I’ve been hoping to do this hike for years. Up until this last weekend, it had evaded me. Weekend after weekend from summer into fall I plotted trips. But with consistently bad luck, each weekend I picked seemed to be doomed by clouds and rain. I even dragged my friends out in early winter for a snowshoe. We turned back a hundred yards under Longs Pass as a blizzard blew in.
But finally, on my last weekend for the foreseeable future in the Northwest, the weather was perfect: mid 70s with a slight breeze blowing through the mountain passes. I took hundreds of pictures, prolonging this journey by hours and eliminating my alpine lake nap-time. But it was worth it. I am proud to have captured one of the most beautiful, prized and quintessential hikes in Washington.
As I climbed over the final rock into the lake basin, I was greeted by a young mountain goat (photos coming later). I continued down to the lake, removing my hiking boots and soaking my feet in the ice cold water. As I did this, I stared across the space in front of me, unable to focus my gaze on the immense beauty of Mt. Stuart under late-day sunlight and reflected in the still lake. The feeling was meditative and mindful, yet at the same time, the overwhelming calm lulled me into relaxation. By the time I snapped out of it, my feet were numb. The grass I stepped out onto felt like pins and needles.
As a photographer, my passion for landscape comes from the desire to capture and share these feelings. But the natural beauty, the presence and awe of the moment is challenging to capture. To hone my skill and capture these moments and scenes defines my success in sharing these feelings.
Nikon D800, AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8G AT-X, Hoya HMC NDx400, Hoya NDx8
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