.

As you head east towards the mountains you’ll pass through Marblemount. If you are planning to camp over night on the North Cascades National Park, you’ll need a permit, and this is the place to get it, the Marblemount Wilderness Information Center. This is also the last town to resupply anything for about 70 miles, so fill up!

The Diablo Lake Overlook (milepost 132) is a wonderful vista point to stop when driving. There are rest rooms and lots of parking. The view is amazing: late afternoon is the best light.

This is also a wonderful location for capturing images of the night sky.

Rainy Pass at 4,833 feet (milepost 157) is where the PCT crosses the North Cascades Highway. There are trailheads on either side of the highway:

  • On the north is the trail head for the Pacific Crest Trail, headed north to Cutthroat Pass and then onto Canada.
  • To the south the parking area is to access the Maple Pass – Lake Ann Loop trail (one of my favorites), and the paved Rainy Lake trail.

Lots more on these trails later!

Washington Pass Overlook (milepost 163) is at the highest point along the highway, at 5,477 feet. There is a paved spur road to parking, restrooms and a pathway to the overlook. Liberty Bell is the massive slab towering above. Sunrise is the time for the best light on the peak.

The long curve of the highway below makes for some sweet shots at night. This is one of the best spots for capturing images of the Milky Way.

The North Cascades Highway is a part of the Cascade Loop Scenic Byway. This 440 mile loop crosses the Cascade Range twice and visits some of the most stunning scenery in the USA. Visit their web site to earn EVERYTHING you need to make your trip a huge success.

You can find out more about Classes, Prints, Photo Tours and more at my web site, AndyPorterImages.com

Next Week: Tips on Night Sky Photography

Cascade Pass, Horseshoe Basin and Park Creek

Park Creek flows south from the slopes of Buckner Mountain, bound for the Stehekin River and Lake Chelan…

Buckner Mountain and Park Creek

The trail starts at the junction with the Stehekin River trail, once a road served daily by bus, the upper reaches fallen back to their native state.

After gaining almost 4,000 feet the trail tops out at Park Creek Pass. This is one of the most scenic and seldom visited passes in the North Cascades National Park.

I have visited twice and am hungry to return. The trip has been on my “must do” list for a while, but weather, fires of some other element distracted me. Now I was prepared to go…

Crossing Park Creek

The 40-something switch back to make Cascade Pass get you warmed up. We arrived before 9am, an early start. Heading down through Pelton Basin, the trail made a hard left and plunged down into a new climate. The headwaters of the Stehekin River bring dry eastern air far up this western valley.

Doubtful Creek bisects the trail, a welcome distraction…

Stehekin Valley and Doubtful Creek

A spur trail leads up to Horseshoe Basin…

The next day I am camped at Buckner Camp, along Park Creek. Here are the images from a magnificent trip!

 

Sauk Mountain Trail

The Sauk Mountain Trail is a local favorite. It is the shortest drive to a mountain trail, melts out early, has spectacular wildflowers…and fantastic views.

I made my way up last week and spent the night. Here are a few images from the journey, sunset, night sky and sunrise.

 

Cascade Loop Magazine 2016

The Cascade Loop Magazine is a tourist guide that comes out every spring. It covers all the cool things to do, places to see, great spots to eat and nice hotels to stay in along the Loop.

The 400 mile route crosses the North Cascades twice, along Highway 2 (between Everett and Wenatchee) and again along Highway 20 between Burlington and Winthrop.  Cover_Page_2016-page-001

Here is the cover of this years publication, an image I captured last year along the Maple Pass Loop Trail.

The magazine is filled with stunning images of places along the way. Here are a few of my images that made it into this years issue.

If you are planning a trip along the Loop and would like to go on a North Cascades Photo Tour, here is the link with details.

And if you would like to own a beautiful, high quality Canvas Wrapped Print of the scenery along the way, here is a gallery where you can purchase them for yourself.

