H Peter Ji

@hpeterji

Landscape and Portrait Photographer
But then again | JMT DAY 23 - RAE LAKES AT SUNSET Rae Lakes at sunset The red glow was happening. My gaze completely fixated at the glow, I held my breath. It was gorgeous. And it was simply pure. Then my mind started drifting away. I wondered how this looked in May or June with snow still lingering at the top. I was sure that it would look breathtaking. Then, I thought to myself that it would be quite treacherous to come out here via either Bishop Pass or Kearsarge Pass. It’ll be quite strenuous. But then again, how else will I get the shots? Rae Lakes, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Water Mountain Beauty In Nature Scenics - Nature Sky Rock Tranquility Tranquil Scene Rock - Object Lake Nature Mountain Range Non-urban Scene No People Idyllic Outdoors Formation Rae Lakes JMT Pct Adventure Wilderness Painted Lady Sunset Sunset Glow Eastern Sierra Sierra Nevada
Against spotless blue sky JMT DAY 23 - RAE LAKES AT SUNSET Rae Lakes at sunset The sunset glow started descending upon Painted Lady (12,125 ft) and Mt. Rixford (12,887 ft) as I was patiently waiting. The orange glow was intense, and the color contrast against the spotless blue sky was vibrant. Almost color blind test vibrant. The winds never seemed to want to die down, and I was worried that the shots would be too shaky. Henry and I met a gentleman named John, who camped near us and seemed interested in what I was doing. We had a long, pleasant conversation about from photography to backpacking, including a fire that broke out near Bubbs Creek, somewhere west of Junction Meadow. He meant to do the Rae Lakes Loop, and the news travelled to him that the hikers were evacuating led by the park rangers but that some were hiking out on their own. And John wasn’t sure if he should take a chance. The light spread across the lake and lit up the rocks as if they were floating in the water. The tip of the Painted Lady, aka Colored Lady or Pyramid, glowed as if it were the tip of a pyramid, which made sense as to how an artist named Bolton Coit Brown named it Pyramid in the first place. Soon the orange glow glow turned vibrant red. Rae Lakes, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Water Mountain Beauty In Nature Tranquility Rock Sky Tranquil Scene Scenics - Nature Lake Nature Rock - Object Mountain Range Clear Sky No People Non-urban Scene Idyllic Outdoors Formation Rae Lakes Eastern Sierra Painted Lady Sunset Sunset Glow
So it was regrettable JMT DAY 23 - RAE LAKES BEFORE SUNSET Rae Lakes before sunset After hiking over 2 miles and gaining over 400 feet in elevation, I finally reached the campsites at Rae Lakes, where I found Henry. Part of me was hoping to dip in the water to cool myself off, but I was running out of time fast. So, instead I hurriedly pitched my tent and went down to the shore with my water bottles. I washed my face while filtering water for the evening. Once returning to my tent, I grabbed my gear and hurried back to the shore. I liked the view from the spot where I had filtered water, so I decided to set up my cameras there. And I was planning to spend the rest of the evening there. And the night as long as the weather permitted. It was windy, so it was regrettable that capturing a mirror like reflection of Mt. Rixford (12,887 ft) and the Painted Lady (12,125 ft), also known as the Pyramid or Colored Lady, famously coined by an artist named Bolton Coit Brown, was impossible. Glenn Pass was not visible from where I was. However, part of me was relieved because I knew that the pass wasn’t strenuous. Other than Mt. Whitney, our final and big climb, I thought that we basically had left all the strenuous passes behind us. Little did I know that coming back over Kearsarge Pass with my last resupply (about 73 lb) to complete the last stretch of the trail was going to really hard. Rae Lakes, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Water Mountain Scenics - Nature Rock Beauty In Nature Rock - Object Tranquil Scene Tranquility Nature Sky Non-urban Scene Mountain Range Lake Clear Sky Rock Formation Rae Lakes Outdoors Idyllic Plant No People Kings Canyon National Park JMT Pct
Color blind test "SUPER BLOOM AT WALKER CANYON Super Bloom at Walker Canyon Not much of description needed. California Poppies were everywhere. The green hills were so green that the color contrast against the orange poppies were hurting my eyes. I wondered… Is this a color blind test? How could be these poppies blooming like this? Walker Canyon, Lake Elsinore, CA Cloud - Sky Scenics - Nature Sky Beauty In Nature Mountain Tranquil Scene Tranquility Landscape Non-urban Scene Nature Idyllic Mountain Range No People Outdoors Rock Wildflowers California Poppies Super Bloom Lake Elsinore Spring California Walker Canyon, Lake Elsinore, CA
Light was escaping fast SUPER BLOOM AT WALKER CANYON Super Bloom at Walker Canyon I’ve never seen this many California Poppies before. Just mind blowing… My friend and I started the day quite late, and our first stop was Ortega Falls, so by the time when we were trying to enter Walker Canyon, we were moving in our car at 2 MPH on I-15. It took us over an hour to travel a mile. In the end we arrived. I hiked up the fireroad as most people did and started taking photos. Every turn made me super excited. This Super Bloom was seriously mind blowing. The amount of rain that we had had this winter truly turned this otherwise brown hills into something out of this world. The ever changing light due to the constantly moving clouds made the beautiful green hills and slopes that were already painted in patches of orange gave me an opportunity to do some timelapse, which is coming. Stay tuned. I wished I could had stayed longer, but then the light was escaping fast. I watched some colors in the sky at sunset and started down the hills. Walker Canyon, Lake Elsinore, CA Beauty In Nature Scenics - Nature Cloud - Sky Sky Flower Landscape Nature No People Orange Color Tranquility Tranquil Scene Travel Destinations Outdoors Flowerbed California Poppy Walker Canyon, Lake Elsinore, CA Lake Elsinore Super Bloom Wildflowers Wet Winter Adventure Landscape Photography
Can’t wait to go back | ORTEGA FALLS Ortega Falls One of the places this past weekend that I wanted to check out was Ortega Falls. Since we have had a very wet winter, and since it is still very early in the season, it was naturally expected to be flowing quite nicely. When I did a collaboration with a model some time in 2017, however, it was bone dry. Of course, it was then also expected to be that dry. Now what a difference a plenty of rain made this winter. The local mountains are clad with snow, the lakes are full of water and the creeks are flowing nicely. My friend and I started out the day rather late, so when we got there, it was full of people, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it truly tested my patience while waiting for the waterfalls to be cleared. The sun came in and out of the clouds, so I had to wait and made sure that my shots weren't overexposed. I took shots without me in it, but in the end I chose a shot with me in it to share, which adds an extra element to the scene. Can’t wait to go back. Ortega Falls, Lake Elsinore, CA Rock Rock - Object Waterfall Long Exposure Scenics - Nature Rock Formation Water Beauty In Nature Motion Blurred Motion Flowing Water One Person Nature Full Length Flowing Outdoors Cloud - Sky Ortega Falls Ortega Highway Hiking Adventure
For old times’ sake JMT DAY 23 - FIN DOME AT RAE LAKES Fin Dome at Rae Lakes I finally arrived at Rae Lakes after huffing and puffing throughout the entire incline in this section of the JMT. And it felt good. Because, in part, it felt like I was catching up with an old friend. I had been here before when I did the High Sierra Trail (HST). I even stood at the exact same spot where I took a shot of Fin Dome (11,693 ft) by the shore. And the other reason why it felt good was because I made it okay even after all the incline. I was completely exhausted, but, yes, I made it. With so much weight that I was carrying this time around, it made it that much special. I sat down my heavy pack and retrieved my camera and tripod. I knew I didn’t have much time to do timelapse or long exposure. So, I took a few shots. For old times’ sake. Besides, I really liked Fin Dome. I framed the shot while aligning the dome with the sun, which to me looked like some kind of bright flying object hovering over Devils Tower in Wyoming. While a school of trouts was swimming in the shallow water, the double reflections of the sunburst in the water completed the shot. Rae Lakes, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Water Mountain Beauty In Nature Sky Lake Scenics - Nature Tranquility Tranquil Scene Reflection Sunlight Nature Sunbeam Sun No People Day Non-urban Scene Mountain Range Outdoors Mountain Peak Fin Dome, Sierra Nevada, CA Rae Lakes Reflection Wilderness
Burn it into my brain | JMT DAY 23 - FIN DOME AND BEYOND Fin Dome and beyond I noticed a peak jutting up high beyond the bottom slope of a mountain sitting next to Dollar Lake. I couldn’t tell what it was then, but later I learned that it was Mt. Rixford (12887 ft). I love the view of the ridge that ran along the basin toward Fin Dome and then all the way to this less frequently visited mountain by JMT’ers. And lied Rae Lakes below. I knew I wasn’t far away, but still over 2 miles away to the campsites at Rae Lakes, so I had to get on with the rest of the afternoon. After getting the shots that I wanted, I packed up my gear and put my pack back on my back. It didn’t feel any lighter. And another 400 feet in elevation was waiting for me. Trying to burn it into my brain, I turned and looked at the view one last time. Dollar Lake, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Mountain Reflection Beauty In Nature Water Sky Scenics - Nature Tranquil Scene Tranquility Lake Mountain Range Nature Tree Non-urban Scene No People Idyllic Day Outdoors Fin Dome, Sierra Nevada, CA JMT Pct Dollar Lake, Sierra Nevada, CA Eastern Sierra Wilderness Reflection
