A few years back, we made a trip across the North Cascades Highway and back across Stevens Pass. One of the stops on that route was Chelan Falls. I was hoping to get photos of the falls but they were hard to see and the sun was backlighting them anyway. I still had a post about it but there wasn’t a huge amount to show for it. Work recently took me to Chelan and I figured I would try finding another view on the falls after the conference day was done.
Looking at Google Maps, there was a road that ran alongside the gorge that the river was flowing through. This road was confusingly named Gorge Road! It was not a paved road but it was actually a very smooth dirt surface. What was more intimidating about it was that it had some very steep drop-offs at the edge with a long drop below them!
I was able to see some of the river areas from the road but, being so far above it, meant things were rather distant. I could also get an oblique view of the lower falls and the bridge across them. It was a lovely sunny late afternoon so a nice time to be out and about with the camera. It was also a bit warmer than on our side of the mountains so a good time to explore.
The hotel where my conference was taking place was down by the bottom of the lake in Chelan. I decided to have a stroll one evening and, as soon as I came out of the hotel, I saw signs for a Riverwalk. It wasn’t a long walk but it took me down one side of the river, over a bridge, back up the other side and then another bridge back to where I had started. There were a few people out and about but it was still pretty quiet.
There was a small park area along the river with a pavilion. I’m not sure what sort of events they hold there in the peak season but it would seem like a nice spot to hang out and watch performers doing their thing. They also had some elevated boardwalk sections. With the water level so low, these were a long way above the water but I imagine they are quite close when the water is at its peak.
They had installed some art work along one side of the river. There was a sculpture about wolves and salmon which related to Native American stories of why the lake doesn’t have salmon. They also had boards of the bodies in the solar system spaced out along the river in proportion to their distance from the sun. I imagine the whole area gets very busy during the summer but it was a nice spot to stroll while visiting in March!
Tokul Creek Gorge is the waterway that runs under the trestle at Tokul. With the heavy rains that had been falling in advance of my visit, the creek was flowing heavily. The trestle is a long way above the water so it was not easy to get a good look at it but I did try and get some shots. I also had a go at getting some video.
After a visit to a shop in Renton, I stopped by the airport to see what was going on. I was taking a walk along the trail alongside the Cedar River that runs parallel to the runway. As I headed back to the car, I heard a noisy bird making its presence felt. Looking up at a power line across the water, there was an osprey a short distance away. I didn’t have anything other than my phone with me so went back to the car to grab a long lens and to see if it would wait around for me.
Sadly, it didn’t appreciate the situation and had gone by the time I returned. However, the river was not empty. Tons of swallows were swooping along its length feasting on the bugs above the water. Looking along the river towards the bridge from the Boeing ramp, you could see loads of them at work. Getting photos of swallows is not easy. They move very fast and do not hold course for long so getting a track on them with a long lens and keeping it is tough. The 500mm is a challenge for this but it is what I had.
There were tons of failures but you don’t get to see these. I was surprised how often I managed to track one and that the camera did a really great job of getting a focus. There was a little predictability of the flight paths which did help but, even so, I was rather pleased with the results. Also, given that these are still heavily cropped, to get this sharp was quite a result.
Back to our trip to Orcas Island and our hike around Cascades Lake included a diversion to Cascade Falls. (See a naming theme here?). I had seen something about these falls online which had led me to think that they weren’t terribly large. I was, therefore, rather surprised to find out that this was a decent drop. We came in from the top of the falls so were looking down on them from above. The trail continues along the river and so we got to take a look at them from lower down as we continued on. They was a side trail that would take you right down to the water but we had a fair bit of walking to do before it got too dark so I avoided the diversion this time.
On the way in to Leavenworth, I took a side street looking for a good parking option. As we drove along this road, it took us close to the river and a sign for the waterfront park. I had no idea about this park previously so we decided to check it out after walking through the town for a while. Turns out it is a great set of trails that run along the river. There are a couple of islands with bridges between them connecting everything together to make the park.
Each of the islands has a choice of trails so you don’t have to go out and back but can vary your route. The ground was a bit icy underfoot in places but generally it was clear and plenty of people were out enjoying the views. The river is to the south of the park while there are inlets around the islands formed as the water constantly changes the landscape. There were also signs talking about the history of the area. A stretch of wooden piles were arrayed out in to the river at what I assume was once a loading pier. The lumber business was once dominant in the area.
Having made our first stop at Lake Wenatchee State Park, we continued on in the direction of Leavenworth. The highway takes you down a river valley with the Wenatchee River at its core. This is a pretty drive at any time of year and the many pull offs are often filled with people stopping off the enjoy the view. A colder fall day meant it was slightly less busy but it also meant deeper shadows. Still, there were plenty of people enjoying the scenery, even if they weren’t getting out of the cars for too long.
Having written about whether HDR is still worthwhile in a recent post, the shaded valley was something that I figured was still possibly needing a technique that could handle a wide dynamic range. Other spots were still in open light and were an easier bet. The difficulty of a valley like this is communicating the feeling within the rocky walls. Wider lenses allow you to show more of the scene but they also diminish the scale and I find it hard to give the impression you get when actually there. I actually spent some time with a longer lens picking out details of the scenes rather than the whole thing but I wasn’t going to give up on that completely.
My bike rides along the Sammammish River Trail in recent months have involved a diversion. Part of the trail passing through Bothell had been shut down. It took me a while to work out why but, one day, while driving through the town and past the park, I saw a new bridge structure sitting in the park awaiting installation. The old bridge had been pretty steep and unwelcoming so this was a positive change.
I would really have liked to have been around when the new bridge was installed but I didn’t know about it until it had been done and that I found from the trail reopening. The bridge is not yet open for foot and bike traffic as they finalize the installations at each end but it certainly looks nice and I stopped on a recent ride to get a couple of shots of it. Hopefully it will be open soon.
I made a bit of a road trip recently. I decided a day off work was in order and I had some aviation themed things I wanted to see so I set out early. My first stop was in a town called Brewster. The airport in Brewster is up on a bluff above the Okanogan River where it merges with the Columbia River. On a sunny August day, the view across the river was really nice. An island under the bluff provided some interest and the view across the wider section of river to the opposite bank was very nice.
There were plenty of boats on the river. It looked like they were busy fishing as everyone seemed to be in formation across the width of the river. I assume it was fishing that they had in mind but don’t know for certain. A tranquil spot for sure. A house on the waterfront would look appealing but it is a serious hike to get there from any centers of population so I doubt I will be contemplating moving anytime.
I’ve been catching up on some video editing while stuck indoors. During the Christmas break, mum and I took a walk along the Sammamish River. There were lots of geese floating downstream and they were busy washing themselves. This involved a lot of flapping and inverting themselves in the river. Of course, when I got close, they stopped doing it while their buddies further downstream seemed to be busy washing. I did finally get some footage of it so here is a short video of geese! Bet that’s just what you wanted to see today!