Friday Morning Hike

My job has me working rotating shifts which include days, afternoons and nights.  This time around I decided to take my final night shift off, and as luck would have it, after finishing my final shift, I slept the entire day instead of getting up a bit early.  While I felt awake and refreshed, it meant I was going to have a rough time switching back to a normal sleep pattern.  I crawled into bed around midnight, and slept like the dead until about 3 or 3:30am when I swear I heard my phone buzz.  This irreversibly woke me up. The night before I had found myself on Youtube and had seen some waterfalls near home.  Near being a relative term of course.  By 4:30am I decided today would be a good day to shoot a couple that were close at first light.

Albion FallsLittle did I know that my shoot would result in the money-shot right out of the gate, and the following hike would be little more than an adventure in carrying gear in difficult conditions.  It turns out that right at the parking lot, maybe 50 feet away is a lookout perch.  A few moments setting up the tripod, affixing my 200mm lens and I had my shot, and I'm pretty happy with it.  Sure it would be much more beautiful on a summer morning, but I like the cool tone of this shot of Albion Falls.

From here I headed south towards what is known as Buttermilk Falls.  This waterfall is located maybe 1km away so I packed up my gear, shouldered my tripod and bag and set out down a snow and ice-covered winding path through the tree-lined path.  Numerous paw prints could also be seen along the way which made clear that this area was popular for the view.  It's unfortunate then that when I did reach this waterfall, it was little more than a trickle of water, no doubt affected by the time of year.  No shots taken.  Following the map, I made my way along the trail to the end where I see a note indicating a crossing of the creek roughly 80 feet below where I standing.

Back and forth I went trying to locate a path down to the waters edge where there was a bridge crossing, but I gave up.  It was at this point where I found a spot that I thought cliffwould be safe to make the trip down.  Tentatively I inched my way towards the edge and carefully went step by step, lowering myself down, holding a rock here, a branch there, anything that seemed solid enough to hold me.  I don't mind admitting I was nervous on the wet, snow-covered ground as I made each step lower.  When I did reach a point where I could safely unpack my camera again, I felt it was necessary to take a picture of what I had just decended.  The wide angle lens doesn't really do it justice, but I can assure you, it was not an easy trek.  With open hands, sure.  Not with gear!

Anyway, I finished my trek downward to the water and made my way along the stream to the bridge, eager to find this third waterfall.  I couldn't help take a couple of shots of the water below my feet.  downstreamNothing particularly spectacular really, but there was something striking about standing down in this canyon and the calm water passing by.

Looking upstream was just as nice.  Again, nothing particularly spectacular, but calming just the same.upstream

The rest of the hike was fairly uneventful.  I never did find that third fall.  The climb back up the icy hill was enough to remind me that I was probably lucky to have not taken any falls yet.  The climb was fairly steep and footing was unsure at best, so I decided to err on the side of caution and let the third one go.

Unfortunately as I made my way closer to my car again, and from the other side of Albion Falls, I set up my camera to get a shot from the other side.  I didn't notice at the time, but a couple of drops of snow/rain landed on my lens, ruining the few photos I did take.  A short walk to my car later, and a quick shot through my iphone, and my morning was finished.

My hope is that while I enjoy my week off, I will have clear skies to shoot, and my next blog entry will contain something along those lines.  Stay tuned!






dipper After watching the weather forecast pretty much all day, it went from being a clear night, to partly cloudy.  As the day was already VERY overcast, it was going to be a gamble on when the sky would turn to only "a few clouds".  And this of course can still mean that there is a haze.

At 11pm I made the decision that I would take a chance and make the nearly 3 hour drive.  Every hour or so, I would pull over and take a good look up and make a decision to turn around or continue on.  Each time I continued on.

At 20km away, I was once again blown away by the beautiful starry night and my excitement peaked. I hurried on to my destination, eager to begin taking pictures, but as I pulled into the beautiful dark parking area, there were no stars to be seen anywhere.  I figured I must have gotten ahead of the cloud clearing so I wrapped myself up in a sleeping bag, reclined my seat and waited.  It was unexpectedly warm, a very nice surprise.  But as 2am turned to 3, and then 330, I decided it was time to give up waiting.  The wind may be blowing in the wrong direction, so I gave up.

About halfway back to the highway I took a gander upwards and saw the sky was pretty clear.  Not spectacular, but enough that I had to get out and salvage *something* out of what was going to be 6 hours of driving, and arriving home as the sun was soon to rise.  All I was able to get was this.  The ole Big Dipper.

As I snapped away at a few other things in an attempt to get some deep space, I was jolted back to reality by the sound of a wolf way off in the distance.  Moments later it was answered by a second, and then a third closer one.  And then a fourth even closer, and finally a fifth that was clearly very close.  At this point, I didn't even put the lens cap on.  I threw open the trunk, hurriedly placed my tripod, still with camera turned on inside and hopped in the car and rolled up the windows.  As my door was closing, I could hear at least a couple of them attacking something that howled aggressively.  I don't know who won that round as I got the hell out of Dodge and began my trip home.

Click the image above a couple of times for a larger version.