Couldn’t pass up view | JMT DAY 23 - FIN DOME SEEN FROM DOLLAR LAKE Fin Dome seen from Dollar Lake After losing an elevation of over 1,100 feet to Woods Creek Campground, somehow I felt like I could keep going. Maybe because I did the High Sierra Trail (HST), so this part of the JMT was rather familiar. The memory of running into JMT’ers and PCT’ers for the first time while doing the HST flooded back in mind. Henry was waiting there for me, and he was on board with that idea of ending the day at Rae Lakes. After a few minutes of break, we were on our way. However, what I didn’t remember well was how much of elevation gain there was to gain from Woods Creek to Rae Lakes. About 2,000 feet. Ugh… And that wasn’t the best way to remember this particular section as I was huffing and puffing gaining elevation. I was kicking myself up for making that almost spur of the moment decision... But, as the rocky terrain started evening out, I knew that I was getting close to Dollar Lake, which was one of my favorite lakes. Although I didn’t have a whole lot of time at this small but pretty lake, I couldn’t pass up the view of Fin Dome and its reflection in the water. Besides, I needed water. I stopped, filtered water and started taking a few shots while munching on snacks. Dollar Lake, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Water Rock Beauty In Nature Rock - Object Mountain Tranquility Lake Nature Sky Scenics - Nature Tranquil Scene Reflection No People Idyllic Outdoors Non-urban Scene Mountain Range Shallow Dollar Lake, Sierra Nevada, CA Fin Dome, Sierra Nevada, CA Kings Canyon Clear Sky JMT Pct Day
In serenity | JMT DAY 23 - SUNRISE AT SAWMILL PASS JUNCTION Sunrise at Sawmill Pass Junction Soon the sunrise glow descended on the top of the mountains. And no words needed to describe it. The moon was setting slowly, as if it didn’t want to. As if it was buying time before it fell into oblivion. The sky was brightening up as the glow got intense. And I thought to myself how blessing witnessing that moment was. I just let everything slip out of my mind in serenity. Sawmill Pass Junction, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Mountain Sky Beauty In Nature Scenics - Nature Moon Tranquility Tranquil Scene Mountain Range Nature Landscape No People Non-urban Scene Idyllic Environment Outdoors Mountain Peak JMT Pct Adventure Sunrise Moon Sunrise Glow
Slowly creeping through me | JMT DAY 23 - SUNRISE AT SAWMILL PASS JUNCTION Sunrise at Sawmill Pass Junction I wasn’t going to post this but changed my mind. I am such a sucker for Earth’s Shadow.... While one of the cameras was pointing at Acrodectes Peak and the crest, I had the other camera pointed at the valley through which Woods Creek ran. It was the valley that we were going to hike down till the creek met South Fork, which was where we were going to camp after losing over 1,200 feet. Then, Earth’s Shadow appeared. One of my favorite moments of the day. And the moon was setting. It was still too high to be situated in the middle of the shadow, but nonetheless, it was just pleasing to the eye. Then, I felt such profound calmness slowly creeping through me.... Sawmill Pass Junction, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Mountain Sky Beauty In Nature Tranquility Moon Scenics - Nature Tranquil Scene Nature No People Non-urban Scene Mountain Range Idyllic Landscape Outdoors Mountain Peak Rock Sawmill Pass Junction, Kings Canyon National Park, CA
And yet here I was | JMT DAY 23 - SUNRISE AT SAWMILL PASS JUNCTION Sunrise at Sawmill Pass Junction Morning at Sawmill Pass Junction was windy and cold. I crawled out of my tent and walked back to the spot where I caught the sunset the day before. There were two different directions that I could point my cameras at. One being the crest led by Acrodectes Peak (13,182 ft), just like I did the day before, and the other being the valley where Woods Creek ran through. And it was the direction where we were headed. Again, no clouds in the sky. I set up my camera and simply waited for the sun to cast its glow on the crest. And it did. The intense colors got me excited. But what I really loved more was the solitude that I was enjoying. It is often a lonesome landscape photographer’s journey taking photos by him/herself, but I have grown to love the sense of being there. Belonging in nature, where I would soon to return. The idea of accepting the fact that we are extremely vulnerable and easily swayed by the comfort and warmth that the civilization provides seemed as natural as drinking water when thirsty. And yet here I was still tolerating the discomfort and trying to capture the moment that makes it all simply worthwhile. Sawmill Pass Junction, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Mountain Sky Beauty In Nature Scenics - Nature Tree Tranquil Scene Mountain Range Tranquility Non-urban Scene No People Nature Clear Sky Environment Idyllic Landscape Remote Outdoors Mountain Peak Forest JMT Pct Wilderness Adventure Mountain Crest
Simple and yet quite pleasing | JMT DAY 22 - SUNSET AT SAWMILL PASS JUNCTION Sunset at Sawmill Pass Junction Our upbeat march became a strenuous climb in the rough, rocky terrain toward Pinchot Pass (12,090 ft). We were constantly huffing and puffing while gaining an elevation of over 2,000 feet. All I could think of at that moment was that I hated my heavy backpack. While going up the switchbacks, we ran across a mule pack coming down the pass. I was quite impressed by the horses and mules going up and down this treacherous terrain, filled with loose rocks. Once we reached the pass, we took a well deserved break. The views from up there were quite amazing. Probably more overwhelmed by the accomplishment though. We came down the pass safely and hiked through quite a barren part of the trail, still above the treeline, along the huge mountain crest to our left, whose focal point was Mt. Perkins. We continued losing elevation all the way to Sawmill Pass Junction, where we ended up camping. It was an equally challenging trudge while losing over 2,300 ft in elevation as the climb earlier. And I was really happy to end our day here. Because the view of Acrodectes Peak (13,182 ft) and its crest cast with a gorgeous orange and red glow was simple and yet quite pleasing. Sawmill Pass Junction, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Mountain Beauty In Nature Scenics - Nature Rock Tranquil Scene Sky Rock - Object Tranquility Non-urban Scene Mountain Range Nature Tree No People Physical Geography Geology Idyllic Formation Outdoors Mountain Peak Sunset Sunset Glow JMT Pct Wilderness
Scattered shades of light JMT DAY 22 - MORNING NEAR SOUTH FORK KINGS RIVER Morning near South Fork Kings River The forest where our campground near South Fork Kings River was tucked in was quite dense, so it wasn’t easy to capture the sunset. Beside, we were completely exhausted. At least, I was. I got some shots of the peaks barely seen through the forest, but that was about it. The winds found it way through the forest. It was cold. Soon night fell. We crawled into our own tents early. Next morning, those skinny, tall pines still made it difficult to capture the sunrise. And it felt colder because they were good at blotting out the sun. We were sluggishly. Before breaking camp, the juxtaposition of my older Fly Creek tent against Henry’s newest while the sun was bursting through the forest caught my eye. The scattered shades of light cast on trees and plants and our illuminated tents begged for a snap. And I would never decline such an opportunity. Till we left the campground, the sun never rose high enough to wrap us in warmth. But then again, what was ahead of us was an elevation gain of over 2,000 ft, and we knew that climbing Pinchot Pass (12,090 ft) would definitely make us gasp for air often and sweat like crazy in the sun. South Fork Kings River, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Tree Plant Forest Nature Tranquility Beauty In Nature No People Sunlight Non-urban Scene Tranquil Scene Tent Sunbeam
Glittered and shimmered in sun | JMT DAY 21 - PALISADE LAKES IN MORNING Palisade Lakes in morning After the not-so-successful attempt at capturing the sunrise at the lake (the sunrise glow was barely seen from where we were), I had breakfast and broke camp. As we started our walk, this view reminded me yet again of how beautiful the night was. The sky was filled with the stars while the moonlit peaks towered over the calm lake. Now, the water glittered and shimmered in the sun as it was stirred in gentle ripples. Our plan for the day consisted of climbing Mather Pass, which was expected to be quite strenuous with the weight (about just under 70 lb at that time) that I was carrying, hiking through Upper Basin to reach Bench Lake and camping there. It turned out that we left Palisade Lakes too late (because of me and my morning photography ritual). It caused delays throughout the day, and we found that climbing about 500 feet to reach Bench Lake toward the end of the day seemed quite daunting after ascending 2,500 ft and losing 900 ft. Completely depleted, we settled in at the campground near South Fork Kings River for the night. Palisade Lakes, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Water Beauty In Nature Scenics - Nature Rock Mountain Rock - Object Tranquil Scene Tranquility Nature Sky No People Idyllic Lake Day Non-urban Scene Mountain Range Rock Formation Outdoors Palisade Lakes, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Middle Palisade Morning JMT Pct Wilderness Adventure
