Sunrise. The place, not the time of day, since we actually arrived for a hike in during sunset. Teague was joining me on this photography adventure once again! Leaving the parking lot, the hike took us through a large meadow behind the lodges and up the ridge. It was steep, but it was nowhere near as steep as the hike in Paradise.
At the fork in the road, we went left towards Mt. Rainier itself. A second valley on the right is another location I would love to explore at another time. We even found a route down, but we decided against. Continuing the hike, we noticed a bear down in the valley wandering around in a clearing. It was a good 500+ feet below us, but we knew from that point on there were bears in the area.
We had decided our first location to scout out was Frozen Lake as the name sounded promising. What we found was a reservoir that didn’t offer a scene we were that interested in. So, we continued onwards up the mountain. At this point, we were above all of the trees and were surrounded by a rocky and barren landscape. The First Burroughs Mountain is 7000 ft. tall completely flat on top which was a really bizarre sight, and a small saddle connects it and the Second Burroughs Mountain which stands 400 ft. taller. After climbing up to almost 7500 ft. it was rapidly nearing sunset. We caught a few glimpses of Mt. Rainier on the hike up, but got completely clouded in by the time we reached the top of the Second Burroughs Mountain.
Sunset was coming quickly, which also meant darkness would creep in soon afterwards. With a bear in the area, and it also being prime hunting time for cougars, we decided to call it quits on the location and hope for something to present itself on the hike down. We were still 2 miles from the parking lot! While being clouded in on the hike down, we were surrounded by a sunset. We got to experience a unique situation of a sunset shot inside of a cloud with the colors gradually transitioning across the entire spectrum from the warm to cool tones. I shot a few images of this which I think turned out pretty neat!
We only got down to the base of the First Burroughs Mountain when we came across another photographer heading up the mountain alone. Nobody wanted to give up on capturing some kind of image. Plus, a group of 3 made a team! We decided to go up to the top of the First Burroughs Mountain to see if the could be any kind of image of the mountain that didn’t include a ton of clouds fogging us in.
The clouds actually parted for a moment allowing us to see part of the valley below. An outcropping in the rock ended up being the perfect spot to shoot some silhouetted adventure images. These I think ended up being the best images of the day. Perhaps a bit of foreshadowing, we never got anything of Mt. Rainier that night. We were clouded in almost the rest of the time we spent there.
Wepacked our gear up and headed down the mountain. Occasionally we would check to see if the stars were visible, but with no luck. The fog did make for a very creepy hike down especially with wildlife being active in the area. With three people making plenty of noise we didn’t see anything the whole way back.