Category Archives: National Parks

Sifford Lake – Lassen NP

Well, yesterday afternoon I decided I better get in at least one more good hike on my week off.  On both of my visits to Kings Creek Falls I’ve seen a sign for Sifford Lake so I figured I’d go take a look.  This is another fairly mellow hike with only some mildly rolling terrain.  Like many of the hikes in the park, it has quite a diversity of scenery in a fairly short distance (this one is about 5 miles round trip)… 20160805_Sifford Lake Hike_Blog_008

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This little dude decided to strike a pose for me on the way in so I figured the least I could do was snap a shot…
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The lake itself sits over a little rise…
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It is a fairly small body, I’d say a scant acre in size…
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Like the trip to the falls, this one starts and ends along Kings Creek…20160805_Sifford Lake Hike_Blog_014

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The park folks made a neat little bridge to keep your feet dry..20160805_Sifford Lake Hike_Blog_010

On the way in I noted that the compass said the mountain was due east of this spot…20160805_Sifford Lake Hike_Blog_011

So, I figured it would be as good of place as any to see if there was a sunset.   The clouds really didn’t cooperate and, after several attempts in post processing, i still don’t have an image I like.  This is one attempt and it came out sort of ok, if you like the “painterly” look…20160805_Sifford Lake Hike_Blog_012

All in all, it was a great way to get some exercise and see some of God’s country!

 

 

Kings Creek Falls – An Evening Stroll

Well, the plan yesterday WAS to go hike to the Sierra Buttes Lookout with my daughter.  Unfortunately, life happens and she had to postpone.  Hopefully that epic hike will happen before the summer is out.  Needing a Plan B to get some “nature therapy,” and not having a great deal of time, I decided to hike into Kings Creek Falls in Lassen Park.  It is one of my favorite places in the park and I wasn’t super pleased with the last photos I took there.

I’m going to employ a little “artistic license” with this post.  I wanted to make sure to get there in time to set up the camera so I took no photos on the hike TO the falls.  However, it would seem a bit anti-climactic if I put the falls pics ahead of the trail pics so I’m going to put the shots of the hike OUT before the main subject…

The trail-head starts right next to Kings Creek, which you cross at a pretty little meadow if you’re coming from the south (SR36) entrance…
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It is definitely a pretty walk with very diverse landscapes considering it is only a couple miles…20160801_2016-8.1_Kings Creek Falls_Blog_014

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I call this the “falls before the falls.”  Just a pretty little spot on the creek…20160801_2016-8.1_Kings Creek Falls_Blog_002

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The park folks are doing alot of work to this area.  Indeed, the most direct trail to the falls is closed until 2018.  One has to hike around on the “horse trail” to get to the falls.  It is a bit longer but quite scenic. When I was here 2 years ago there was an ugly old metal railing.  Looks like they have spruced it up a bit…20160801_2016-8.1_Kings Creek Falls_Blog_007

Ok, I guess it is about time to “land the plane” before this post gets too long.  I think this is one of the prettiest waterfalls in northern California.  Some day I hope to get truly excellent photos of it!  To make that happen I think I’ll have to hike in in the early morning dark and shoot it in the golden light of the morning sun.  In the evenings, the sun is low and behind the falls making it hard for me to properly expose the falls without turning the sky into an ugly white mass.  However, these shots illustrate the splendor of the place fairly well…

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(As always, clicking any image above will allow you to view it larger)

 

2016 Montana Trip – Part 2 (Glacier)

On the morning of July 13, I got up and drove into Glacier National Park.  My plan was to launch my kayak at the north end of Lake McDonald, which sits just inside the west entrance, and fish for a bit before taking a drive.  However, the spot I planned to launch on the north end of the  lake was out of the question due to higher water than I expected to see in McDonald Creek.  I didn’t want to double back to the boat ramp at the south end so I just drove on, hoping to perhaps launch in Saint Mary Lake but the winds were too high once I got there so the kayak stayed atop the car (probably owing to the downpour that kept me awake in my tent all night as well). I did snap a few shots at McDonald falls just above the lake though.  It is difficult to access to photograph in its entirety but I did what I could.

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There is lots of moving water in the park.  As you might expect though most of the examples near the road are quite crowded at times…

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The Going to the Sun Road is the main drive through the park…according to the sign it is a nice drive…

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According to THIS sign there is a mountain in there somewhere (Going to the Sun Road was Going to the Clouds Road on this particular day)…

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Just your basic roadside waterfall…

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Just a few more views from the roadside…

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Last but not least, as I mentioned, that kayak never left the roof while I was in the park.  However, I DID get the bright idea to use it as a camera mount as I drove through the park.  The video below is the result.  I ended up having about 2 hours of footage so I trimmed it down and tried to sort of “time lapse” through some of it which got it down to a shade over 22 minutes.  Footage from a cheap action camera can’t do justice to the sheer splendor of the place but it gives a rough idea to anyone who hasn’t seen it.  Watch as much or as little as you’d like…

 

Gila Cliff Dwellings – April 5, 2016

My cousin Roseanne and I took a drive from Deming up to the Gila Cliff Dwellings this past Tuesday.  I’m not super happy with the way the photos turned out but it was a fun little day trip.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and 3 Questions Cafe and Living Harvest Bakery in Mimbres is a great place to get a hearty one.  It is run by the local Mennonite clan who serve up a small but very tasty breakfast buffet for $6.50.  Of course, with all the baked goods and their wonderful “Jammly” (not jam, not jelly; jammly…lol) for sale, my $6.50 breakfast ran me a touch over 60 bucks…

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The visitor center at the park.  We got there just at opening time of 9AM….

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The first thing that caught my eye upon entering the park is the really cool rock formations…

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The first view of the dwellings on the way up the trail….

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The park service keeps the trail in very good shape for easy access…

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The Mogollon folks were definitely industrious…

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Genuine native American first aid kits inside…

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Another look at all the construction that was done.  It was tough to really capture it, even with my camera lens as wide as it could go…

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A room with a view…

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My cuz and I gettin’ the necessary touristy selfie shot before heading down the mountain…

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First step’s a honey if you continue this direction.  I found it a touch sad they felt the need to post this sign…

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