Images that move….me.

north cascades national park

Northwest Travel Magazine

Here is the cover of the March-April Northwest Travel Magazine, featuring one of my favorite tulip images…
1098369_679024302154650_238131136_n
Here is my original image…
red tulips blue and orange sky

Next months issue will feature another cover shot I took, in the North Cascades National Park. Here is the image.Mount Logan from North Fork Bridge Creek, North Cascades National Park


Sahale Camp Panoramas

Sahale Glacier Camp sits at the base of Sahale glacier atop 3 piles of rubble each crowned with a ring of stone. The views are breathtaking: a 180 degree sweeping view of the North Cascades, a sea of peaks stretching out to the horizon.
Sahale Glacier Campsahale camp sunset Panorama
I have visited many times and tried to capture the feel of the view. Here are several panoramas, some from sunrise, and several from sunset, each comprised of two or more images merged.
Morning at Sahale Glacier Camp 1 emAndyPorter_sahalesunset_LandscapeSahale CampSahale Glacier Camp, North Cascades National Park Panorama Sahale sunrise_Panorama1emMorning at Sahale Glacier Camp 2 em
Sahale 2010Panorama2emMorning at Sahale Camp with visitor


North Cascades Book

I just got word that these three images will be included in a new book about the North Cascades, due out in the Fall of 2014.
More details coming soon!

Camping-under-the-stars-NCNP Camping under the stars

Mt-Baker-and-Coleman-Glacier Mount Baker and Coleman Glacier

Sahale-Hiker-NCNP Hikers on Sahale Arm


Hikes for 2014

This is my list of planned hikes for the summer. All are overnights unless specifically noted. Two reason for this: splitting it into two days is easier, and more importantly you’re there for the sunset and sunrise! If you have an interest to come along for any of them, let me know!
There are three lookouts that you can stay overnight in here in the North Cascades, along Highway 20, I have been to two of them, want to get up to all three this year.

Park Butte Lookout Great place for an overnight, I want to be there for a new moon with no cloud cover for the Milky Way with Mount Baker…maybe early June or July? Mount Baker Mount Baker from the Park Butte Trail

Lookout Mountain I have never been here, it sounds like a brutal hike, would be another wonderful spot to stay overnight when there is no moon or clouds… trip one way is 4.7 miles, 4,444 eg

Hidden Lake Lookout I have been to this lookout before, although never managed to stay overnight in it…probably need to go on a Tues or Wed… 3.7 miles, 3,200 eg (one way)

Upper Cathedral Lake This is a 55 mile RT hike, starting on the east side of the Pasayten Wilderness, its a wonderfully scenic trail, start at a high elevation and mostly on ridges to the lake, passing Tungsten Mine, a great early season hike, maybe mid July. 5 days. Amphitheater Mountain, Pasayten Wilderness Amphitheater Mountain and Upper Cathedral Lake, Pasayten Wilderness

Easy Pass – Park Creek Pass – Cascade Pass trek. This is (for me anyway!) maybe a 5 or 6 day trip, leaving lots of time for lollygagging. Probably one of the most scenic hikes in the North Cascades. 43.5 miles – 9,400 eg AndyPorter_HorseshoeBasin_Landscape Horseshoe Basin, North Cascades National Park

Skyline Divide I hiked this trail last year for the first time. The trail was snow covered. What amazing views! Definitely on the list this year, maybe late July for the flowers. 3.5 miles one way, 2,000 eg skyline 1em Skyline Divide Trail

Yellow Aster Butte This hike has been on the list for quite a while, but I have never made it happen, would be a great September hike. 3.5 miles, 2,440 eg

Maple Pass Loop I have done this several times, always a fantastic trip…this is one of the only hikes I would do as a day hike. 7.2 miles (loop) 2,185 eg Maple Pass Loop Storm em Storm from Maple Pass

Snowy Lakes 23 miles 3,000eg This trail starts at Rainy Pass on Highway 20 and heads north on the PCT, passing Cutthroat and Granite Passes. Wonderfully scenic trail, unsurpassed views. I am leaning towards 3 days for this hike. Cutthroat Pass Panorama View from Cutthroat Pass

Enchantments 14 miles 4,700 eg Via Aasgard Pass What can be said about the Enchantments that’s not covered by the name! In early October the larch turn the core area into a true wonderland of color. This is on the list for Oct 1 to 5.
trees 2em Enchantments: Larch and snow!

Spider Meadows Loop 53 miles, 10,400 eg I have never done this loop but the more I read about it, the more I am determined to get ‘er done. The side trips to Image Lake, Flower Dome and Middle Ridge sound awesome! This would be a mid August hike, maybe 6 days?


Cards for Sale

Statement Cards for Sale!

The 10 images below are now printed on 5.5″ x 8″ thick linen finish paper. They have a luxurious feel to them and the colors are magnificent. One side is the image an the other side has the name and location of the image. They can be send as post cards, but come individually sealed in a plastic sleeve with an envelope.

Price is $4 each; a bundle of one of each (10 cards) for $35.
Wholesale pricing available!

The shipping cost varies based on the number of cards you’d like, email me for prices
AndyPorterPhotography@gmail.com

Send in your payments (checks or money orders only, please!) to:

Andy Porter
440 Nelson Street
Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284

The cards will ship out within 24 hours of your order being received.

