I finally got to tick off a park that has long been on my bucket list, Cathedral Lakes Provincial Park. We had planned to go earlier in the summer and had paid and reserved our ride up but cancelled at the last minute because of all the smoke from forest fires in the area. Instead we went to Manning Park and had a great 3 day backpack with only a bit of smoky views the first day which cleared up nicely for the rest of the trip.
As it was getting near the end of summer, and we still wanted to go to Cathedral, we decided to head up last week. Smoke reports were pretty low and lodge staff said weather up in the park was great. So off we went on Sunday to go up on the 4PM shuttle figuring smoke wasn’t going to be in the picture. WRONG!
It was interesting just how the smoke behaved. It was coming up from Washington state fires and would come in during the day. Then the winds would die down and we would have perfectly clear skies to star gaze at night. Early mornings would look clear blue skies and then the wind would start to pick up and the smoke would move in.
We had planned 3 nights camping and coming back mid-afternoon on day 4. And that’s what we did, with a little “wrinkle”. We had reserved our ride out for the 3:30 shuttle but due to the smoke, it turned out that the park was told to evacuate everyone on that day. So we all headed down on the 1 PM shuttle, a couple of hours early.
Still, we got in some great hiking and interesting views. The smoky skies combined with all the dead spruce from the spruce bark beetle kill made for some very other-worldly landscapes. We felt like we could be on another planet, definitely not in BC!
I really enjoyed looking at the stars while falling asleep on Sunday night. We left the rainfly off the tent and had a clear view through the bug netting. Monday was our first and most strenuous day of hiking. Got up and had a leisurely camp breakfast. Lake of the Woods looked lovely. (Many of these photos are large panoramic stitches and you’ll only get the full meal deal if you click on them to view!)
Didn’t see any smoke yet. Plan for the day was to hike to Ladyslipper Lake and then up to the Rim, entering at Stone City. Here’s a map of the park and the core area. It was only a 250 metre climb to the Lake but we noticed that our energy was lower than usual. Well, the park and Lake of the Woods is at 2000 metres elevation so that might have had something to do with it!
Here we are coming down into Ladyslipper Lake.
For some reason, I got the map turned around in my head and when we got to the lake, we headed off along the North shore to the West end of the lake. Lots of people at the lake fishing and swimming.
We considered trying to make our way up to the rim through that terrain you’re looking at and decided not to. Retraced our way back to where we turned right and should have turned left and around and up we went. A view on the way back.
It was a pretty hot day and we started up the trail to the rim. We stopped to eat on the way up.
After eating, headed back onto the trail. Here we are almost up on the rim.
And you can see that the skies are no longer blue but the wind is now bringing the smoke up. Notice how much darker it is on the right than the left!
Finally made it to Stone City.
Star Trek or other space movies would have had a great time filming up here!
From Stone City we wandered Northwards along the rim to the Devil’s Woodpile. Love the orange lichens and other vegetation.
We’re now at about 2400 metres elevation
We loved this beautiful wide bench meadow. The colours are just so understated and subtle. And the smoke made it look so other worldly.
S standing on top of the Devil’s Woodpile
From here we continued along the rim to the trail down to Glacier Lake
The trail down to Glacier Lake. It was much more friendly than the trail up from Ladyslipper Lake and is the way most people get up on the rim if they leave from the lodge.
Another view of Pyramid Mountain as we head back down. Notice the sharp division between the smoky sky and not so smoky sky, and the colour of the sun, the white dot at the upper right in the smoke. To our eyes, it was actually a glowing red ball. Don’t quite know why it didn’t come out that way in the photo. Something to do with what lenses see vs what eyes see.
It was a full day of hiking. You can see the stats from my watch, here. Once back at camp, we relaxed, did a bit of swimming in Lake of the Woods to get the sweat off and really enjoyed eating our dinner.
Stay tuned for Day 2, coming your way in the not too distant future.
I’ve always wondered just where I “fit” photographically. There are so many superb picture takers and image makers out there. And I have been inspired by all of them.
Recently, I realized what I really like to shoot. First and foremost, I’m a landscape photographer. I love shooting macros too, but taking pictures of people, NOT! I can do it, just doesn’t churn my butter, as they say.
After many years of shooting landscapes, I realized what I really liked doing, and was pretty good at, was putting together panoramas. I seem to have an eye for just what needs to be in there to make it both a big picture and still retain all the elements that make a photo interesting.
So, expect to see lots of panoramas of places I have been. And I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Here’s a couple from our trip to Quadra Island this past July.
After a lovely night’s rest and breakfast at our BnB in Brookings, we headed down to the Harris Beach State Park there and spent some time just walking around. Here’s a few photos from the park.
After getting our fill of the the wonderful ocean scenery and basically having the park to ourselves, we headed back out on the highway to our next stop, Pistol River State Scenic Viewpoint. From the map, it looked like it might be an interesting spot and lo and behold, when we got to it we were pleasantly surprised to see that it had dunes. Now this might not seem like a big deal to a lot of people but J had never seen dunes before and she was ecstatic!! She’d always wanted to see dunes but somehow, had never had the good fortune to run across any on the beaches she had been to. So, of course, we wandered in amongst the dunes for a while and spent some time on the beach just enjoying watching waves.
Again, we were the only ones there! I guess there’s some benefits, especially to a landscape photographer like I am, to go off season in crappy weather. No one around to get in the way of the scenery except my favourite model 🙂
Back in the car and up the road a piece to another pullout where I took this pic looking North.
Our next was for lunch at the Redfish in Port Orford.
Lovely lunch with some great views there too.
Having achieved a pleasant state of satiety, we meandered back to the car and headed on up the road again to what was our penultimate stop along the way, Cape Blanco State Park. Cape Blanco is the Westernmost point in Oregon and the contingual United States, and contains the Southernmost Lighthouse in Oregon. All fine reasons to stop there! What they don’t tell you about is the strength of the wind there! WhoooBoy….! J was afeared to leave the car. I got out and took a bunch of photos; hey that’s what I do, and I jumped straight up to land about foot back of where I launched myself from. There was a guy in a convertible with the top down and all the windows up just enjoying the views and eating a sandwich. Said he often comes to enjoy the scenery and wind.
From here we headed up to Bandon where we stopped at the renowned Face Rock Creamery to pick up some cheese and have a heavenly ice cream 🙂 We never actually visited the Face Rock but there’s lots of pics on the web of it.
From here, it was head up to Reedsport to pick up Rt 38 back to I-5. Rt 38 turned out to be a lovely road along the river and through the hills. Did I mention that we saw sheep in Oregon. And Elk. Lots of both!
Once we got to I-5, we headed up to Portland to stay with a friend of J’s that’s she’s known forever. Had a pizza dinner, conversation, crashed and were on the road again the next morning. Our last stop was a food court in the Alderwood Mall because I decided to get the pack after all!
And then back home. Boy, were we glad to be back home in our own bed that night. We had a great trip and loved all the crazy ups and downs and beautiful places and trees we saw but there’s nothing like coming home after a trip to your own bed! And on that note, I’ll say amen and leave you all in peace until I decide to write about something else.