I finally went back and revisited a panorama I had set up earlier in the month at Rainier. It was a series of 50mm vertical shots which needed to be blended for dynamic range. I think it turned out nicely.
Went back to Spray Park in hopes of seeing the mountain this time. Success! I also tried a different hydration scheme involving drinking a quart of Accelerade while hiking up to the park. This helped me considerably with soreness and energy. In the park, I explored a few tarns and meadows and headed back down after sunset. Flowers are still amazing. 200 lumens is enough of a headlamp it turns out 🙂
After all the gushing reviews, I decided to venture into Spray Park. I snowshoed to Mowitch Lake last winter and now being able to drive to the trailhead I can see why that was such a slog 😉 Many campers today at the camping site near Mowitch. I started hiking around 3pm and got into Spray Park around 5. Rainier was fogged in but the flowers were soaring and everywhere. Whoever said they were past their peak probably never left the parking lot. Got as far as the rock garden at 6400 feet and then turned back. I reached the trailhead again about 830 as the last light fell away. I will be back later this week in hope that Rainier shows itself.
I had a really nice time chasing wildflowers up near Rainier these last few days. But the standout moment was when I was hiking up the trail to Pinnacle Saddle and came across an older couple hiking. They asked me if I knew anything about a picturesque tarn near the Saddle. I said yes. They told me they had driven here from Wyoming to find it. If we were talking about the same reflective tarn, they weren’t going to find it without guiding. Its about the size of a car and easily overlooked even if you head off in the right direction. So I showed them, and they told me it absolutely made their trip. And it made mine.
Truly an awesome day for art in the Ballard P-Patch Garden. I’d say we had a crowd of several hundred over the span of the day. Sold several prints and almost sold out of greeting cards but beyond that was the palpable sense of joy coming from everyone who stopped by to see my display of prints and cards. The Truck, shown to the left was by far and away the most popular draw. Everyone wanted to know where/when/how it came to be.
Went back down to Rainier in search of more wildflower pictures. After overnighting over near Lake Tipsoo and catching the sunrise over there, I headed over to Paradise to see how the flowers were doing. Around nine am I set off up the Skyline and Lakes trails and found floral bliss. I scouted for a bit and then headed down back to Paradise for a nap. My goal was to get back on the trail in the evening for the best light.
That evening after some napping and some fun people watching at the Visitor Center, I packed up my gear and headed back into the flower fields. My gear for this kind of thing includes Canon 5D mk2, Zeiss 21mm, 28mm, 50mm and 100mm lenses and polarizer filters. I also brought my Gitzo GT0540 Carbon tripod (weighs 2lbs with ball head). Everything goes into an Arcteryx 30L pack which seems to work well with my back. I’ve worked over the years lightening up my gear and this set up seems to cover whatever I’m likely to come across in the field.
So my goal was to get to the end of the Paradise Glacier trail and work my way back down as the light got better after 7pm-ish. I found several extremely photogenic tarns up top and captured those. Also several fields of lupine, paintbrush and other wonderful flowers. I made it back to the trailhead about 9pm.