NOTE: The cards are for sale in Sedro-Woolley at
Simply Silver and More located on Metcalf Street in Downtown Sedro Woolley

red tulips blue and orange sky Skagit Valley Tulips

DCF 1.0 Sahale Glacier Camp, North Cascades National Park

carnival 5em Sedro-Woolley Carnival

Orange sky, pink tulips Orange Sky, Pink Tulips @ Skagit Valley

mt baker Mount Baker

Sahale Arm Trail,  North Cascades National Park Sahale Arm Trail, North Cascades National Park

Light and Tulips Light and Tulips

Point of the Arches Point of the Arches, Olympic National Park

waterfall 2-Recovered em Indian Creek Waterfall, North Cascades National Park

Arches National Park, Utah Arches National Park


Copper Ridge, North Cascades National Park

AndyPorter_CopperRidge_Landscape
Copper Ridge is located in the northern section of the North Cascades National Park, in Washington. To get there from Bellingham you drive east on Highway 542, the Mount Baker Highway, past the town of Glacier and turn left on Forest Road 32, for Hannegan Pass. The road ends at a parking area and here your hike begins. The first 4 miles climb 2,000 ft. up to Hannegan Pass. Along the right are nice views of Nooksack Ridge. CR 7emFrom the pass the trail descends and after 1 mile you reach boundary of North Cascades National Park and the trail junction with the Copper Ridge Trail. CR 6_1em

Any overnight stay in the National Park requires a permit, which you can obtain from the Ranger Station in Glacier. Permits are limited and first come first serve, be sure to get there at the crack of dawn (or even better right when the Ranger Station opens…) to snag a permit. Also, one little known tip is that you can get a permit one day before you start your trip, so if you can arrive and get a permit to camp at Selesia camp the next night then on your first night you can camp at the site just west of Hannegan Pass (which is not in the park, no permit needed).

From the trail junction you head north and up to Copper Ridge. Its another 3 miles until you reach Selesia Camp which is perches out along the ridge commanding fantastic views east towards Whatcom Peak and Mount Challenger Whatcom Peak 1and south towards Mount Shuksan and Mount Baker. CR 9em

No matter which wy you look from here the views are smashing. cr 4em

cr 5em

CR 10em
Continuing the hike north along the ridge (2 miles and 1,000 ft EG) soon brings you to the Copper Ridge Lookout, the highest point along the route commanding a sweeping view in all directions. Copper Ridge Lookout em

CR 4_1The lookout is regularly manned with Park Rangers. Make sure to have your map available to spend time locating peaks all around. Mount Shuksan from Copper Ridge

Arriving at Copper Ridge Lookout North Cascades National Park

After soaking in the sun and views at the look out the trail now traverses over some rocky slopes for another 2 miles as it heads down to Copper Lake. Nestled in a nook along the ridge the lake sports a small island/peninsula offering a wonderful place for a swim. There is an official campground here, the last one before you exit Copper Ridge and plunge down to the Chilliwack. Copper Lake 2

From Copper Lake your ridge hike continues another 5 miles of spectacular views. Waterfalls, meadows and gorgeous vistas abound. CR 2

CR 5

Copper Ridge _Panorama1em At about 11 miles from the start of the Copper Ridge Trail (16 miles from the car) the ridge hike ends and the trail plunges down more than 3,000 feet in less than three miles to the Chilliwack River with its sparkling waters and levitating salmon, but that’s a story for another day! copper ridge Panorama1em


Sahale Glacier Camp Panoramas

These two shots are from Sahale Glacier Camp in North Cascades National Park. Each image below is composed of 2 shots photomerged in CS 6. I opened the two images to be connected in Camera Raw and synchronized my changes, lightening and darkening the sky and foreground with brushes and then used the automated photomerge option. A first for me and I am pleased with the results!
Sahale Glacier Camp, North Cascades National Park Panorama

Sahale Glacier Camp


Capturing and Manipulating Images in the RAW format

I am probably preaching to the choir here, but if you are not capturing your images in the RAW format you are really missing out.

For some years I set my camera to capture the largest JPEG file available and modified the images in Photoshop. I learned many cool techniques for selecting and altering the color, tone, contrast and more of these JPEG images.

About 2 years ago I changed my camera settings so that the images are captured as both JPEGs and RAW.

Since then I have studied how to make alterations to the RAW images and the difference is astounding. I found that when you start with a RAW image that you can make alterations to your shot so much easier.

Photoshop CS6 offers a simple set of controls for RAW images, modifying the lens distortion is an easy fix. Saturation also becomes SO much easier to alter, in the RAW format you can selectively change the saturation, brightness or tone of one color at a time.

Here is an example: This first image is the original shot.
IMG_1395

This second image was modified as a RAW image in CS6.
IMG_1395 as Smart Object-1em

Here is another shot. First the original,
IMG_2166

then the altered RAW shot.
pumpkins 7em
Have a close look at the boards on the barn, and the sky. There is no way that I could have made these changes as clearly and quickly if I started with a JPEG shot.

Without a doubt start to capture in the RAW format now. Even if you don’t currently have the software to alter images in the RAW format, do it anyway! Some day you will have the ability (software, time, interest, etc) to work with the RAW images and you will be most happy that you shot in RAW!!!


Black Warrior Mine, North Cascades National Park

There are many fantastic destinations in North Cascades National Park. Sahale Glacier Camp is truly unforgettable. The Copper Ridge and the Chiliwack River Loop combines fantastic ridge views with deep, dark forests. North Fork Bridge Creek affords endless views of soaring peaks, waterfalls and meadows.

