I thought I would switch up my routine this year and do something different to celebrate the day of my birth. I wanted to climb a mountain. All told, it was a pinnacle bday for me this year and I didn’t think a party was how I wanted to celebrate. Enter Loch Vale Trail.
Weeks before our trip to Colorado I spent time scouring through a book with more information on trails, lake, lochs, and vales than I will ever need. I found a picture of a beautiful lake in Rocky Mountain National Park called ‘Sky Pond”. I turned over in bed and showed my husband saying with certainty- “There. That’s where we are going for my birthday.”
So, we cooked a campfire breakfast of potatoes and eggs, drove into Estes Park for ‘real’ coffee and then set out across the snow in search of Sky Pond. If you have been following my adventures on this blog you will already know that it was REALLY snowy in colorado this year. The snow makes everything slow going and more tiresome. Our first big feature was Alberta Falls (picture above). The glacier melt was just rushing over the rocks. I took a variety shots where the water was stop motion and splashing, but I love the slower shutter speed waterfall photos where the rushing water looks soft and ribbony.
There are no pictures of the biggest hill I ever climbed because I was sucking wind the entire time. But it was a biggie, let me tell you. An. Absolute. Killer. On the way back I gave up completely and slid down on my rain coat. Who says I have to grow up? This was what we saw as we reached the top and rounded the corner.
As we sat there munching on granola and apples enjoying the view of the loch vale and the lake, a couple of fellow hikers arrived and sat nearby. One of the girls proceeded to take off her winter coat and JUMP IN THE LAKE! Ok, so the trail is about 3 miles one way from trailhead to finish. IN THE SNOW. Yes, hiking makes you warm, I get that, and yes, the sun is hot- I get that, but jumping into a glacier pool is not smart when you have no blankets or dry clothes and you have to hike 3 miles through the snow back to your car. Her friend shouted at her to get out the lake. Her response? Take a photo with her cell phone. Risking hypothermia for likes on Facebook? C’mon now! I seriously hope she made it down the mountain.
So, we never actually made it to Sky Pond. The hill before Loch Vale completely wiped us out. That’s ok. Now I have a reason to go back.
Before the summer sun really got the best of us, we thought we would head to the mountains, pitch tent and get one last chance to play in the snow. The skies were cloudy and yes, we got hailed on some, but the trip was amazing!
This photo was taken from a scenic pullover on the road that leads to Glacier Gorge and Bear Lake Trailheads in the Long’s Peak area of the park. The sun was shining on the snow capped mountains in such a pristine way.
I took out my father in law’s 400 lens again yesterday to practice with it. One thing that no one tells you when you get interested in photography is that you are going to have work on your biceps. I had the monster on the tripod for while, using it more as binoculars than as a camera, hunting the tree tops for songbirds. Oh, and by the way, if you didn’t know, birds fly pretty fast. This makes them a pain in butt to try to photograph. Worse than babies, I swear. Those birds.
This one managed to sit still long enough for me to snap a clear shot. I like to photograph the local natives but I never have any idea what type of bird or bug it is. Always- if you know- please write me a comment letting me know the name. I got sick of looking up, so I tried using my head and turned a water spigot on for a little while to see if I could seduce some birdies into a bird bath. While the water was running I snapped mostly boring photos, but this crooked mesquite tree looked pretty good.
I did manage to get several shots of birds on the spigot but there was a small branch that I couldn’t see thorugh my viewfinder but was clear as gray smudge across the photos when I loaded them up onto my screen. Removing the 400 from the tripod I played with the sunlight as it hit the streaming water. I focused my attention on shutter speed and got these beauties.
Whattayouthink? I really enjoyed my old blog format but I wanted something that showed a little bit larger version of my photos. Also with this new format you don’t even have to click and wait for the good stuff to load, you are just magically there, reading & peeping.
A walk is required after stuffing one’s face with delicious Mexican enchiladas from La Playa in Port Aransas. We pushed up our hoods and headed to the nearby beach. In the winter the beach is a different, yet no less magical place. There weren’t too many folks about, but a few campers were braving it. I am still navigating my way around my new camera and I got a little frustrated with the auto focus lens. I was without a tripod anyways, which makes it nearly impossible to capture those gorgeous stars regardless of whether or not I was able fully operate my camera like a pro. I feel like the photographer’s story is nearly always one in which there is a whole lot filler about didn’t go right with an ending of what managed to be perfect.