 

North Cascades Photo Tours and Prints

North Cascades Photo Tours and Prints

The North Cascade mountains in Washington State are rugged, lush, stark and colorful all at once.

Lupine and the North Cascades

Lupine and the North Cascades

Abundant rainfall creates fantastic meadows filled with wild flowers while at the same time sculpting the ridges and peaks into serrated knives of stone.

The two main entry ways into the North Cascades are the North Cascades Highway (Hwy 20) and the Mount Baker Highway (Hwy 542)

Mount Shuksan and Picture Lake, along the Mount Baker Highway

Mount Shuksan and Picture Lake, along the Mount Baker Highway

While there are a few places, such as Artist Point (located at the end of Hwy 542) and Washington Pass (the highest point along Hwy 20) where you can drive to see the scenery, most of the time a trip here involves hiking.

Liberty Bell from the North Cascades Highway

Liberty Bell from the North Cascades Highway

Along these two byways there are many side roads leading to trail heads that take you up (always up!) into the high country. There are so many trails and choices!

The North Cascades Highway (Hwy 20) is a part of the Cascade Loop Scenic Byway. This is the Best Road Trip Vacation in Washington State!

North Cascades Photo Prints

If you are interested in fantastic, colorful prints of the North Cascades to adorn your home or office here is a link to my North Cascades Gallery. There you can purchase Canvas Wrapped prints (framed prints are available) as well as Fine Art prints.

One of the most popular hikes along Highway 20 is the Lake Ann – Maple Pass Loop. This 7 mile hike visits Lake Ann, cupped amongst peaks snow and flowers and offers spectacular views of the nearby summits.

Maple Pass Trail

Wildflowers along the Lake Ann – Maple Pass Trail

North Cascades Photo Tours

This summer I am offering Guided Photo Tours of the North Cascades. We can pick a trail, based on your available time and venture into the mountains for some stunning scenery and photographic opportunities and/or training. Tours are available for both day hikes and overnight trips.

Skyline Divide is a trail reached from Highway 542. This trail leads up and onto a ridge carpeted with lupine, paintbrush and other flowers with grandstand views of Mount Baker, adorned with glaciers.

Mount Baker and Lupine from the Skyline Divide Trail

Mount Baker and Lupine from the Skyline Divide Trail

 

 

If you are looking for a guide book that catalogs most all of the North Cascades Trails, I recommend the book “Hiking the North Cascades” by Erik Molvar (Falcon Press). This book provides accurate info about each trail including mileage, elevation gain, and details of flora and fauna.

 

Another fabulous day hike is the Sauk Mountain Trail.

This trail is an easy(ish) hike up into the high country with smashing views of the Skagit Valley. Skagit Valley from Sauk Mountain

If you like a dash of solitude to go along with your mountain scenery then you’ll need to don a backpack and hike at least a day travel from the parking area. Here the crowds disappear and you have the place (mostly) to yourself.

Hiking along Sahale Arm

Hiking along Sahale Arm

In the next installment I will describe a few of the most stunning overnight and extended hikes in the North Cascades.

Trail along the North Fork, Bridge Creek

Trail along the North Fork, Bridge Creek

 

 

 

 

 

If capturing images of the Night Sky is your thing, check out our Night Sky Photo Tours and the Night Sky Photo Gallery!

 

Glow of Aurora Borealis

Glow of Aurora Borealis

 

 

Lake Ann – Maple Pass Loop

On July 1 I hiked the Lake Ann – Maple Pass Loop. Usually this trail does not open (due to snow) until late July or even August. But the trail was completely snow free from top to bottom.

I started late to get the evening light. Here are a few images. Oh, and there were a few wildflowers.

If you’d like to go on a North Cascades Photo Tour and get shots like this, here is the place to find out more and sign up!

Lake Ann from Maple Pass

Lake Ann from Maple Pass

Lake Ann from Maple Pass

Lake Ann from Maple Pass

Maple Pass Trail

Maple Pass Trail

Maple Pass Trail

Maple Pass Trail