It’s hard to have a favorite, but if you love jagged peaks, lush meadows and exploration, Horseshoe Basin and the Black Warrior Mine can’t be beat.

The first time I visited the Basin was in August of 2012. We hiked over Cascade Pass on a hot day and took the spur trail up the valley towards the basin and the mine.

The basin was aglow in the afternoon light, orange granite spires surrounding the lip like fangs, too-numerous-to-count waterfalls glistening, their sparkling waters plunging down into the valley. There were wildflowers popping out everywhere, yellows and purples, reds and blues, all accenting the deep green of the basin floor.

Horseshoe Basin, North Cascades National Park Horseshoe Basin, North Cascades National Park

The trail follows the stream up into the valley; it follows a course along the stream, across the stream and in the stream, brushy and wet. Shortly the trail emerges into a clearing where boulders dot the basin floor. Climbing up on the largest, the view is transfixing. The green bowl is surrounded with grandeur, full of color and drama.

Horseshoe Basin Wildflowers on the trail

We hurried on, racing the sun, heading up the valley, climbing across boulders and scree, on to a snow field, up to the gaping hole of the Black Warrior Mine.Mine from inside Black Warrior Mine

The North Cascades are full of old mining claims piles of colorful tailings and rusted remains of sluices and Pelton wheels littered about. But I had never visited a mine that I could enter and explore. The Black Warrior Mine operated until the mid-1950’s and is a National Historic place. Sign at Mine Entrance

There is a sign at the entrance giving a brief history of the mine, the names of the prospectors and misled investors who poured their mostly futile efforts into this hole. There are two main cavernous rooms blasted into the mountain side which make the opening of the mine. Wooden supports and floor boards are flooded with water. Old tables and remains of habitation litter the floor. The shaft of the mine runs deep, several miles of tunnel remain; open for any brave person to explore. Em in the Black Warrior Mine Black Warrior Mine: Kitchen

The wonder of the place is still with me. Maybe its the history, all of the people who worked so long and hard here, digging and scraping for naught. Here, as in many of the North Cascade valleys, it was miners who blazed the trails that we now use to visit the high country. The road from Stehekin, long ago, came all the way to the mine entrance. Over time nature has reclaimed the road, now vehicles can only go as far as High Bridge, 17 miles downstream.Mine, inside Black Warrior Mine Remains

The falling sun chased us out of the valley, we camped at Basin Creek camp that night and then next day headed down the valley, east, towards Cotton Wood Camp.Horseshoe basin down the valley View from Mine Entrance, looking down the valley

The next few days found us in Stehekin eating fresh pastry…

2 days and lots of espresso/tasty treats later we headed back up through Cottonwood and the upper valley on a bright summers day, with a welcome breeze we crossed Basin Creek again and started up towards the pass.
Basin Creek 2 Basin Creek

It was early in the morning when we came back to the trail junction with the Horseshoe Basin trail. I wanted to have another view, this time with different light. So we stopped and were having a snack before heading up the valley when we had a visitor.

The main trail coming down from Cascade Pass makes a long traverse of the mountainside, descending towards the valley floor. At the elbow of a switchback the spur trail heads up the Basin Creek draw to Horseshoe Basin. We were sitting at the junction, relaxing, when I saw a black bear heading down the trail towards us. My camera was nearby and I ran for it, got the settings adjusted and started shooting. As the bear approached she spied us and slowed her pace. My pulse was pumping with excitement as she got closer and the images clearer. I was viewing the entire scene from my view finder and suddenly had the realization that the bear was getting pretty close!

Bear at Horseshoe Basin Bear at Horseshoe Basin

I lowered the camera and considered what to do. The bear was now at the trail junction, about 15 feet from me, she paused, considering her options. My friend and I both realized that she wanted to pass up the spur, trail to the basin, right past us!
Bear at Horseshoe Basin 1

We sort of backed up, along the hillside, and spoke soft words to the bear. She gave us a look of resignation, then headed further down the main trail, cutting across the hillside, just below our spot, traversing below us for about 50 feet, then popped back up through the brush and back onto the spur trail. She gave us a last look, and continued her way on the trail up to, we assumed, good foraging grounds in Horseshoe Basin.
Exulting in our good fortune, excited and energized, we finished our snack and followed her up the valley to the basin.
AndyPorter_HorseshoeBasin_Landscape


Washington State 2014 Scenic Calendars!

The new 2014 Calendars have arrived! Big, bright, colorful and beautiful, they make great gifts for your friends…or for you!

Order before December 15th and receive two 3″ x 4″ magnets free! red tulips blue and orange skySahale Glacier Camp

Here are 12 images of Washington State: From the Mount Rainier to Mount Olympus, Skagit Valley to Puget Sound; balloons, tulips and glaciers, waterfalls and the Milky Way…all photographed in vibrant color…

Skagit Valley from Sauk MountainEnchantments, Fall 2013Moon and Orion just before sunrise, from Cypress IslandSequim Balloon Festival, Getting startedRed Tulips and Orange Sky, Skagit Valley, WashingtonGoat Rocks Wilderness
Liberty Bell from the Washington Pass Lookout on the North Cascades HighwayWildflowers at Jim Pass along the Pacific Crest Trail in the Pasayten WildernessMorning at Sahale Glacier CampHiking Along the Baker RiverMount BakerMt Olympus and Blue Glacier

2014 Washington State Calendar, a set on Flickr.

The Calendar is printed on thick (100#) White Linen Paper. The exact calendar size will be 12.5 x 18.5″. It is Wire Bound with calendar hanger.

