Thursday, September 30, 2010

Nightscape at Cape Disappointment

I was very happy to have the opportunity to experiment with some night shots on the beach. Most of them didn't come out all that well, but I was excited about how a couple of them turned out. I was mostly trying to get the lighthouse, but then I realized that I could pick up stars, too. I'd like to experiment with this kind of shot again sometime. This is looking toward North Head Lighthouse.

Sunset at Cape Disappointment

Last weekend we got to camp for a night at Cape Disappointment State Park. I know, the name just begs for  comments ("Why would you go there if it's disappointing?"), but really, it's a great park. I'm sure my opinion is influenced by the fact that both times we've gone there the weather was wonderful. We stayed in one of the sites right next to the beach. It takes just a minute or two to walk through the trees and bushes onto the beach. I had a great time with my cameras (my digital SLR and Dad's old film one, just to play with). Here's some of my favorite shots from the evening we got there.

Unofficial trail to the beach

Someone did a very nice job making this driftwood shelter--it even had a bench at the back.

Investigating an old abandoned boat.

North Head Lighthouse

So you're probably  wondering, "What is that?" It's actually a bug that got its wings wet and was stuck in the sand. Somehow it could manage to crawl around and make this fascinating design.

The sunset was so beautiful!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hiking Mt. St. Helens

Yesterday we had the amazing opportunity to hike up the south side of Mt. St. Helens for the first time.  It's a hike we've heard about from other people for years.  It has the reputation of being really hard, but then it has a view at the top like no other hike you can do.  Christina signed us up this year a bit late in the season, and September 3rd was the date we got.  You have to pay for a permit before you climb, so once we were signed up, we were committed.  It was kind of scary to realize we were actually going to do it this year.  We did several prep-hikes to try to get ourselves ready, but I was still a little uncertain of how I would do.  

We got up really early to head out to Cougar, pick up our permits, and drive to the trailhead, which I'm glad for, because it took us pretty much the whole day get to the top and down again.  The first couple miles is really easy.  Then you get to the timber line, and the terrain suddenly gets a lot more challenging. First you do lots of climbing/walking up through slopes covered in boulders.     

Getting ready to start climbing through boulders at the edge of the timber line.  The pole behind Mom and Christina was one of the first of many trail markers on the way up the side of the mountain.  They were really critical in the fields of boulders where there isn't really a trail.  From this point on, the view was already stunning.  On the horizon is Mt. Adams. 

In the back left of this picture you can see Mt. Hood. 

As we got higher the incline got steeper.  It was weird looking sideways across a 45 degree incline. 

Towards the top the boulders end and the trail becomes a steep slope of rocky gravel.  Then it turns to soft, sandy ash for the last climb to the top.  The higher we got, the slower we climbed.  Finally, I got to the edge, where the crater suddenly opens up in front.  It's an amazing experience to look down into the crater at the lava dome, with little puffs of steam coming out, and across to Johnston Ridge and Spirit Lake, and finally to Mt. Rainier in the distance.

Looking south.  The lake might be Yale Lake, but I'm not sure.  Again, Mt. Hood is on the left.


Fellow hikers looking over the edge.

I didn't take many pictures on the way down.  Climbing down had its own challenges.  I was kind of nervous about slipping on the steep grade.  It was harder to find the trail going down.  We were definitely glad to be finished when we finally reached the trail head.  It was a long, very challenging day, but I'm so glad we could do it.  It was wonderful to see God's creation from this unique perspective.  It was also satisfying to know I could physically do this hike.  Granted, it took us much longer than other people.  It's amazing how fit some people are.  As we were just leaving timberline in the morning we met someone coming down the mountain.  He had started at something like 3 a.m. (after working night shift) and been up on the mountain for sunrise.  He didn't seem exhausted at all. I don't think I'll ever be that fit.  But I guess it surprises some people that somebody like me would do it at all.  As we were starting to go down the mountain, someone looked at me made and made a comment about whether a little girl like that could really climb to the top.  She made it up and down again, but she was really tired!  

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Church Camp at Cape Lookout

Last week we went to Cape Lookout State Park for our church's annual camp-out.  This was our second year going to Cape Lookout--it has a nice campground with a great group site right next to the beach.  It was such a luxury to just walk out onto the beach any time we wanted to.  Here's some of my favorite shots from the days we were there.
I really liked the way these trees were lit up by the sunset on our first night there. This was just off to the side of our campsite.

Sunset on day one.

Sunrise on day two.  The tide was out and the reflections in the water left on the beach were so pretty.

 Off on the southern end of the beach, the cliffs come out towards that water, and there's lots of little sea creatures living on them. It's my favorite place to walk to at Cape Lookout.

Sunset on day two.

On day three, the clouds never really burned off.  Apparently there was a little cloud bank settled right over the Cape Lookout area.  Back in Tillamook where we got ice cream, it was a lovely day. 
That evening Christina and I explored a little sand bar during low tide. 
Looking back from the sand bar.

Definitely no sunset!

Water caught between the beach and the sandbar.

Really, despite the clouds, we couldn't complain.  It never rained, which was a real blessing.  The next morning, we woke up to yet another beautiful day.  I'm glad we had those days at the beach to enjoy God's creation and spend time with families from church.   

Thomas Lake Trail

Mom, Christina, and I joined some friends from church to go on a hike two Saturdays ago in Gifford Pinchot National Forest, in the Indian Heaven Wilderness area.  Indian Heaven is a beautiful place with lots of little lakes and alpine meadows.  Everything is so still and quiet up there.  We took the Thomas Lake trail which was nice and not too difficult.  Thanks to Kyle for planning this one.  It was a fun day!

I wish I could have gotten a better picture of Mt. St. Helens.  Though we could see her pretty often, we never got a really good, unobstructed view. 

Blue Lake, appropriately named. ;)