No bugs! Tons of berries. The sky seemed to be coming together for a nice sunset so I headed up to the trailhead around 4pm. Lots of hikers in the meadow picking berries. Lots of lupine around the area past the junction to Railroad Grade. I climbed up to my favorite tarn and watched the sky evolve. Around 830, I headed back to the trailhead with headlamp on. Met one party climbing up to camp including Scruffy the Trail Shizhu 🙂 Visions of that little dog scampering up the trail powered me back to my car.
I’m going to say yes to fall foliage although I may have been imagining it. Bugs were a bit less than the last time I was there and Baker didn’t show (clouds). So I ventured up again last night and hiked in, as everyone was hiking out, intent on finding a nice spot near Iceberg Lake. I got to the lake just as the alpenglow was peaking and got a few shots. Then I scouted about for a camping spot and pitched my tent. I got up around 1am for a few Milky Way shots then back in the sack. Scouting around for photos in the morning, I was struck by the abundance of ripe huge berries 🙂 I slipped at one point and ended up with berries all over my backside. Looked like blood. Maybe that was why no one would pick me up at Austin Pass for a ride to AP. Speaking of which, doing this loop starting at Artists Point is highly recommended. Going the other way coming up from Austin Pass looked like quite the slog.
After staring at screens all day, I clear my thoughts by spending some time in the local garden. The dahlias are wrapping it up for the year. This bloom caught my attention. I was using my zeiss 28mm at f/2.8 for a change.
With promising weather and some free time, Its hard for me to stay away from Mount Rainier and the wildflowers. I would have arrived even earlier for this show, if not for a passive aggressive Prius driver doing exactly 35 mph for several miles in front of me. My bug strategy continues to keep the mozzies at bay. I’m sure I will be back for more soon.
I love this trail. Ever since I first tried to do it in the snow and ended up several peaks to the East of the Saddle. Its a slog but the payoff is unreal. This morning I started out about 5am and made it to the saddle around 545. Lots of flowers and amazing scenery. Abundant lupine and paintbrush. I took some photos then started hiking down. I ran into a guy, his wife and presumably mother in law who were also hiking up to take photos. My clue: He had about $2000 in tripods/ballheads strapped to his pack. I assured them it was amazing. MIL needed a lot of encouraging.
Ventured down to my favorite part of the Paradise area – the Lakes Trail. Coated in premethrin and picaridin, I was determined not to be a feast for bugs. That worked out well actually. As I was hiking in, I could hear thunder and was definitely going against the tide of hikers leaving the area. I meandered along the trail for about two hours, meeting several other photographers and talking photography stuff.
Slept in the Paradise parking lot overnight. A couple showed up about 11pm, intent on dancing in the moonlight to flamenco music on their car stereo. This went on for an hour and fortunately they left.
Finally visited the Chain Lakes trail near Mount Baker. Baker itself was hidden in the clouds but there were tons of wildflowers to be seen along the trail.
I should add that this trip was an experiment using permethrin spray from Sawyer. Trying to avoid DEET if possible. I coated my shirt, zip off pants, hat, pack and shoes with the stuff the day before, as directed. I found it really helps ward off the bugs. I used nothing else and they seemed to stay away. I think I should also spray my tripod, and I wish I could dip my camera in it too. The bugs seemed to swarm around it. I would wave them away, take the shot and they would swarm back.
Love this route. I’ve been working on a project for three weeks and now that its done I can hike. I went out to scout conditions and how the flowers are doing. Lupine begins to show up as soon as you leave the parking lot. Lots of flowers, and bugs around the little tarn in my photo. After this, I drove over to Paradise and hiked the Skyline trail in the morning to scout the flowers. Two more weeks to peak!