The printing is magnificent, all of the images are very sharp.

The cost is $30.00 each with a $8.00 shipping cost (for shipping anywhere in the US, if you’d like it shipped overseas, email me for prices)
AndyPorterPhotography@gmail.com

Send in your payments (checks or money orders only, please!) to:

Andy Porter
440 Nelson Street
Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284

The calendars will ship out within 24 hours of your order being received.

NOTE: The calendars are for sale in Sedro-Woolley at
The North Cascade Veterinary Hospital on Highway 20
The Sedro -Woolley Chamber of Commerce, located down town on Metcalf Street
Cook Chiropractic on 639 Sunset Park Drive
North Cascades National Park headquarters on Highway 20

And in Mount Vernon at the Sterling Bank Branch at 1615 Buck Way Suite B, Mount Vernon

Thank you!!

Andy

Here is the Cover Shot for the Calendar: AndyPorter_Goode_Landscape Goode Mountain, North Cascades National Park


Wildlife of the North Cascades

Visiting the North Cascades National Park often offer the possibility of encountering some local denizens. Some of the locals I have run into are: mountain goats (usually at higher altitudes, looking for salt); Black Bears (most often in August, busy foraging); and Deer, of all varieties. I have also had the good fortune to cross paths with salmon, marmots, pika and ptarmigan. 2 years ago I had a close (well, not that close) encounter with a wolverine in the Entiat Mountains and a Grizzly Bear in the Pasayten Wilderness, about a Mile from the Canada border. Alas, no pictures of these last two!

Mountain Goat at Sahale Camp, North Cascades National Park Mountain Goat at Sahale Camp, North Cascades National Park

andyporter_Mountain goat at Sahale Glacier Camp, North Cascades National Park Mountain Goat at Sahale Camp, North Cascades National Park

Visitor at Sahale Glacier Camp, North Cascades National Park Visitor at Sahale Glacier Camp, North Cascades National Park

Goat on Sahale Arm  North Cascades National Park Goat on Sahale Arm North Cascades National Park

Bear at Horseshoe Basin Bear at Horseshoe Basin, North Cascades National Park

Bear at Horseshoe Basin 1 Bear at Horseshoe Basin, North Cascades National Park

Bear5em Bear at Horseshoe Basin, North Cascades National Park

Bear crossing Park Creek Pass Bear crossing Park Creek Pass, North Cascades National Park

Bear on the PCT Black Bear on the Pacific Crest Trail, North Cascades National Park

salmon 5em Salmon Spawning, Indian Creek, North Cascades National Park

salmon 24em Salmon Spawning, Indian Creek, North Cascades National Park

chilliwack salmon Salmon Spawning, Indian Creek, North Cascades National Park

Chilliwack Salmon Salmon Spawning, Indian Creek, North Cascades National Park

salmon 3em Salmon Spawning, Indian Creek, North Cascades National Park

salmon 4em Salmon Spawning, Indian Creek, North Cascades National Park

Deer at Cascade Pass Deer, just above Cascade Pass, North Cascades National Park

deer em Deer, just above Cascade Pass, North Cascades National Park

andyporter_Deer_Sahale 2 Deer, just above Cascade Pass, North Cascades National Park


2014 Washington State Calendar for Sale!

The New Year is almost here…well not really, but it IS time to think about 2014 Calendars!!!

A BIG Thank You to everyone who offered input by voting for their favorite images! If one of your faves is missing I am sorry and will try to include them in the 2015 version!

Here are 12 images of Washington State: From the Mount Rainier to Mount Olympus, Skagit Valley to Puget Sound; balloons, tulips and glaciers, waterfalls and the Milky Way…all photographed in vibrant color…

Skagit Valley from Sauk MountainEnchantments, Fall 2013Moon and Orion just before sunrise, from Cypress IslandSequim Balloon Festival, Getting startedRed Tulips and Orange Sky, Skagit Valley, WashingtonGoat Rocks Wilderness
Liberty Bell from the Washington Pass Lookout on the North Cascades HighwayWildflowers at Jim Pass along the Pacific Crest Trail in the Pasayten WildernessMorning at Sahale Glacier CampHiking Along the Baker RiverMount BakerMt Olympus and Blue Glacier

2014 Washington State Calendar, a set on Flickr.

The Calendar is printed on thick (100#) White Linen Paper. The exact calendar size will be 12.5 x 18.5″. It is Wire Bound with calendar hanger.

The printing is magnificent, all of the images are very sharp.

The cost is $30.00 each with a $8.00 shipping cost (for shipping anywhere in the US, if you’d like it shipped overseas, email me for prices)
AndyPorterPhotography@gmail.com

Send in your payments (checks or money orders only, please!) to:

Andy Porter
440 Nelson Street
Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284

The calendars will ship out within 24 hours of your order being received.

NOTE: The calendars are for sale in Sedro-Woolley at
The North Cascade Veterinary Hospital on Highway 20
The Sedro -Woolley Chamber of Commerce, located down town on Metcalf Street
Cook Chiropractic on 639 Sunset Park Drive
North Cascades National Park headquarters on Highway 20

Thank you!!

