Another Twin Falls

Twin Falls from below – an hour earlier we were standing at the top, peering cautiously over the cliff.

The more I’ve looked at this photo, the more I’ve decided I like it. At first I thought it was too dark but actually I like the shadows now and the shot feels realistic, maybe even authentic (to use an over-used word). It’s a pity Instagram limits the photo size – it looks much more impressive on a large screen, although admittedly not as impressive as being there in person. It’s a spectacular waterfall, in a valley lined with spectacular waterfalls!

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Mt Septimus

A floral path points to Mt Septimus

Along the final approach to Cream Lake we had this view ahead of us the whole time. The hike passed many small ponds and tarns which were just begging to be used for lovely reflection shots, but alas the breeze was enough to always ripple the surface. So I had to make do with a bed of pink mountain heather instead. Life’s tough, eh?

The back of the Yak

Gorgeous Yak Peak from a nearby bump we called the Naklet. Sitting at the summit with our feet over the edge wasn’t as scary as it looks.

On Monday of this week I went out with a Wanderung group to Yak Peak. I’ve not been particularly drawn to this hike before because its stats match those of the Grouse Grind: 850 m elevation gain over about 3 km. But this hike couldn’t be further from the Grind, and I must admit I enjoyed pretty much every step along the way. It was an excellent hike. Sure, it’s short and steep, and it starts off with 15 minutes of walking alongside a busy highway, but the scenery is stupendous, the climb was never boring, and the terrain just invited further exploration. So that’s what we have to do next time: get up and explore some more. A fantastic day out!

Happy Birthday NPS!

Happy 100th Birthday to the US’ National Park Service. It’s been a pleasure to meet your parks! 🙂 This is El Capitan of course, and another throwback Thursday shot to May 2003.

A real throwback picture this time, taken in May 2003 with our first digital camera. We’d taken advantage of my final trip to Hat Creek in northern California and had a week’s holiday in and around the Sierras, taking in Yosemite, King’s Canyon, Sequoia, and Death Valley national parks. We instantly fell in love with the area, though our exploration options were limited by time and weather (it was still pretty snowy in the mountains). But it was quite something to see such famous scenery with our own eyes, especially El Capitan and Half Dome. We need to go back and explore some more…

Tranquil lake

Another throwback-Thursday shot from 2011 – enjoying the view over Tenquille Lake and over towards the next day’s destination, Mt McLeod.

Tenquille Lake had been on our to-go list for years but we knew the road required a high-clearance (and possibly 4×4) vehicle. In June 2011 we bought a 1999 Honda CR-V and this was the first trip where we tried out its capabilities. Mostly it passed with flying colours though fully loaded with 5 hikers and overnight gear it struggled in a couple of places. We bottomed out in a couple of spots, and I needed to be a little bit aggressive in one section to get the car over a rough bit but it was so satisfying to make it to the trailhead alongside some bigger SUVs and pickups.

Most of all I still remember the feeling of getting through that first water bar… I think we all cheered!

The joys of camping…

Another photo from the weekend’s beautiful sunrise on Golden Ears. A spectacular place to camp but some people really need to learn that their voices carry way beyond their tent, and that yelling to your buds at 5 am is just not cool. Check out this week’s Leave No Trace Tuesday tip from @happiestoutdoors about being considerate of others in the backcountry.

I love spending time in the backcountry, and one of the things that appeals to me is the peace and quiet. It seems natural that leaving the city behind means leaving city attitudes behind as well (though I must admit, I’d like it if city folk could be a little more courteous of their fellow city-dwellers).

Historically, most of the people venturing into the backcountry were people who really wanted to be there for its own sake. My impression – and this could just be the curmudgeonly view of someone getting older! – is that there is now a significant number of (young) people going into the backcountry because it’s cool to do so. They don’t really love it, they’re not there to leave behind the busyness of life, they’re ticking a box, trying to impress their friends and get that ultimate sick Instagram shot.

I suspect most of them will grow out of hiking, taking up alternative pursuits in the process, and of course it’s not my place to say they shouldn’t be allowed in the backcountry. After all, the more people who get out and hike, the more people there will be who think there is value in protecting those areas. But I do feel that people venturing into an environment should go in with a view of adopting the existing traditions and attitudes, kind of like seeing how things are done before making your mark. Is it too much to ask for a little more respect and humility?

Golden mornings

Edge Peak and Golden Ears summit in early morning light, with the waning moon still hanging in the sky

One of the prime reasons for hauling our camping gear up onto this ridge is to enjoy the sunset once night and the sunrise the following morning. I crawled out of the tent a few minutes before the sun poked over the eastern mountains and set about exploring the ridge for the best photo-ops. I particularly liked this view of both Edge Peak and Golden Ears summit, which I could just fit into the frame with the ultra-wide angle lens on Maria’s camera. And to have the moon hanging over Golden Ears in the clear morning sky was just perfect.