Night Sky Images at Winchester Lookout

The Winchester Mountain Fire Lookout is located in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, along the Mount Baker Highway. This is one of the few remaining lookouts in Washington. Most of them were removed, but several are now maintained by local alpine clubs. The Mt Baker Club does a fantastic job of caring for and maintaining the Winchester lookout, you can donate to their efforts here.

During the summer the lookout is open to the public, you can day hike up and spend the day there, or if you’re inclined, you can spend the night. There are no reservations, its first come, you got it for the night. If you hike up and the lookout of already claimed for the night there is plenty of flat space nearby where you can pitch a tent.

I have hiked up and spent the night atop Winchester Mountain 5 times, three of those trips I slept in the lookout, and 2 times I camped in my tent. Basically, if you want to sleep in the lookout, go on the weekdays and go very early. And bring a tent or a bivvy sack just in case! Oh yes, and bring all your water, there is none there, nor along the hike.

The view from the lookout is unbelievable.

As you can imagine the night sky views are fantastic. To the south and east the darkness is almost complete. The western horizon is aglow in the direction of Vancouver to the north, Bellingham to the west and Skagit Valley south.

These 4 images were taken during the same evening. Check out the green aurora glow!

During the same night, a view of Mount Larrabee from Winchester.

Here is one more for good measure. Good luck and happy shooting! I may see yo there.

If you’re interested, Night Sky Photo Tours are available, you can find out more here. 

Silesia Camp and Copper Ridge, North Cascades National Park

The North Cascades National Park turns 50 this year! Learn more about its history here.

This is the 4th post in a series highlighting spectacular places in the North Cascades National Park. You can access earlier posts here.

Silesia Camp is located along Copper Ridge in the northern section of the North Cascades National Park.

You can hike there in one day, access is from the Hannegan Pass trail head. You must have a permit to camp there. Details here.

There are few camp sites with a better view then Silesia Camp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lake Chelan

Lake Chelan in eastern Washington is a wonderfully friendly and scenic space. At the south end of the lake sits the resort town of Chelan. Here are a few images of sunset from the hills above Chelan, from last weekend.

The local area is filled with orchards and wineries, spring is a wonderful time for a visit. Chelan is part of the Cascade Loop, so you can get all sorts of info for your trip at the Cascade Loop page.

Washington Pass Overlook, North Cascades Highway

The Washington Pass Overlook, North Cascades Highway is one of those places I most always stop when I drive along the North Cascades Highway.

Most Overlooks are a one time deal, once you’ve seen it, no need to go back!

Um…. not the case here.

The Washington Pass Overlook is one of the most scenic spots along the entire Cascade Loop Scenic Highway. Crossing the North Cascades at Washington Pass and Stevens Pass, the Cascade Loop is one of the most scenic highways in the Lower 48!

The Washington Pass Overlook, North Cascades Highway is in the Okanagon National Forest, and maintained out of the office down in Winthrop. The Overlook is well marked, and the parking area is about 1/4 mile off the highway. There is ample parking, several rest rooms and some lights. There is a 200 yard paved path to the overlook, and lots of railings preventing a plunge.

Night sky imaging, where you capture images of the Milky Way, only works well where you can escape the ambient lights from what passes for our civilization. Here are a few images from my many night time visits! This is one of the locations for the Drive-In Night Sky North Cascades Photo Tours.

The North Cascades Highway closes each winter, usually in November and opens near the end of May. I am always excited for its reopening each spring and eager to visit again.

Sauk Mountain Wildflowers

Sauk Mountain Wildflowers start blooming in July. Exactly when in July varies from year to year depending upon how much snow accumulated from the winter and how warm the spring.

Getting there is easy.

As soon as you leave the parking lot the trail is fringed with flowers. The first long, easy switch backs afford views out along the river and up, following the zig zag of trail to the top.

Along the way views of Mount Baker appear.

Rounding the shoulder of the mountain Sauk Lake comes into view and a trail leading to its shores. Lilies, Columbine, Lupine and more carpet the meadows.

I try to get up there several times each year. These images are from an overnight visit in July 2017.

Day Hike and Overnight Photo Tours are available here!

Waiting for sunset is  pleasure. The warm glow of late afternoon light envelops us.

The next morning’s light invites us to linger a while.

Five National Parks: Images from 2018

As I started to review images from this year, the theme of “National Parks” kept coming to me. So here are some of my best images from 5 National Parks this year…

Zion National Park

I visited Zion NP for the 4th time, always a marvel…

Here is an image from a new place, for me: Double Alcove Arch!

And for those who have not heard of the Subway…

“The Subway”, Zion National Park

The Subway, Zion National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

They say the night skies at Bryce are magical…they say right! This is from a short 2 day trip to Bryce in April…

Milky Way, Bryce Canyon National Park

 

North Cascades National Park

I have visited this park more than all others combined. I made the boat ride this year to Hozomeen, along the shores of Ross Lake near the Canada Border, and spent a night at Hozomeen Lake…

Hozomeen Lake, North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park turns 50 in 2018! Here is a link to a wonderful new book, by Lauren Danner, “Crown Jewel Wilderness: Creating North Cascades National Park” which chronicles the efforts of many to create NCNP.

And a shout out to my all time favorite camping place, Sahale Glacier Camp.

Sahale Glacier Camp, North Cascades National Park

 

Olympic National Park

My only trip this year, out west to the Olympic NP was back in February… as always dreaming of my return…

Sea Stacks at Point of the Arches, Olympic National park

 

Yellowstone National Park

I just returned from a Christmas trip to Yellowstone…Cold, crisp mornings, with no one about…I am still digesting the wonder of the place…

Oh, and here is my favorite image from 2017:

Winchester Lookout and the Aurora Borealis, North Cascades

Star Trails above Winchester Lookout, Northern Lights on the horizon

To purchase prints, here is the link.

For information on North Cascades Photo Tours, this is the place!

And, 2018 Calendars are still available! Get them while they last!.

Christmas in Yellowstone

I spent 5 nights at Yellowstone, 3 at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge and 2 nights at Mammoth Springs.

Here are a few images.