Andy

Here is the Cover Shot for the Calendar: AndyPorter_Goode_Landscape Goode Mountain, North Cascades National Park


Salmon Encounters

When I plan a backpacking trip and am working out where to camp each night my main consideration is “Where can I take the best pictures?” I think about the best views and which angle of light I want. And so my camp sites and hiking goals each day are based upon trying to be at the right place at the right time.

Capturing images of wildlife is not as easy to predict. Bear, goats, deer and marmots are all doin’ their own thing. One never knows when you’ll cross paths, so I simply hope for a magical moment and that my camera will be ready!

This summer I hiked the Copper Ridge – Whatcom Pass Loop, in North Cascades National Park. I planned camp sites atop Copper Ridge and Tapto Lakes. But the most magical part of the trip was my encounter with salmon spawning in Indian Creek at its confluence with the Chilliwack River.

The trek began at the Hannegan Pass trail head; we hiked up into the park and out along Copper Ridge. Silesia Camp, atop the ridge is unbelievably stunning.
copper ridge Panorama1em Copper Ridge Sunset Panorama

The long descent down to the ford of the Chilliwack River provides a wonderful opportunity to observe striking changes in flora. Pine forests slowly transform into rain forest as one nears the valley bottom. The forest is wet, humid, different…

Then come the two fords, first the Chilliwack. My sore aching feet welcome the cold fresh waters…then I hobble across a short section of wet forest and come to Indian Creek.

The creek was full of salmon, bright orange in color, hovering in the crystal clear water. Here Indian Creek is about 10 meters across, its banks enveloped with dark green. The sky is a narrowing strip curving away.
chilliwack salmon

Looking up steam, back towards the North Cascades, Indian Creek is choked with fallen trees.
Indian Creek Indian Creek

The river bed is here soft silt and there brightly colored stones, adding to the illusion of the salmon practicing a form of Jedi levitation. indian creek salmon Floating Fish

The view north, towards Canada is equally alluring, the confluence of the two streams creates an opening. The sky is now blue with dark clouds gathering.
indian creek salmon 30em Confluence

I feel like I have been transported to an entirely different point of the globe. Time seems to stand still. There is a fallen tree stretching out in the middle of the stream and I make my way there. A birch provides some support as I try to balance myself and marvel at the majesty of the fish. Some seem playful, darting here and there, others simply hangin’ out, languidly gliding in the waters.
north cascades salmon crossing Vantage Point

As I wander around the banks I sense some motion up stream. Looking up I see a huge brown bear, maybe 800 lbs along the right side of the creek. I freeze, as does the bear. My racing heart slows after a few minutes, my thoughts reactively consider flight, then a millisecond later I am calculating how far the camera is and how brave I will be to approach such a huge bear.

The allure of photographing such a magnificent creature snacking on salmon easily wins the moment. Gathering the camera I start up stream towards the bear. My partner, seeing our visitor, lets out a scream, and off he goes, back into the forest.

I stand still for a while, reviewing the image of the bear in my mind…wow, what a fantastic place!
salmon 24em Crystal Clear

The night brings horrific storms, heavy rain, incessant thunder and lightening envelope our tiny tent. But here in this deep gash of a valley we are protected. With all the noise I wonder if our giant furry friend will come visit us, maybe hungry for some of our food, but I realize that he is likely very well fed and so not interested.

The early morning fog lies thick across the water. We linger for some gap in time. The crisp, fresh air and cold clear water sharpen my senses. I am quite happy to be alive! salmon 27em Misty Morning

Every year the first weeks of August bring the salmon back to Indian Creek. Maybe next year I’ll see you there…
salmon 3em Salmon swimming Indian Creek


Sahale Glacier Camp, North Cascades National Park – Sept. 2013

Every year I make the trip from my home in Sedro-Woolley up to Sahale Glacier Camp. And every time I go I am astounded at the wonder of the place…
Untitled_Panorama 4emm

The road up offered this scene, we almost careened off the Cascade River Road so I could stop for this shot.
Cascade River Road em

Cascade Pass is always a busy place, where lots of day-hikers, backpackers and climbers pause…
Pass 7em

Pass 3em

Pass 4em

Pass 5em

Pass 6em

The trail up to the Sahale Camp from Cascade Pass is just stunning…
Arm 7em

Sahale Arm 1 em

sunrise 4 em

I met a group of hikers from Seattle who let me take their picture!
Friends 10 em

Friends 8 em

Each camp spot is surrounded with turret-like stone walls, there is no bad site, all are perfect.
Camp 5em

The sunset was superb.
sunset 1em

sahale 8m
sahale 2em

sahale 4em

sahale 5em

The night was mostly cloudy, but the morning was picture perfect!
Morning at Sahale Glacier Camp 2 em

Untitled_Panorama 3mm em

Morning at Sahale Glacier Camp 1 em

We encountered several black-tail deer on the way back down.
deer em

I can’t wait to return!


Wilderness Competition

SIGNED INTO LAW in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, the Wilderness Act was a triumph for all who enjoy the open landscapes of America and the natural heritage they represent. 

Today, more than 100 million acres are protected by the National Wilderness Preservation System to ensure these areas remain ecologically sound and environmentally pristine and for future generations. 