Part of me JMT DAY 19 - STAR TRAILS AT PALISADE LAKES Star trails at Palisade Lakes Once I got my shots by the lake, I returned to my tent to call it a night. Then, I spotted Polaris above the crest between Norman Clyde Peak (13,920 ft) and Middle Palisade (14,012 ft) Ugh… Part of me really wanted to go to bed. It was windy. Cold. And it was getting late... But the other part of me whispered... The sky was clear. The moon had risen quite high that everything was clearly lit. Perfect for star trails... Can you guess which part of me won? I planted the tripod near the outlet. The idea of composing a shot of both the outlet flowing in the foreground and the stars circling around the North Star above the crest looked great. But, it turned out that it wasn’t that simple. The crest was way high in comparison to the outlet, and Polaris was even higher. I lowered my camera, really close to the water, hoping that I could compose it all together. Nope. It didn’t work. I didn’t see much of the water flowing. So, I backed away from the outlet and recomposed the shot. It kind of worked. Then, part of me started drifting away and wondered what the 360 degree view from the top of Palisade Crest. Palisade Lakes, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Beauty In Nature Scenics - Nature Rock Water Sky Star - Space Nature Motion Mountain Long Exposure Space Astronomy No People Night Blurred Motion Tranquil Scene Tranquility Outdoors Flowing Water Stream - Flowing Water Flowing Star Trails Palisade Lakes, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Norman Clyde, Kings Canyon National Park, CA JMT
Only my knee deep | JMT DAY 19 - PALISADE LAKES IN MOONLIGHT Palisade Lakes in moonlight Because we arrived at Palisade Lakes quite late, pitching our tents was late. And then, gathering huge logs and stones and building a wall around my tent to block the wind took longer. Because my camp was made late, I didn’t have time to have dinner before sunset. So, when I was done capturing the sunset, my dinner was late. By the time when I headed back out to the lake to capture the night sky, it looked like someone turned on the light switch in the dark room. The moon that rose high up in the sky shed its wonderful, almost deceivingly daylight like, moonlight on anything under the heavenly body. Middle Palisade (14,012 ft) brooded like a champ while the lake reflected the cool peak in the water. Mt. Bolton Brown (13,538 ft) and its ridge line created a beautiful silhouette. It was windy and yet the water near me wasn’t disturbed. In fact, it was so calm and clear that the bottom of the lake looked like only my knee deep. Palisade Lakes, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Water Mountain Scenics - Nature Beauty In Nature Sky Tranquil Scene Tranquility Nature Lake Mountain Range Reflection Non-urban Scene Idyllic Rock - Object No People Outdoors Astronomy Long Exposure Stars Palisade Lakes, Kings Canyon National Park, CA JMT Middle Palisade Serenity Solitude Adventure
Time to embrace darkness | JMT DAY 19 - TWILIGHT AT PALISADE LAKES Twilight at Palisade Lakes Once the sun was set behind Mt. Shakspere (12,174 ft), the whole world slowly started sinking into oblivion. Although a few bright smudges of clouds lingered right above the peak, it soon faded as quickly as it radiated. Just like that. A bit of blue hour light still lingering, what came next was stillness that I wasn’t anticipating. Everything seemed frozen. As if the world stopped turning. As if time just stood still. As if the whole mountain range stopped sprawling. Twilight was lurking. And nothing else was disturbing the sound of wind. And just like that, the feeling of tiredness and anxiety subsided. As if nothing mattered from this point on. And it was time to embrace darkness all around me. Palisade Lakes, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Mountain Mountain Range Scenics - Nature Beauty In Nature Sky Rock Tranquil Scene Tranquility Rock - Object Nature Non-urban Scene Landscape No People Sunset Idyllic Physical Geography Geology Outdoors Mountain Peak Palisade Lakes, Kings Canyon National Park, CA JMT Pct Wilderness Adventure
Beyond what I was anticipating | JMT DAY 19 - PALISADE LAKES Palisade Lakes With about 9-10 lb of resupply that I picked up from Bishop Pass the day before, going down the steep switchbacks of 700 plus feet in elevation to Le Conte Ranger Station junction wasn’t fun for my knees. From there we lost another 600 plus feet in elevation till we turned east and started going up Palisade Creek to Palisade Lakes. 2,500 feet and 6 miles. That’s the elevation we gained and the distance we covered. Under a beating sun, it certainly felt like forever. The notorious Golden Stairs, about which I had had no prior knowledge till the night before when Henry and I went over the next day’s mileage, really kicked my butt. But it wasn’t just the large amount of elevation gain that exhausted me. We rushed because we were worried that we would reach the lakes quite late. And yet it took us 5 hours. It was extremely windy when we arrived at the lakes. With my memory of spending the coldest night at Helen Lake still fresh, I spent about 20 minutes looking for and lugging logs and large stones to my campsite and built a wind block. Then, there was the sunset glow cast on Middle Palisade (14,012 ft) and Mt. Bolton Brown (13,538 ft). The intensity was beyond what I was anticipating. It was worth every step that I put forward to climb the bitchy route up the cliff while huffing and puffing like crazy for hours. Palisade Lakes, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Mountain Water Scenics - Nature Beauty In Nature Rock Tranquil Scene Tranquility Sky Mountain Range Rock - Object Nature Reflection Non-urban Scene No People Lake Idyllic Physical Geography Rock Formation Formation Outdoors Palisade Lakes, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Middle Palisade Adventure Backpacking JMT
North Palisade awaits | JMT DAY 19 - DUSY BASIN Dusy Basin As we were getting close to Bishop Pass (11,972 ft), Mt. Agassiz (13,898 ft), Mt. Winchell (13,768 ft), Thunderbolt Peak (14,003 ft) and the gloriously prominent North Palisade (14,248 ft) rose like an impenetrable wall in front of us. Mt. Sill (14,159 ft) was completely out of sight, hiding behind North Palisade from where I stood though. With the reflection of these mountains in the water, the view simply wouldn’t let me leave. I had to wait for a few moments till it all sunk in. Clear of snow, the jagged peaks surely looked intimidating and even menacing. I bet climbing any of these would be treacherous and not an easy feat as some routes are Class 4 or 5. As we gained enough elevation, beneath Thunderbolt Peak, Thunderbolt Pass was came into view, which is one of the ways to enter Palisade Basin. The other pass would be Knapsack Pass, which would be my choice if I were to come up directly from the lower part of Dusy Basin. Now that I know more about the area, I am definitely planning to enter Palisade Basin to take landscapes. I can’t imagine achieving this without challenging myself physically and mentally. And I will probably ask myself why I am doing it while lugging so much gear. But I know that North Palisade awaits with a spectacular sunset glow cast on itself. “The power of imagination makes us infinite” by John Muir comes to mind. Dusy Basin, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Mountain Water Scenics - Nature Reflection Tranquil Scene Beauty In Nature Tranquility Lake Sky Mountain Range Nature No People Grass Non-urban Scene Idyllic Outdoors Dusy Basin Kings Canyon National Park Reflection Peaks North Palisade Adventure Bishop Pass Eastern Sierra Sierra Nevada
Couldn’t help daydreaming | JMT DAY 19 - DUSY BASIN Dusy Basin I wished that I had spent more time at every stop I made in Dusy Basin than just taking a few snaps. But we didn’t think that we had a whole lot of time. Although it was a day hike without so much weight to carry (till the resupplies were picked up), the elevation gain to Bishop Pass (11,972 ft) was expected over 2,500 feet. Besides, we didn’t want to be late to meet our friends. It turned out that we ended up waiting for about an hour and a half. Of course, it allowed me to do timelapse while waiting. Regrettably though, not a single cloud lingered in the blue sky, which meant no action to capture for timelapse. The presence of the long wall of peaks and ridges that separated Dusy Basin from Palisade Basin in the south was felt at every turn. Led by the prominent Columbine Peak (12,652 ft), the wall was reflected on every water surface on which I laid my eyes. If so little backpackers were met in this basin, I wondered how little actually go into Palisade Basin. With the view of North Palisade (14,248 ft), 4th highest in California, and Mt. Sill (14,159 ft), 6th highest, which towered over the basin in the east, I couldn’t help daydreaming about verturning into Palisade Basin and capturing the sunset glow cast on them. Dusy Basin, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Mountain Water Reflection Lake Beauty In Nature Mountain Range Scenics - Nature Tranquility Sky Tranquil Scene Nature Day No People Non-urban Scene Idyllic Outdoors Peaks Ridge Eastern Sierra Dusy Basin JMT Sierra Nevada Bishop Pass
Perpetually still | JMT DAY 19 - DUSY BASIN Dusy Basin I’ve decided to create a small Dusy Basin series within this JMT series because I realized how much I love the basin, of which I simply want to share more. Hope you enjoy what this particular part of the Eastern Sierra offers as much as I did. The water was so calm and clear that I just wished that I could drop everything and spend the entire day just sitting by the lakes. Schools of trouts swimming harmoniously in and out of the crevices of the rocks underwater while the glistening surface in the morning sun seemed perpetually still. Contrary to how beautiful this place was, we hardly saw backpackers. We came across only one camper who was breaking camp, besides the two friendly section-hikers whom we had came across and acquainted at the Le Conte Ranger Station junction the day before. One of them shared his great experience in fly fishing, which convinced me to definitely look into it. Not a single cloud lingering, the warmth of the morning sun persisted, and we were enjoying this day hike without our heavy backpacks on. It was certainly a welcome change of pace, and my mind seemed to continuously wander off throughout this tranquil part of the world. Dusy Basin, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Tranquility Beauty In Nature Water Rock Scenics - Nature Tranquil Scene Mountain No People Nature Rock - Object Plant Non-urban Scene Lake Outdoors Sunlight Dusy Basin Columbine Peak, Sierra Nevada, CA Ridges Reflection Pines Eastern Sierra Sierra Nevada
