Saturday, April 9, 2011
Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
What an incredible day! Didn't see or do anything extraordinary, but it has been one of the best days we've had this spring and I managed to get out and up into the mountains for a bit of casual hiking. Had planned yesterday already on going to Spokane to see our handicapped son, but had some issues with the car and didn't dare drive it that far and went up into the mountains instead.
Went first to Horseshoe Bend, an easy and low elevation hike that follows the north fork of the Nooksack River, and though heavily used is one of the best river walks in the area. I hiked a couple of miles until the trail petered out along a service road for the power lines and then wandered back, taking a lot of pictures and enjoying the sunshine, warm weather and beautiful scenery.
There wasn't really anything in bloom - in fact there were still patches of snow here and there. Did see my first Trillium of the year, but it was not quite open yet. About the only other things of interest beside the river were some fungi and moss, moss and more moss. There were places where I seemed to be walking through a cathedral made of moss with the branches arching overhead.
The river was very full, since the snow has begun to melt the last few days and I did my best to get some decent time exposures, even though I did not have my neutral density filters along. The contrast between the sunlit and shady areas made photography quite difficult, and so some of the pictures have been adjusted in Photoshop Elements to lighten shadows or darken highlights.
After returning to the car I went on to the area of Nooksack Falls, hoping to follow the Forest Service road up into the hills, but there was too much snow on the road. I did stop and take some time exposures of a small unnamed cascade above the falls. Even there however the sunlight through the trees made photography a bit difficult.
I ended my day at the Hannegan Pass Road, a Forest Service road that was impassable because of the snow still there. I parked the car in the small area of the car park that was plowed and walked through the snow a ways until I was able to get some shots of Mount Shuksan and the river. Also found some Skunk Cabbage in a warmer area that were just starting to bloom.