In 2014, the Wilderness Act will reach its Golden Anniversary. In tribute to this milestone, Wilderness50—a coalition of government agencies, nonprofit groups, foundations, and other supporters—have joined together to celebrate the 50-year mark through numerous educational events, including the “Wilderness Forever” nationwide photography competition and print exhibition at the Smithsonian.

Here is the link to submit your own images!

Here are the twenty images I will enter into the contest: AndyPorter_Zion_People Left Fork canyon, Zion NP

AndyPorter_Cathedral Peak_ Landscape Cathedral Peak, Pasayten Wilderness

AndyPorter_Cirque_Landscape Cirque of the Towers, Wyoming

AndyPorter_CopperRidge_Landscape Copper Ridge, NCNP

AndyPorter_deer_ wildlife Deer at Cascade Pass, NCNP

AndyPorter_Goode_Landscape Goode Mountain, NCNP

AndyPorter_hikers_people Hikers on Sahale Arm, NCNP

AndyPorter_HorseshoeBasin_Landscape Horseshoe Basin, NCNP

AndyPorter_leaves_People Autumn Leaves

AndyPorter_lillies_Landscape Mount Rainier and Lilies

AndyPorter_MountBaker_Landscape Mount Baker

AndyPorter_MountOlympus_Landscape Mount Olympus, ONP

AndyPorter_MountRainier_Landscape Mount Rainer

DCF 1.0 Sahale Glacier Camp, NCNP

AndyPorter_sahalesunset_Landscape Sahale Camp, NCNP

AndyPorter_salmon_wildlife North Cascades Salmon

AndyPorter_ShiShi_Wildlife Shi Shi Beach, ONP

AndyPorter_Shuksan_Landscape Mount Shuksan

AndyPorter_starrysky_Landscape Starry Skies

AndyPorter_wildflowers_Landscape Wildflowers at Sunset, Pasayten Wilderness


North Cascades Trek – 2013

copper ridge 1em Sunset from Copper Ridge

The trek started at the Hannegan Pass trail head. We arrived Friday morning to a full parking lot and sunny skies ready to tackle a hard 5-day loop through the North Cascades. Weather reports for the area called for dicey weather, partly sunny/cloudy with a high percentage of thundershowers. But like most fools I told myself that this forecast did not by some magical, mystical way, apply to me.

Actually the story started 7 years ago when I hiked the Copper Ridge trail forded the Chilliwack River and made acquaintance with a bunch of spawning salmon. The image of all those bright red salmon in the pristine waters, deep in the wilderness just pulled me back, that and the lure of making it to Tapto Lakes, above Whatcom Pass.

The first days hike took us up to Hannegan Pass and then, entering the North Cascades National Park, up to Selesia Camp on Copper Ridge. This is easily on my list of top 3 or 4 camp sites in the park, the views of Mount Shuksan, Ruth Mountain, Whatcom Peak and the Picket Range and many more are just breathtaking.

copper ridge 2em The Picket Range under Storm Clouds

copper ridge 4em Mount Shuksan from Selesia Camp

The night brought lightening and thunder and rain but the morning, to our surprise was clearing. We headed up to the Copper Ridge Lookout, at 6,600 ft the highest point along the trail. The park ranger was there to greet us and we toured the lookout while she pointed out the names of all the peak surrounding us. The trail ascending to the lookout from the north meanders through a bright green meadow in a sinuous s-curve just below the lookout. Years ago I captured a wonderful shot of a hiker climbing out of the abyss…
Approaching Copper Ridge Lookout Out of the abyss, Copper Ridge, North Cascades – 2006

copper ridge 6em Hiker Approaching the Copper Ridge Lookout – 2013

Tanya, the Park Ranger commented that a lone hiker was approaching from Copper Lake and so now another chance was upon me to see about capturing again the silhouette against the backdrop of deep valleys.

Reluctantly departing from the views and company at the lookout we continued our ridge walk, descending to Copper Lake we stopped for lunch and a swim in its azure waters.

Surprisingly the weather held up and as we made the long traverse of the ridge the views were magnificent. Mount Redoubt and Bear Mountain stood out along the way.
copper ridge _Panorama3emm Copper Ridge Panorama

copper ridge 7em Storm clouds over Mount Redoubt

Reaching the end of the ridge we started down the long, seemingly endless series of switch backs towards the ford of the Chilliwack River and Indian Creek. The changes in the flora were dramatic as we descended from a bare forest floor carpeted with pine needles into a real rainforest, lush and green and wet.

The two channels are parallel for a short time here, first crossing the Chilliwack and then a short section of forested river bed we came at last to Indian Creek and behold, the salmon were there, spawning in great numbers. Taking off shoes and socks again we looked for a ideal spot to rest and relax to enjoy the wonder of the place. a gravel bar at the point of confluence between the two streams was a perfect place.

Indian Creek is not a big stream, maybe 80 feet across here as it spreads out along the valley floor and shallow, knee-deep with some nooks where the water is as deep as 3 to 5 feet.
salmon 4em Salmon in the Creek

The salmon were there, just as before. They were not headed anywhere, the group of 70 or so simply treading water, looking happy to finally be back home.