Mesmerizing reflections | JMT DAY 19 - DUSY BASIN Dusy Basin On our way to and from Bishop Pass, we hiked through one of the most beautiful areas off the John Muir Trail, and that was Dusy Basin. I had heard about its beauty prior to being on the JMT before, but it was just breathtaking. Simply I couldn’t believe my eyes. The basin, which was dotted with several small and large unnamed lakes and was enclosed by the long wall of 12,000 plus feet tall peaks and ridges, which separated the basin from Palisade Basin in the southeast. Among them, Columbine Peak (12,652 ft) stood tall as if it were the focal point. While Dusy Ranch was snaking through it, the tranquil lakes filled with trouts were glistening in the early morning sun. The mesmerizing reflections of the peaks and ridges in the calm water brought me a memory of a family of four whom I had run into at Bishop Pass a month prior to doing the JMT. I was told that the couple with a girl and a boy, looking barely 4 and 5, spent two nights in the basin. The little girl was carrying her own backpack! What a trooper! I can’t wait to go back and enjoy the nights under the thousands of stars! Dusy Basin, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Plant Water Tranquility Tranquil Scene Tree Scenics - Nature Beauty In Nature Grass Nature No People Reflection Lake Non-urban Scene Mountain Outdoors Dusy Basin Eastern Sierra Peaks Ridges Columbine Peak, Sierra Nevada, CA Pines Water Plants Tranquility
With its mesmerizing beauty JMT DAY 19 - BISHOP PASS Bishop Pass While spending another night at the same campsites in Le Conte Canyon, our plan for the day was to climb up to Bishop Pass and meet up my friends who would bring us our resupplies. While going up, we hiked through Dusy Basin, and it completely surprised me with its mesmerizing beauty. The little lakes spread across the basin were just so pretty that I kept telling myself that I would come back here as soon as I had a chance. My friends Maddie, with whom I did the High Sierra Trail together, and Cat, another hiking friend, supposedly came in the day before via South Lake and camped at Long Lake. It was their plan to explore the Inyo National Forest side of the Pass and spend another day down there. I was up here earlier back in July to do a dry run for my friends since neither of us had never been there before. I had a great time and, of course, I turned that opportunity into a photography trip. By the way, there was cell phone signal for Verizon at the pass, so my buddy Henry got on the phone and spoke with his family. No such luck with AT&T. Bishop Pass, Kings Canyon National Park/Inyo National Forest, CA Scenics - Nature Beauty In Nature Mountain Tranquil Scene Tranquility Non-urban Scene Landscape Sky No People Nature Mountain Range Idyllic Clear Sky Geology Rock Arid Climate Bishop Pass Inyo National Forest Wilderness Lakes  Adventure Eastern Sierra Sierra Nevada
I could taste stillness | JMT DAY 19 - LE CONTE CANYON AT SUNRISE Le Conte Canyon at sunrise When I woke up, it was quite dark. It felt darker probably because our campsites were immersed in the forest. The tall pines hovering over us felt like giant creatures. As my lungs were busy filling up frigid air, I felt my fingers titillating as if they were stretching. Still adjusting to the dim surroundings, my eyes were slowly hunting for my gear inside the tent. Once reaching the trail, I traced it back down to where we came the day before. And soon I emerged from the forest and was greeted by the spectacular sight of Le Conte Canyon. Now, with a dose of newly charged eagerness, I scurried up the rocky slope, found a huge boulder as large as a mid-size SUV and climbed it. What unfolded before my eyes was the canyon, which had already taken my breath away the day before when we were coming down from Helen Lake, slowly waking up to the gorgeous hues of Earth’s Shadow. I could taste the stillness. As if time stood still. As if nothing mattered after that moment. My mind was surely harnessing the inspiration of the stillness. I was about to buoy up into the air. Soon, the ridges and the Citadel (11,748 ft) were painted in bright orange while the ambient light was slowly flooding the entire canyon. Le Conte Canyon, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Mountain Beauty In Nature Scenics - Nature Tranquil Scene Sky Tranquility Landscape Cold Temperature Nature Mountain Range Tree Idyllic No People Non-urban Scene Plant Outdoors Mountain Peak Formation Sunrise Sunrise Glow Le Conte Canyon Kings Canyon National Park Pct TheCity Adventure
Bloody cloudy | SUPER BLOOD WOLF MOON Bloody cloudy After getting anxious and disappointed initially by the overcast sky, I went ahead and set up my camera and waited for the moon to rise. I didn’t know what kind of visibility there would be. The sky was very clear the night before, and clear skies were forecast in the next several days. And yet, that night when we were expecting a total lunar eclipse, it was bloody cloudy. The moon rose, and it was a very hazy one. This moon, aka Super Blood Wolf Moon, was supposedly slightly bigger and larger due to its closer proximity to earth, and it was visible all across North America. And yet here I was, the sky wasn’t cooperating. As night got darker, the clouds started giving way a little to a partially clear night sky. I got super excited as the moon looked crisp. But it turned out that it was a night where a series of clouds constantly moved in and out and blurred the visibility of the moon, especially when the moon turned bloody. The winds never stopped blowing, which forced me to plant the camera super close to my car against the wind with a hope that the wind direction wouldn’t change. And thankfully it rarely did. It wasn’t the best scenario due to the clouds and winds, but I still managed to capture decent shots. With the focal point at 200mm, I put my camera on the crop mode, which helped me get 1.5x closer to the moon. Definitely I learned a couple of things from this. High ISO doesn’t work for me. Period. And clouds are simply a no no for lunar eclipse. And I’ll definitely go somewhere remote to capture the next Super Bloody Wolf Moon when it returns in 2 years. Carson, CA Space Moon Astronomy No People Orange Color Black Background Sky Nature Night Lunar Eclipse Total Lunar Eclipse Super Blood Wolf Moon 2019 Full Moon Eclipse Night Sky Multiple Exposures Mountain
Ready to chew you up hard | JMT DAY 18 - MONSTER ROCK Monster Rock After being blown away by the spectacular view of Le Conte Canyon as we were coming down from Helen Lake, we arrived at Monster Rock and took a break. It is probably one of the most popular photo-op places on the JMT due to the rock’s shape and cracked ‘jaw.’ If you Image Google search JMT monster rock, you’ll come across some fun photos. The wide open mouth of the monster is ready to swallow anything and the sharp teeth assembled with the small pointy rocks are ready to chew you up hard! Here I met Jeff Hester the SoCal Hiker and the man behind all the Six Pack of Peaks Challenges, who was half expecting to catch me. We had exchanged our dates when our paths may be crossed. He was leading a group of volunteers for his Muir Taco Adventure, which served delicious tacos to backpackers at Muir Hut. Regrettably, we couldn’t join him because Henry and I were a day ahead of the event. Before we left though, Jeff got me a can of beer, which I later enjoyed when we were camping at the 1000 ft above the Le Conte Canyon that evening. It was really great catching up with him there. Monster Rock, Le Conte Canyon, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Tree Forest No People Nature Tree Trunk Trunk Plant Day Outdoors Rock Monster Rock, JMT, CA JM Kings Canyon National Park Iconic Wilderness Adventure Pct
My mind started drifting away | JMT DAY 18 - HELEN LAKE AT SUNRISE Helen Lake at sunrise It was the coldest night ever! The wind never seemed to want to die down throughout the night, and the constant breezing flow of cold air felt over my nose through the tiny cinched hole in my sleeping bag was unmistakable. When I crawled out of my tent, it was still dark and very windy. Still half awake, I wondered if I was still dreaming. But I knew I had to get moving. I fetched my gear and headed down to the lake. I walked up and down the rocky shore of the lake for a bit and eventually settled on this huge slab of rock that was overlooking the lake. I had to climb back up to reach the rock but it seemed to be a better vantage point than by the water. While I was setting up my cameras, part of me wished I had brought my sleeping bag with me as the wind kept blowing. Once it was ready to go, I scurried down the rock to the opposite direction of the wind and decided to watch the sunrise glow from there. Then, it came. The intense orange glow slowly descended from the tip of Mt. Warlow (13,206 ft) and it was accentuated by the clear blue sky. Soon it spread across the ridge that rose over the lake. To me, the ridge looked like a cardboard cutout that was placed against a pool of blue water. While my eyes were simply fixated at the sight, my mind started drifting away... Helen Lake, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Water Tranquility Scenics - Nature Tranquil Scene Beauty In Nature Sky Lake Reflection Non-urban Scene Clear Sky No People Nature Mountain Idyllic Rock Blue Outdoors Sunrise Helen Lake John Muir Trail Eastern Sierra Sierra Nevada Sunrise Glow Clear Sky Kings Canyon National Park
