Night hike of Granite Tors

Earlier this summer three friends and I took advantage of Alaska’s 24-hour daylight to night hike Granite Tors in the Chena River State Recreation Area.

We started aaround 8:30 p.m. and finished the 15-mile loop trail around 3 a.m. We ran as much as possible of the challenging trail and took one or two snack breaks.

Two benefits are immediately noticeable when night hiking. Catching spectacular sunsets and avoiding scorching mid-day heat.

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Moss on Mt. Rainier

Above: A small stream snakes through vibrant green moss on Mt. Rainier in Washington state. The picture reminds me how alive and diverse the mountain is, from the thunderous cracks and groans of enormous glaciers to the smallest bubbling stream sustaining a secluded ecosystem. The picture is a rough scan of color positive film, shot on Hasselblad.

Angle Rocks in spring and fall

Above: Sun shines on a granite tor of Angle Rocks and trees in golden fall colors, to the right the Chena River snakes through a valley cast in shadows. September 11, 2014.

Angle Rocks is almost assuredly the most popular hiking spot near Fairbanks. It’s a 3.5-mile loop in the Chena River State Recreation Area, about 45 miles from Fairbanks, that takes trekkers through and around a variety of tors formed from granite.

The tors were formed hundreds of millions of years ago when magma bubbled up from the Earth’s mantel, but failed break through the ground. They then slowly become revealed as erosion striped the surrounding land, exposing the giant rocks.

I hiked Angle Rocks twice this summer, once in spring and once in fall. Both seasons provided fantastic and vibrant colors. The cool and calm spring greens and the energetic and exciting gold of fall.

Mittenwald, Bavaria: Waterfall and More Mountains

Above: A canyon with cool-blue water cuts through the mountains surrounding Mittenwald, Bavaria. Photographed August 7, 2013.

A long day of hiking is guaranteed to make one sore. One way to loosen up is another hike – this time to a swimming pool under a waterfall. A bike ride and a 30 minute trek up a stream bed led to the pool. The water was not warm, but greatly refreshed achy muscles.

A natural shower and a swimming pool to play in outside near the village of Mittenwald, Bavaria.

A natural shower and a swimming pool to play in outside near the village of Mittenwald, Bavaria.

The stream bed alone was gorgeous, with teal water, smooth stone and tall canyon walls. 

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Cool blue canyon.

The road between Mittenwald and the stream and waterfall is occupied with farmland. The return trip at sunset gave me a few great photographic opportunities.

Farmers enjoy mountain views at sunset while driving a tractor.

Farmers enjoy mountain views at sunset while driving a tractor.

Faded German signs, a biker and mountain ranges.

Faded German signs, a biker and mountain ranges.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Mt. Rainier Horizions.

Above: A riverbed in late fall offers little more then a creek winding into Mt. Rainier.

The horizon, like the end of a rainbow, is unreachable. Constantly changing – expanding and contracting, becoming more open or more obscured. Horizons inspire adventures and dreams, spawn stunning sunsets and create wonders. 

Horizon is also the weekly photo challenge. 

Paradise, located 5,400 feet up Washington’s Mt. Rainer, can supply spectacular views. As well as keep them completely hidden. I got a taste of both possibilities hiking there August, 2012. 

Clouds lift, if only for a moment, to reveal a expansive view.

Clouds lift, if only for a moment, to reveal a expansive view.

This time clouds descended to create a more abstract horizon line.

This time clouds descended to create a more abstract horizon line.

Again clouds create the horizon, no panorama today.

Again clouds create the horizon, no panorama today. Panorama Point, elevation 6,800 feet. 

May Skiing and a Dog

I received a comment from a viewer that there’s overlapping issues when they view my site on Internet Explorer, has anyone else witnessed this or anything similar?

Over the next few days I’ll be featuring some of my favorite images from skiing and snowboarding last winter.

There has been a few good opportunities to snowboard this May, both at Skiland and backcountry. A group of friends and myself took a trip to a local south-facing slope and did a little hiking. What I really like about this series of two pictures: they’re two photos of only eight I took, one frame after the other. It’s just a good feeling, not shooting heavy, but getting a few strong images.  I like the first photo because of the scale, two small hikers and an expansive horizon. The three main elements and the triangular composition of the second picture are simple, but pleasing to the eye.

Russle Walker, foreground, and Nick Konefal work back up the hill, May 9, 2013.

Russle Walker, foreground, and Nick Konefal work back up the hill, May 9, 2013.

A dog watches the road

A dog watches the road

Sporting Thursday: Rattlesnake Ridge in Snoqualmie, Washington.

On a beautiful, sunny, Easter Sunday, people thronged to Rattlesnake Mountain Scenic Area so they could relax, sun, and ascend Rattlesnake Ridge. Nestled in the foothills of Washington’s Cascades, just outside Snoqualmie, Rattlesnake Ridge is a is a solid hike, gaining roughly 2000 ft. of elevation in 2 miles.

The trail was packed. Without any attempt at counting adventurers, the number easily surpassed 100. I would estimate closer to 300, over a small portion of the day. A few larger groups appeared to be in double digits. After a long, rainy winter in Washington, people want to play.

For those interested the climb includes some slightly harrowing overlooks. Deaths are not unheard of, one as recently as  2012, according to the Issaquah Reporter.

Thankfully there were no reports of accidents on my trip.

Hikers enjoy the view, share photos, and make a mess and dogs roam at Rattlesnake Ridge.

Hikers enjoy the view, share photos, and make a mess while dogs roam at Rattlesnake Ridge.

Were it not for bright-red shorts this hiker would completely vanish into the landscape.

Were it not for bright-red shorts, this hiker would completely vanish into the landscape.

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Long ways down: The parking lot and trailhead descend into the distance, with the slight stature of hikers visible in the upper-right corner.

Three illuminated pieces of Old Man's Beard.

Three illuminated pieces of Old Man’s Beard.