Clambering out along logs and snags I tried to capture shots of the scene. the bright color of the fish is so impressive, they seemed to hover in the sparkling clear waters, the colorful stones looking like the ground far below while the salmon soared through the sky above.

salmon 5em Flying Fish

The place is so remote, the forest envelopes you and it is like having gone back in time. Deep in that valley was like being in a different life, on a different planet.

salmon 3em Indian Creek Salmon

I bounced between standing still in wonder, trying to get some food, wanting to capture images and the strong desire to do something to take care of my aching feet. About 100 feet upstream a large brown/black bear appeared along the shore. we both froze, considering each other. As I started towards the camera a sharp noise frightened him back into the forest, my dreams of imaging the bear snacking on salmon vanished…

Sunset came swiftly. reds and blues and pinks and purples painting the waters with their fantastic hues.
salmon 2em Sunset at Indian Creek

Night brought even harsher weather than the night before. The crashing of thunder now muted by the deepness of our camp in the forest. I was again happily surprised to awaken to clearing skies and spent the next hour or so back in the stream with the salmon. Morning fog made the scene even more ethereal.
salmon1em Morning fog over Indian Creek

It was a struggle to pull away and start the long slog up to Whatcom Pass.

The suspension bridge above Indian Creek sways as you cross, the views up stream were captivating, the water coursing down in the dark green forest.
indian creek bridge em Suspension bridge over Indian Creek

waterfall 2-Recovered em Indian Creek Waterfalls
During the days travel we encountered many people: day-hikers and mountaineers, young and old(er), lost and found.  I advised one and all to make a point to take the time to go visit the salmon.

As we climbed up along Brush Creek the weather got gloomier and as we made it to the final climb at the valley head rain started. Our goal was Tapto Lakes that night, another hard 1,000 feet above the pass, but when we made it to Whatcom Camp the rains were pounding. Cold and wet we hurriedly set up the tent. Dry clothes, warm sleeping bags and hot food tend to improve the spirits quickly.

That night the storms really pounded. The tent was alight with flashes, the thunder and lightening coming simultaneously. Protected somewhat by the trees and the fact that we were a quarter mile down from the pass we lived through it, and awoke to an almost complete white out.
Mt Challenger lost in clouds Mt Challenger lost in clouds

My desire to hike another 1,000 vertical feet evaporated and I headed down the trail, back towards the Chilliwack.

Once back at the junction we’d passed the day before my path turned upstream, headed to Hannegan Pass to complete the loop. Fording the Chilliwack is now a more daunting proposition, the valley steeper and more narrow. Hikers are afforded two choices: to ford the waist-deep waters or to pull yourself across in an aerial cable-car!
Cable Car 2 em Chilliwack Cable Car

That choice was easy1 The cable car is in great shape, holding up to two backpackers (and their gear) the pulley system makes it easy to make the crossing, gliding 100 feet above the river below.

The last nights camp was at the Copper Creek camp, hoping to get a glimpse of meteors above we perched ourselves on the stones with w pie-sliced view of the heavens.
stars 1em Stars along the Chilliwack River

The last days hike up and over Hannegan Pass and back to the car was completed before lunch, the trails edge bordered with a carpet of herbaceous wildflowers.

As always my feelings are mixed at trips end: relief at the prospect of real food, a warm shower, soft bed and time off my throbbing feet but as we jump in the car for the drive back my heart is already longing for the cool, clear waters of the Chilliwack…
copper ridge Panorama1em Copper Ridge Panorama


Summer Trip Planning

June is here, snow melt is well underway and trails are opening. Here is a list of the trips I have planned for the summer. All images are from my previous trips. Contact me if you have any interest in coming along, I am always happy for more company.

Eastern Pasayten Wilderness: Iron Gate trail head – Horseshoe Basin – Tungsten Mine – Upper Cathedral Lake – Amphitheater Mountain. Mid July
This is a wonderful early summer trek, because of its eastern approach and south facing trails this hike is snow free and full of flowers early. The trek starts at more than 6,000 feet and is mostly a level trip all the way to Cathedral Lake. Horseshoe Basin, Tungsten Mine and Apex Pass are all delightful places. Upper Cathedral Basin is surrounded by Cathedral Peak and Amphitheater Mountain. It is easily one of my most favorite campsites ever. If motivated its an easy scramble up atop Amphitheater and most of the way up the western ridge to cathedral. This would ideally be a 6-7 day trip, leaving time for lolly-gagging at the basin. Total about 70 miles. Amphitheater Mountain, Boundary Trail, Pasayten Wilderness Amphitheater Mountain

Cathedral Peak, Pasayten Wilderness

Cathedral Peak, Pasayten Wilderness

North Cascades Traverse: Hannegan Pass – Silesia Camp – Chilliwack River – Whatcom Pass – Tapto Lakes – Ross Lake. Early August
I have not done this hike since 2006 it is really an incredible journey. The first nights camp atop Copper Ridge is one of the best views in the park, the next day is a short hike up to the Copper Ridge lookout and then down, past Copper Lake to the Chilliwack River. When I forded it last time it was filled with bright red salmon. Then its onward and upward to Whatcom Pass and Tapto Lakes. The usual route is to hike back down to the Chilliwack and return to Hannegan Pass, but the waterfalls on the east side of Whatcom Pass are too incredible to be missed, so the plan is to hike east from Whatcom Pass down to Ross Lake, take a water taxi back to Highway 20 and hitchhike back to town. The Perseid Meteor Shower is on August 12th. Whatcom Pass should be a wonderful place to capture some nighttime images…I am planning this as a 5 or 6 day trip, its about 50 miles RT. Chilliwack Salmon Chilliwack Salmon
Mount Challenger, North Cascades National Park Mount Challenger from Whatcom Pass