Unfolding before my eyes JMT DAY 17 - MOONRISE AND SUNSET AT HELEN LAKE Moonrise and sunset at Helen Lake Helen Lake was only a mile down the slope from Muir Pass, so we didn’t rush. However, we had been told that finding a campsite could be a slight challenge, so we decided to get off the pass earlier than later. What we didn’t know was that it was extremely windy as if we were in a wind tunnel. The strong wind that never seemed to die down gave us a hard time pitching our tents. For a better vantage point, I decided to find a spot rather higher. From where I was, the sun looked like setting over Muir Pass. At that very moment I wondered what it would look like to watch the sun set from the pass. There were campsites near Muir Hut but it wasn’t an option due to lack of water, besides the fact that it was super windy. It turned out that Helen Lake wasn’t much different. The not so bright glow cast on Black Divide soon turned into a bright orange as if somebody just painted it in a quick brush work of orange in a blink of an eye. And then an insanely glowing red. While my eyes were transfixed on the mesmerizing glow in spite of the crazy shiver I couldn’t seem to stop, unfolding before my eyes was one of those unexpected and yet coolest. Moonrise over the divide cast in insane red! I knew the moon would rise and wash out the Milky Way, but I really didn’t see this coming. What a sight to end the day! Helen Lake, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Moon Sky Mountain Beauty In Nature Scenics - Nature Tranquil Scene Tranquility Idyllic Clear Sky Outdoors Landscape Nature Mountain Range Low Angle View JMT John Muir Trail Kings Canyon Wilderness Sunset
Wish I had warmer jacket like yours | JMT DAY 17 - ICONIC MUIR HUT Iconic Muir Hut Our plan for the day was to reach Wanda Lake and camp there. And we were told that it was a beautiful lake. When we arrived there, however, it was extremely windy. Mt. Goddard (13,568 ft) and Goddard Divide looked great, but without a single patch of snow at this time of the year wasn’t impressive for photography. Also, we still had a plenty of daylight left, so, we decided to continue on to Helen Lake. After the unimpressive Lake McDermand and an unexpectedly strenuous incline, we arrived at Muir Pass, on which the iconic Muir Hut was nesting. It was windier than I thought, if not as windy as at both lakes down below. While huddled inside the shelter, several backpackers kept us company. Most of them were out there only for a few days. When I stepped out with my camera to do some timelapse, it was still very windy. I was shivering a bit even with my down jacket on. My JMT buddy Henry was dashing toward the hut to get inside. While outside, I had a visitor who kept me company. This curious marmot showed up and watched me idling behind my camera for quite some time… I amusingly murmured, “I wish I had a warmer jacket like yours.” Muir Pass, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Sky Rock Rock - Object One Person Nature Architecture Low Angle View History Built Structure Rock Formation Clear Sky Mountain Outdoors Muir Pass, Kings Canyon National Park, C Muir Hut JMT Hiker Backpacker Mountains Sierra Nevada Eastern Sierra Iconic
For one last time | JMT DAY 17 - EVOLUTION LAKE IN MORNING Evolution Lake in morning While our packs were all ready to go, the Evolution Valley view just wouldn’t let us go. At least, I wasn’t ready yet. Particularly when both Colby Meadow and my favorite McClure Meadow that Evolution Creek was snaking through looked more like an oasis in the deepest forest one can get to. While the monolithic granite dome Hermit was overlooking the pine-rich valley (most likely the lodgepole pine and firs), the thin, wispy clouds traveling overhead helped create a mesmerizing view of the entire basin being caressed by and adorned with the patches of constantly moving shadows. I was soon rushing to picture the white snow covered valley in my mind. Although it would be physically demanding to get to, I can’t even fathom how beautiful winter wonderland the entire basin would become. Part of me wished so badly that we had had another day to spend there. Again, especially when Evolution Lake wasn’t a close place to get to from any trailhead. I packed up my camera gear and headed out while keeping turning around to see the valley for one last time. Evolution Lake, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Mountain Scenics - Nature Beauty In Nature Sky Tranquil Scene Tranquility Mountain Range Landscape Cloud - Sky Non-urban Scene Nature No People Idyllic Outdoors Remote Mountain Peak Formation Kings Canyon National Park JMT Evolution Valley, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Evolution Lake, Kings Canyon Natiuonal Park, CA Pct Wilderness Adventure Eastern Sierra
As if it never happened | JMT DAY 17 - EVOLUTION LAKE AT SUNRISE Evolution Lake at sunrise Once done capturing the valley view at sunrise, I hurriedly went over to the spot where I had already set up my second camera. Evolution Lake was waking up fast and Mt. Spencer (12,421 ft) towering over the lake and the ridge that enveloped the elongated lake grew tall. Behind Mt. Spencer, Mt. Fiske (13,503 feet), over a thousand feet taller than Spencer, sneakishly jutted up as if it was playing peek-a-boo and cast itself with orange glow. Then, this small patch of clouds appeared out of thin air and hovered over the ridge. It soon turned orange and then red. Then, as if the flames were extinguished, the colors faded and it turned grey. Soon, it was completely gone. As if it never happened. Evolution Lake, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Mountain Scenics - Nature Beauty In Nature Sky Tranquil Scene Tranquility Mountain Range Rock Nature No People Non-urban Scene Reflection Lake Rock Formation Physical Geography Outdoors Plant Formation JMT Evolution Lake, Kings Canyon Natiuonal Park, CA Evolution Valley, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Sunrise Kings Canyon National Park John Muir Trail
Mountain Sky Beauty In Nature Scenics - Nature Tranquil Scene Mountain Range Tranquility Non-urban Scene Landscape No People Nature Idyllic Remote Rock Outdoors Formation Mountain Peak JMT Kings Canyon National Park Evolution Lake, Kings Canyon Natiuonal Park, CA Evolution Valley, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Wilderness Backpacking Backcountry
Celestial party going on | JMT DAY 16 - MILKY WAY OVERSHONE BY MOON Milky Way overshone by Moon Night fell at Evolution Basin. But the entire basin was not ready to fall in darkness. In fact, it was still bright as day. The moon rose and flooded the world with its bright light that never seem to dim. While the Evolution Lake outlet was illuminating like crazy, in the far distance Mt. Huxley (13,086 ft) jutted up like a spike to reach the starry night sky. The Milky Way overshone by the moon didn’t stand the chance to show off itself. Well, its close proximity to the moon did that, of course. Mars and Jupiter accompanied the galaxy, though, whether it was faint or not. At one point, it felt like there was a celestial party going on. All stars gathered around, whether they were faint or not, and they knew that it was time to come out and play. Evolution Lake, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Mountain Scenics - Nature Beauty In Nature Sky Tranquil Scene Tranquility Mountain Range Nature Night Long Exposure No People Landscape Non-urban Scene Blurred Motion Idyllic Motion Water Star - Space Outdoors Astronomy Flowing Water Flowing Evolution Valley, Kings Canyon National Park, CA JM Evolution Lake, Kings Canyon Natiuonal Park, CA
Hot lava flowing | JMT DAY 16 - VALLEY VIEW FROM EVOLUTION LAKE OUTLET AT SUNSET Valley view from Evolution Lake outlet at sunset Once I captured the intense glow cast on the ridge towering over Evolution Lake, I quickly turned my camera around and pointed it at the valley itself - Evolution Valley that I had hiked through for hours earlier in the day. While the Hermit (12,328 ft), to my left, overlooked the valley, both Colby Meadow and my favorite McClure Meadow deep in the bottom of the valley were clearly visible from where I stood. In fact, it was so clear that I could see the reflections of the trees in Evolution Creek snaking through Colby Meadow Just in time for the dramatic effect, a thin layer of clouds moved in and hovered over the valley. While thinking to myself that I couldn’t have asked for a better timing, I just pressed the trigger. And just like that, the intense sun that had flooded the basin with its glorious glow was now painting every surface that it touched in orange. Evolution Lake that fell over the cliff and turned into a waterfall looked like hot lava flowing and encroaching onto the valley. Evolution Lake, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Sky Sunset Scenics - Nature Beauty In Nature Orange Color Cloud - Sky Mountain Nature Tranquil Scene Tranquility Non-urban Scene No People Sun Water Idyllic Mountain Range Lens Flare Outdoors Rock - Object Evolution Lake, Kings Canyon Natiuonal Park, CA Evolution Valley, Kings Canyon National Park, CA JMT Wilderness Backpacking Landscape
Intense orange and red | JMT DAY 16 - EVOLUTION BASIN AT SUNSET Evolution Basin at sunset After gaining an elevation of over 800 feet, we reached one of the most popular lakes on the JMT - Evolution Lake. Three NOBO JMT’ers at MTR had given us a tip about a spot to camp with a valley view, so we plodded straight to the spot upon arriving. And there it was - the spectacular view of Evolution Valley that we had hiked through in all afternoon. Once we were settled in, I started ambled up and down Evolution Creek with my camera gear for a bit, and soon I didn’t want to be just stuck on the side where I was. So, I decided to cross the creek. The current was fast and the sound was quite deafening. In spite of the fact that it was mostly waist deep, I managed to find a spot where the water only came up to just above my knees. The trickiest part was of course not to trip and fall and get my gear wet. I rolled up my pants and marched in the water. The extended tripod became a cane to help me not trip in the fast current. Once safely back at the campsite, I got ready for the sunset. The ridge that rose like a wall, ran along the lake and reached Mt. Haekel (13, 418 ft) in the far end soon turned intense orange and red. And shortly after the entire Evolution Basin turned orange and red. Evolution Lake, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Sky Beauty In Nature Nature Cloud - Sky Motion Scenics - Nature No People Water Sunset Orange Color Rock Long Exposure Non-urban Scene Blurred Motion Flowing Flowing Water Stream - Flowing Water Outdoors Sunset Glow Evolution Valley, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Evolution Creek, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Mountains Ridge Trees JMT