Enchantments: I have never been there before, entered the lottery and won a permit for 4 nights in October (4 people) just hoping for a good weather window and lots of bright larch! From what I can glean from the guide books you park and hike in about 8 miles and gain almost 5,000 feet of elevation to reach the Core Enchantment Area, then make a base camp and explore. That’s what my permit is for, so my plan is to start early and lug a ton of stuff in to the core area and do just that. All of the images I have seen from the Enchantments are just stunning. This is a 5 day trip. Early October

Goat Rocks: I have never been to the Goat Rocks, but the pictures of Snow Grass Flats, Cispus Basin and the rocky, exposed section of the PCT through the wilderness are spectacular. The plan is for a 5 day hike through the wilderness. I am still not sure about the exact itinerary, whether a loop or bringing two cars…or hitchhiking back to the car…45 miles in 5 days. I don’t have a concrete plan or dates, maybe a September hike?

Overnights. I am NOT a day hiker, too much effort for too little reward! I love the light in the morning and evening, so for me, its always an overnight…

Sahale Glacier Camp: The best camping site in the park. its 5.6 miles and more than 4,000 feet up, but the campsite, atop piles of scree at the base of Sahale Glacier, with turrets providing wind protection and views all the way to Mount Rainier…the closeness of this hike to where I live leaves me an option to go when ever the weather is nice, probably late July, early August when the wildflowers are abloom on Sahale Arm. Morning at Sahale Glacier Camp Camping at Sahale

Thornton Lake: Another place I’ve never visited. Easy access from Highway 20, a short hike and, from what I’ve read, close-up views of Mount Terror and the southern Picket Range. Its about 4.5 miles each way. My plan is to sort of bivouac atop Trapper Peak, but who knows!

Nooksack Cirque: New hike (for me). An easy hike along a river bed and gravel bars with spectacular views of Mount Shuksan. Mileage on this trip varies depending on how far up the gravel bar one feels like bushwhacking. But I would say about 6 to 8 miles round trip.

Park Butte Lookout: The lookout is open for anyone to spend the night (first come first serve). the views of Mount Baker and the Sisters are amazing This would be a great spot for astrophotography. The trip is about 3.5 miles, one-way. Mount Baker in the Morning Light, taken from the South on the Park Butte Trail Mt. Baker from the Park Butte Trail

There are two hikes along the Mount Baker Highway (Highway 542) that I have never done and hope to make this year:
Skyline Divide: 6 miles
Yellow Aster Butte: 8 miles

That’s it for now! Hope to meet some of you on the trail!


North Cascades NP and Tulip Festival Magnets!

I recently made the foray into magnets. I choose two of my favorite images and had them mass produced as magnets and they are now for sale!

red tulips blue and orange sky Skagit Valley Tulips

Sahale Glacier Camp Sahale Glacier Camp, North Cascades National Park

Both measure 3″ x 4″. They are printed on 30 mil flat magnets. The magnets look just like the images above.

The cost is $5.00 each.

They are available at the North Cascade Veterinary Hospital, 200 Murdock Street, Sedro-Woolley. The clinic is open from 8 to 5:30, Mon – Sat.

If you’d like to order my mail, then send me a check for $5.00 for each magnet, plus $.75 postage for each magnet.

Checks payable to: Andy Porter
mail check to: 440 Nelson Street, Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284


Horseshoe Basin, North Cascades National Park

Horseshoe Basin is one of those magical places that once you visit you will never, ever forget. Nestled on the east side of Cascade Pass it is less visited than Sahale Arm but certainly no less beautiful.

Last summer I visited the basin twice, first while headed east to Stehekin, to get some pastry, and again on the way back…

Approaching from the east one crosses Basin Creek on a small wooden bridge that is probably flown in when the snow melts…a cairn marks the crossing.
Cairn at Basin Creek Crossing

Looking up the valley one gets a hint of whats to come.
The too-numerous-to-count waterfalls stream down from the glaciers, glistening in the sun. The bowl of the basin forms a 180 degree mouth punctuated with sharp granite teeth. Blue, green, red and white, the colors are astounding.
Horseshoe Basin, North Cascades National Park

The western turn of the bowl is punctuated by Sahale Mountain and Boston Peak, standing guard.
Horseshoe Basin, Close up of Boston Peak and Sahale Mountain

These images are from August, probably the best month to go. You can find all you need to make a visit here, at the North Cascades National Park page

Happy Trails!


Mount Shuksan

mt shuksan 3
Mount Shuksan from Picture Lake


Storm King and Goode Mountain, North Cascades National Park

Storm King and Goode Mountain from Upper North Fork Bridge Creek Valley
Storm King and Goode Mountain from Upper North Fork Bridge Creek Valley


Climbers on the way up Sahale Peak

Sahale Arm Trail
Climbers on the way up Sahale Peak


Horseshoe Basin, North Cascades National Park

Horsshoe Basin
On the trail heading up to Horseshoe Basin, North Cascades National Park

Black warrior mine
Looking out of Black Warrior Mine, Horseshoe basin

Horseshoe basin down the valley
On the trail heading down from Horseshoe basin


Whatcom Peak and Mount Challenger from Copper Ridge, North Cascades National Park

Whatcom Peak, North Cascades NP
Whatcom Peak and Mount Challenger from Copper Ridge, North Cascades National Park
Easy Ridge in the foreground and Luna Peak on the left…


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