Beauty that Mother Nature had carved out for us | JMT DAY 16 - VALLEY VIEW FROM MCCLURE MEADOW Valley view from McClure Meadow If you haven’t been to McClure Meadow, this pretty meadow must be on your to go list. The view of Evolution Valley from here was simply stunning. This gradually incling section of the JMT ran through the valley filled with three meadows. After Evolution Meadow, where we had camped the night before, this pretty meadow welcomed us. However, Colby Meadow, third and last meadow before a steep incline to the lake regrettably didn’t impress us. While the monolithic Hermit (12,328 ft) brooded to our right, as if it were the gateway granite rock watching over the valley, we could see the waterfalls which was in fact Evolution Creek that was dropping over 900 feet below. What was towering over the lake from behind were the very distinctive Mt. Mendel (13,710 ft) and the tallest peak Mt. Darwin (13,831 ft) in the area. At the far end of the long stretched ridge Mt. Haekel (13, 418 ft) jutted upward like a prickly spike in the company of Mt. Wallace (13,377 ft). The view of the 13’ers was so impressive that we simply couldn’t move our feet. Instead, we took a lunch break there. While admiring the beauty that Mother Nature had carved out for us, I couldn’t help being obliged for the wide and shallow creek that was simply a perfect addition to the sight. McClure Meadow, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Beauty In Nature Scenics - Nature Water Reflection Sky Tranquility Tranquil Scene Mountain Nature Cloud - Sky Non-urban Scene Mountain Range No People Idyllic Outdoors Meadow McClure Meadow Kings Canyon National Park JMT Evolution Valley, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Evolution Creek, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Wilderness
Undulating in gentle breeze JMT DAY 15 - EVOLUTION MEADOW AT GOLDEN HOUR Evolution Meadow at golden hour I wasn’t planning on posting this but took a second look and changed my mind. Once we got settled in at our campsites, I grabbed my cameras and made my way into the meadow through a wall of tall pines that enveloped our campground in. Dry tall grass, like tall reeds, was gently being swayed and caressed by the persistent breeze. While the shadows grew longer and longer across the meadow, more clouds gathered over Le Conte Divide, which was quite promising to my eye. I originally hoped to include the shallow stream called Evolution Creek, snaking through the dry field, but it was already sunk in the ever growing shadows of the pines to my left, so I decided to go against it. The sun sank further, and soon the meadow turned into a golden sea of grass like a field of wheat waiting for harvest. The shimmering grass was undulating in the light breeze. Evolution Meadow, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Sky Beauty In Nature Scenics - Nature Cloud - Sky Tranquil Scene Tranquility Mountain Grass Landscape Sunlight Nature Non-urban Scene Mountain Range No People Lens Flare Sun Outdoors Meadow Evolution Meadow. Kings Canyon National Park, CA Evolution Valley, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Kings Canyon National Park Adventure Wilderness Backpacking JMT
Bleeding red JMT DAY 15 - SUNSET AT EVOLUTION MEADOW Sunset at Evolution Meadow The sunset glow that had turned intense yellow and orange soon turned pink and purple. And the whole world turned with it. The golden meadow that had been swayed and caressed by the wind started whispering softly in my ears. Do you feel my touch? Serenity and tranquility could be interchanged, I wondered. While my eyes were fixated at the clouds that just was simply bleeding red against the blue sky, I wondered if the world slowed down. And I realized that I was part of this moment that would never be erased out of my mind. And I was glad that I was there. Evolution Meadow, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Sky Beauty In Nature Scenics - Nature Tranquil Scene Tranquility Cloud - Sky Nature Sunset Non-urban Scene No People Landscape Idyllic Outdoors Purple Meadow Evolution Valley, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Kings Canyon National Park Evolution Meadow. Kings Canyon National Park, CA Sierra Nevada Eastern Sierras JMT John Muir Trail Silhouette
Turning yellow and orange | JMT DAY 15 - SUNSET AT EVOLUTION MEADOW Sunset at Evolution Meadow Part of me wished that we had had a rest day at MTR. But that wasn’t an option. We were on schedule. So, we left for our destination for that day - Evolution Meadow. We hiked along South Fork San Joaquin River till it eventually met Evolution Creek, which meant that we were now entering Evolution Valley. After climbing about 700 feet, we reached Evolution Meadow. It had three different campgrounds, and we opted for the farthest to save time for the next day, besides the fact that there were quite a few backpackers at the first two campgrounds. The last campground was perfect because it offered a clearing in the valley, unlike the first two. And the view of Le Conte Divide in the far distance reminded me of how far we came from the junction. A couple of deer kept us company at first but soon left us to the serene atmosphere that slowly sank around us. Other than a hiker who hastily headed his way northbound, no one else was around us. As the ever lingering clouds left me quite hopeful, I set up my cameras and waited. Once the sun quickly dropped behind the divide, the whole world slowly started turning yellow and orange. What I had been anticipating for the last hour was happening. Evolution Meadow, Kings Canyon National Park, CA Sky Scenics - Nature Sunset Beauty In Nature Tranquil Scene Tranquility Nature Non-urban Scene Cloud - Sky Landscape No People Grass Forest Orange Color Outdoors Evolution Meado Meadow Evolution Valley Sierra Nevada Eastern Sierra Kings Canyon National Park Wilderness JM John Muir Trail
Every bit of serene tranquility | JMT DAY 14 - SUNSET AT MTR Sunset at MTR The switchbacks that we were walking down to reach Muir Trail Ranch, aka MTR, offered a pretty cool view of the valley that the ranch was tucked in. I also thought that particular section of the trail would have been quite challenging to climb in the sun as the trail offered almost no shade. The ranch turned out to be quite small. There was no cafe or modern toilets, like the ones that a thru hiker would appreciate at Vermilion Valley Resort. We learned that mail, such as our resupply buckets, was picked up at Florence Lake and brought in by either mules, horses or trucks. Once settled in at the campground established by South Fork San Joaquin River, we explored the area a little. We were told that there were hot springs across the river. My buddy Henry and I decided to check it out early next day. As the sun was setting, I grabbed my gear and headed down to the river, which was quite shallow. I set up my camera and waited for the sunset glow to be cast upon the ridge in the distance. Soon the bright orange glow slowly fell on the ridge while the tall pines along the river stood tall. I could taste every bit of serene tranquility permeating through the forest. Muir Trail Rach, Sierra National Forest, CA
Looked immaculate JMT DAY 14 - SUNRISE AT SALLIE KEYS LAKES Sunrise at Sallie Keys Lakes Once done capturing the sunrise glow cast on Mt. Henry and other peaks from a higher vantage point, I packed up my gear and retraced my trail across the rocky patch filled with manzanitas that were busy poking my legs second time around. What greeted me back at the campsite was the view of the sunrise glow cast on the ridge by the lake. And the shadow of the ridge on the other side of the lake was retrieving fast. I hopped down the boulders with my camera to be as close to the water as possible. Other than a few ripples caused by trouts, the reflection of the ridge in the water looked immaculate. Perfect mirror like symmetry pleased my eyes. The tranquil moment lasted till the shadow completely vanished. And soon it was time for breakfast and then to pack up and get moving. And our destination - MTR - awaited. Also our resupplies awaited. We were quite excited about that. Sallie Keys Lakes, Sierra National Forest, CA Water Sky Tranquility Tranquil Scene Scenics - Nature Lake Clear Sky Beauty In Nature Nature Reflection Rock No People Non-urban Scene Blue Outdoors Sallie Keys Lakes, Sierra Nevada, CA Eastern Sierra Selden Pass Sierra Nevada JMT John Muir Wilderness Sierra National Forest
As unhurriedly as possible JMT DAY 14 - SUNRISE AT SALLIE KEYS LAKES Sunrise at Sallie Keys Lakes I hate rushing. And that dawn was one of those moments where I felt like I was. Probably overslept by a half hour, I grabbed my gear and hastily bolted up the trail. While my heart was beating hard, I frantically surveyed the area. A huge boulder drew my attention. I got off the trail and scurried across a rocky patch of the slope as gaining a bit of elevation. The impassable manzanitas between these rocks constantly, and annoyingly, poked my legs. It had etched a very distinctive visual of Sallie Keys Lakes and the mountains beyond them in my mind while we were coming down from Selden Pass the day before. The view had never left my mind. The boulder, size of the original Hummer, it turned out, was flat on top, so I climbed it with a bit of effort. I set up my camera and checked the time. A sigh of relief followed, realizing that I wasn’t late. Starting with the tallest Mt. Henry (12,196’), the beautiful glow soon descended upon the peaks. While the grassy meadow filled with manzanitas was enveloping the tranquil lake, the mirror like lake held the reflection of the dense pine forest absolutely still. With the sky infused in the pink and blue Earth Shadow, the looming peaks were painted in unmistakable pink and orange. Elated, I savored the remaining minutes of solitude as unhurriedly as possible. Sallie Keys Lakes, Sierra National Forest, CA Tranquility Tranquil Scene Beauty In Nature Lake Scenics - Nature Reflection Mountain Sky No People Nature Idyllic Non-urban Scene Mountain Range Outdoors Sunrise Sallie Keys Lakes, Sierra Nevada, CA Eastern Sierra Mt. Henry Mountains Wilderness Backcountry Forest Meadow Selden Pass
Then my mind slowly drifted away JMT DAY 13 - MILKY WAY OVER SALLIE KEYS LAKES Milky Way over Sallie Keys Lakes Once the moon was set over the ridge, the Milky Way was clearly visible although the sky near the horizon was still quite illuminated by the sunken moon. And Mars, still relatively close to Earth (closest to Earth was 44 million miles away a couple of months ago), looked brighter. Or I was being tricked by my eyes. The ridge backlit by the moon slowly got darkened as the illumination of the sky faded. More stars started coming out, and soon the heavenly body was strewn with thousands of them. The wind was persistent throughout the night, but when it died down momentarily, it felt like as if everything stood still. The lake was so calm that I was able to make out almost every star scattered across the water. Then my mind slowly drifted away. Since we started, we had climbed over 4 passes, and now 5 more passes (Muir, Mather, Pinchot, Glen and Forester) to go before Trail Crest. Oh, and extra 2 more passes (Bishop and Kearsarge) to climb over to pick up resupplies. But, what I didn’t know then was that, except for Glen Pass, which I had climbed before, the 4 of them (Island, Donohue, Silver and Selden) had been relatively easy, compared to what was ahead of us. Sallie Keys Lakes, Sierra National Forest, CA Water Sky Night Lake Scenics - Nature Star - Space Reflection Beauty In Nature Astronomy Tranquility Tranquil Scene Nature Star Star Field Galaxy No People Sallie Keys Lakes, Sierra Nevada, CA Eastern Sierra Mars JMT John Muir Wilderness
Baying at moon JMT DAY 13 - STAR TRAILS OVER SELDEN PASS Star trails over Selden Pass Night fell at Sallie Keys Lakes. Although it was getting late, the sky wasn’t getting darker. Yes, the moon was out. It was so bright that its close proximity to the Milky Way washed out the galaxy. So, I turned around and aimed my camera toward Polaris. North Star was hung right above Selden Pass. ‘How cool is that?’ I thought to myself. And I got to work. Part of me though contemplated that I would have framed the shot differently - Polaris hung really low to the saddle - if we spent the very night at another lake called Heart Lake above us. Then I heard a couple of loud howls not too far from where I was. Echoed and reverberated against the wall of the ridges, the amplified sound was devilishly eerie. And the only animal that I thought could howl like that was coyotes. A couple of more howls followed, although that was the end of their baying at the moon. Soon, the ghostly silence was swallowed up by the sound of persistent winds. Sallie Keys Lakes, Sierra National Forest, CA John Muir Trail JMT John Muir Trail Wilderness Sierra Nevada Eastern Sierra North Star Polaris Sallie Keys Lakes, Sierra Nevada, CA Selden Pass Scenics - Nature Rock - Object Beauty In Nature No People Turning Mountain Spinning Nature Motion Sky Night Star - Space Long Exposure Astronomy Space Star Trail
Gentle spur behind ridge JMT DAY 13 - MT. SENGER AT SUNSET Mt. Senger at sunset As the sunset glow slowly started descending on the ridge, I swiftly moved about fifty yards down the lake, replanted my camera on the tripod and aimed it at the ridge of Mt. Senger (12,286’). The shallow water was still and reflected the ridge like mirror. The elevation at the east lake was about 10,200 feet, and it was about 2,000 feet to gain in elevation to summit Mt. Senger. There are two class-2 routes to the summit, and one of them starts from the east lake of Sallie Keys Lakes. If I am not mistaken, the route goes up a gentle spur behind the ridge in front of me. It can be reached via Selden Pass (10,800’) as well. The summit would offer a 360 degree view of the mountain range. Facing north, Mt. Hooper in the northwest to Seven Gables in the northeast and all the lakes in between, including Marie Lake. Facing south, spreads out Goddard Canyon, where Muir Ranch is located, and beyond Mt. Henry looms. Soon, the glow faded beyond the ridge crest, and the sky turned pink and blue. My favorite time of the day returned. Sallie Keys Lakes, Sierra National Forest, CA Water Reflection Rock Mountain Beauty In Nature Sky Lake No People Nature Tranquility Tranquil Scene Non-urban Scene Outdoors Sallie Keys Lakes, Sierra Nevada, CA Eastern Sierra JMT John Muir Trail Sunset Sunset Glow Wilderness Backcountry Adventure Sonyalpha Bealpha
And soon it did JMT DAY 13 - SALLIE KEYS LAKES AT SUNSET Sallie Keys Lakes at sunset Sallie Keys Lakes consisted of two lakes - first lake (to south bounders - east lake) and second lake (west lake). The view of the first lake, partially surrounded by dense forest, in the company of Mt. Henry (12,202’), part of Le Conte Divide, in the far distance, was simply spectacular as on our way down from Selden Pass. The second, sitting behind the forest, was hardly visible. I pitched my tent a little bit away from the site where my JMT buddy Henry did with an intention of staying close the second lake so that I didn’t have to walk a lot between the two lakes. With my camera gear, I went down the rocky slope and soon re-joined the main trail which led me to the little stream connecting the two lakes. At first I considered setting up my camera on the west side of the lake but quickly decided to go against it because of the sunset glow expected to be cast on Mt. Senger (12,286’) and its ridge line. So, instead, I was settled along the shore about 100 feet down from the stream. The long ridge line stretched as far as I could see with its reflection in the water just pleased my eye. Unlike the first, the second lake was very calm, thanks to the dense forest that divided the two. Then, it was just a matter of waiting for the orange glow to descend upon the ridge line. And soon it did. Sallie Keys Lakes, Sierra National Forest, CA Water Lake Sky Reflection Beauty In Nature Scenics - Nature Tranquility Tranquil Scene Cloud - Sky Nature Non-urban Scene Mountain No People Outdoors Idyllic Sallie Keys Lakes, Sierra Nevada, CA Eastern Sierra Sunset Sunset Glow Calm JMT John Muir Wilderness
Simply breathtaking JMT DAY 13 - CLOUDS OVER MARIE LAKE AND BEYOND Clouds over Marie Lake and beyond While climbing Seldon Pass (10,800’), the amazing view of Marie Lake from the switchbacks constantly stopped me. Part of me wished that I had spent at least a night by the lake, but regrettably it was not in our itinerary. Once we reached the pass, I dropped my heavy pack and grabbed my camera gear. What the pass offered was not only the beautiful view of the elongated lake but also the spectacular view of tall peaks and ridges rising beyond it. From Recess Peak (12,813′) to Seven Gables (13,100′) to Mt. Gabb (13,741′), the peaks stood tall as an army of clouds gently caressing them while slowly travelling overhead. It was simply breathtaking in every direction I turned, and I just wanted to explore more. The view of Mt. Hooper (12,349′) had welcomed me from the moment when I first hiked by the outlet of the lake, about 250 feet below the pass. The mountain, which I couldn’t stop looking at from Bear Ridge Trail the day before, now stood to my left. (It’s out of the frame.) Then, it was time to head down the pass. Sallie Keys Lakes, our destination for the day, was waiting for us. Seldon Pass, Sierra National Forest, CA Mountain Cloud - Sky Sky Beauty In Nature Scenics - Nature Tranquil Scene Mountain Range Lake Nature Landscape No People Non-urban Scene Outdoors Idyllic Marie Lake, Sierra Nevada, CA Seven Gables, Sierra Nevada, CA Selden Pass John Muir Trail JMT Eastern Sierra Sierra Nevada Wilderness Backcountry
Mirrored in lake JMT DAY 13 - CLOUDS OVER SELDON PASS MIRRORED IN MARIE LAKE Clouds over Seldon Pass mirrored in Marie Lake Before reaching Seldon Pass, my JMT buddy Henry and I decided to stop for lunch/snack at Marie Lake right below the pass. The gradual incline to the lake was quite demanding, especially with quite a bit of resupply that we were loaded only a day ago. So, even before stepping off the main trail to reach the lake, I thought this long lake was pleasantly inviting. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to capture the clouds hovering overhead mirrored in the lake. Very brief moments of calmness came and went. The winds blew over the ridges that surrounded the lake. There were a plenty of trees around the lake, unlike Silver Pass Lake, and one could really appreciate shade and wind block. Part of me wished that we had spent the night here. Guess one more reason to return. But then again, what made me more appreciative of the lake was its isolated location. Hikers must walk by this lake while going up to or coming down from Seldon Pass, so we came across quite a few folks at the lake. One of the hikers caught two trouts back to back within minutes as soon as making his first cast on the water. Once done resting and taking photos, we put on our heavy packs and started to march up the pass. And I was looking forward to the view from up there. Marie Lake, Sierra National Forest, CA Water Reflection Sky Lake Mountain Beauty In Nature Scenics - Nature Tranquility Tranquil Scene Cloud - Sky Nature Non-urban Scene No People Rock Idyllic Waterfront Mountain Range Reflection Lake Shallow Marie Lake, Sierra Nevada, CA Seldone Pass, Sierra Nevada, CA JMT Adventure Wilderness
Way that light made its way down | JMT DAY 13 - SUNRISE AT BEAR CREEK Sunrise at Bear Creek The sky was barely shed its dark shade when I crawled out of my tent. My body was still sluggish, waking up in the chilly morning air, as I fetched my gear. It felt like sauntering down to the creek was happening in slow motion. Or maybe my body was responding slowly as my eyes were still getting adjusted to the dim surroundings. What I liked about our campsites, besides the fact that it seemed not so popular but perfect for solitude, was that they were quite close to the creek. I planted the tripod at a spot I liked and composed a shot with the stream of water gushing down the creek like a broken faucet. And the I put down my favorite sit pad and sat on it. Soon my eyes were drifted away, searching for anything interesting. A waiting game. The sound of Bear Creek was deafening. And I thought either that my eardrums got completely numbed out or that I was still not fully awake. As the sun neared the top of the ridge, the sky lit up. And the way that light made its way down over the creek was quite pleasing. It was time to press the remote trigger. Bear Creek, Sierra National Forest, CA Tree Forest Water Land Motion Plant Rock Scenics - Nature Flowing Water Beauty In Nature Long Exposure Nature Rock - Object Blurred Motion Stream - Flowing Water Flowing Outdoors No People Bear Creek, Sierra Nevada Morning Eastern Sierras Sierra Nevada
It was about time | JMT DAY 12 - MILKY WAY AT MOOSET Milky Way at moonset While the moon was traversing the heavenly body, the Milky Way was washed out quite a bit due to its close proximity. It was getting late, but I decided to wait longer for the galactic core to be seen. I really liked Bear Creek. Although I often find creeks challenging to work with in terms of capturing the galaxy, due to mostly dense, tall trees, this creek offered some clearings, and it was just a matter of patience that one may wait long enough, or till the right time to freeze that moment when the galaxy was erected vertically to his/her liking. Bear Creek was definitely one of those places where I would love to go back and explore the area more. I gotta admit that reaching the creek via Bear Ridge Trail from VVR wasn’t a walk in the park. But the trail offered spectacular views of Mt. Hooper and other peaks as well as several stretches of Aspens along the trail itself. I even created a few waypoints telling myself that I would definitely come back in the fall. But for now it’ll have to wait till next fall. The moon dropped over the ridge that was still being illuminated. The galaxy was risen vertically by then. It was about time. Bear Creek, Sierra National Forest, CA Tree Beauty In Nature Forest Scenics - Nature Tranquility Sky Tranquil Scene Nature No People Water Non-urban Scene Outdoors Landscape Milky Way Moonset Bear Creek, Sierra Nevada Stars Astrophotography
Will us humans be around | I decided to post this star trails that I did at Thomas Edison Lake. JMT DAY 11 - STAR TRAILS AT THOMAS EDISON LAKE Star trails at Thomas Edison Lake Once done capturing the Milky Way over Thomas Edison Lake, I replanted my camera and pointed it at Polaris. By this time, the moon was hanging quite high, showering Earth with bright light. At least, this part of the planet anyway. Above the tall pines, the only thing my eyes only see was the heavenly body strewn with countless stars. While doing the star trails, I sat in the beach, letting myself get lost in solitude. But then the wind often snapped me out of it. Slightly trembling, it often surprised me that not a single soul was seen nor around. Just me, stars and the winds that never seemed to calm down. Polaris, aka North Star, is 433 light years away. That’s really far, and yet, it is extremely bright. What many people are not aware of is that it is a multiple star, three of them to be exact, and that it will no longer be called North Star in about 12,000 years. The fact that Earth wobbles causes its axis to move slightly. Vega in the constellation Lyra is expected to become our next North Star. But then, will us humans be around to witness that? Thomas Edison Lake, Sierra National Forest, CA Night Star - Space Astronomy Scenics - Nature Long Exposure Nature Sky Star Trail Beauty In Nature Tranquility Tranquil Scene No People Constellation Galaxy Landscape Motion Polaris North Star Thomas Edison Lake, CA Sierra Nevada Eastern Sierra Forest Trees Beach Vermilion Valley Resort
Red glow descended upon ridge | JMT DAY 10 - BEAR CREEK AT SUNSET Bear Creek at sunset On this day my buddy and I got separated. And when we met up again at Bear Creek Junction, which was our destination for the day, we realized that he took Bear Creek Trail and that I took Bear Ridge Trail. My understanding was that he mostly hiked along the creek on a gradual but persistent incline. I gained and lost a lot of elevations in the company of some spectacular scenes, such as Mt. Hooper. I was glad that I climbed the ridge although my heavy pack slowed me down quite a bit. After dinner, I stayed by the creek and waited for the sunset glow once I found a spot that I liked. While waiting, I wondered if we were going to have a sight of bears since the name of the creek bears just that. This silly thought was stemmed from a sight of deer that we enjoyed at Deer Creek several days ago. But then again, we saw many deer everywhere while hiking almost every day. The creek was flowing nicely. I wondered though how much of water would be running when snow melts in spring. As beautiful as it was, I got the sense that this wasn’t too popular. To be honest, it is always nice to find sites like this where I can enjoy solitude. Soon the red glow descended upon the ridge at the far end of the creek. Bear Creek, Sierra National Forest, CA Water Tree Long Exposure Scenics - Nature Forest Beauty In Nature Flowing Water Blurred Motion Motion Flowing Nature Non-urban Scene No People Stream - Flowing Water Outdoors Power In Nature Sunset Sunset Glow Bear Creek, Sierra Nevada Creek JMT Wilderness Nature Adventure
Persisted under moon | "JMT DAY 11 - MILKY WAY OVER THOMAS EDISON LAKE Milky Way over Thomas Edison Lake Once night fell at Thomas Edison Lake, I got the wide angle lenses on my cameras and went back to the shore. It was quite dark at first. Probably because my eyes had been adjusted to the lights at the resort. But the moon was to rise shortly, so I knew that I wasn’t going to stay in the dark for too long. I also knew that I didn’t have a whole lot of time to capture the Milky Way because of the moonrise. I sauntered around the lake clockwise from the landing for a good fifteen minutes to find a spot that I liked. But it meant that I was no longer be able to frame the valley that I had climbed down earlier since I now was facing southeast. With Mt. Hooper risen in the far distance, the wall of tall pines brimmed the earth. Tranquility slowly flowed through me. The sound of water ripples brushed by the gentle breeze filled the starry night sky. The stubbornly persisting low hum of the generator at the resort was now out of earshot. It was fascinating to conjure up the name of the inventor upon the lake that bears his name in the middle of the Sierra Nevada where the generator-produced electricity powered the stores and facilities at the resort. My mind was at ease, and it was only swayed and distracted by the breeze that persisted under the moon." Thomas Edison Lake, Vermillion Valley Resort, Sierra National Forest, CA Water Scenics - Nature Night Beauty In Nature Sky Reflection Lake Tranquil Scene Astronomy Tranquility Star Idyllic No People Milky Way Mars Jupiter Galaxy Long Exposure Moonrise Vermilion Valley Resort Thomas Edison Lake Sierra Nevada Eastern Sierra
Let solitude of self float away | "JMT DAY 10 - THOMAS EDISON LAKE AT SUNSET Thomas Edison Lake at sunset As we were descending into the steep valley, the elongated Thomas Edison Lake slowly came into view. The water definitely was low. While waiting at the landing for the ferry, the light rain forced us to produce ponchos a few times. It wasn’t a short ride to VVR, it turned out, so we were glad that we didn’t walk. What welcomed us there was a small but thriving community filled with workers, campers and guests staying at the cabins. It had been only (yes only) 4 days since we left Reds Meadow, but a hot shower was definitely something that we were looking forward to. Prior, we had kept hearing about this steak at VVR from quite a few northbounders, so we didn’t think twice about splurging on NY steaks for dinner. Gotta admit that it was a damn good steak. As the sky slowly dimmed through the dense forest, I fetched my camera gear and headed out to the shore. From afar Recess Peak rose beyond Bear Ridge. And as the sunset glow descended upon the mountains, the jagged peak glowed in red like amber. To its right the valley that we came down was sinking slowly under the pink clouds in the company of Earth’s Shadow. To its right the hilly ridge line ran all the way to Mt. Hooper. With no presence of another person near me, I just let a solitude of self float away in the water." Thomas Edison Lake, Vermillion Valley Resort, Sierra National Forest, CA Water Tranquility Beauty In Nature Lake Mountain Scenics - Nature Reflection Nature No People Non-urban Scene Idyllic Sunset Mountain Range Thomas Edison Lake, CA
Simply pleasing to eye | JMT DAY 10 - SUNRISE AT SILVER PASS LAKE Sunrise at Silver Pass Lake When I peeked out of my tent, it was still dark and definitely chilly. I knew that daybreak was still a half hour away but that it was time to get moving. I grabbed my gear and hurriedly headed over the huge rock near the outlet of the lake. I had already climbed to the top and scouted the area the day before, so I knew that I would have a great view of the layers of mountains in the east. From Mt. Gabb (13,741’) on the left to Mt. Hilgard (13,361’) all the way to Mt. Hooper (12,349’) on the right. Once it was done, I quickly returned to the lake and set up my camera to capture the glow on the ridge in the west side of the lake. To my pleasant surprise, the calm water reflected the rocky ridgeline that ran all the way to Silver Pass like mirror. It was simply pleasing to the eye. I wished I had had more time to stick around and enjoy the morning, but it was time to pack up and get on with the day. We had a bit of distance to cover (just over 7 miles) to reach the east end of Thomas Edison Lake to catch a ferry. Our destination - VVR. Silver Pass Lake, Sierra National Forest, CA Water Beauty In Nature Rock Scenics - Nature Tranquility Tranquil Scene Mountain Sky Rock - Object Nature Non-urban Scene Mountain Range Lake Idyllic Clear Sky Outdoors Mountain Peak Silver Pass Lake, Sierra Nevada Silver Pass, Sierra Nevada Sunrise Sunrise Glow Reflection Sierra Nevada Eastern Sierra Wilderness
Long Exposure Star - Space Astronomy Water Star Trail Night Rock Nature Motion Scenics - Nature No People Beauty In Nature Mountain Spinning Silver Pass Lake, Sierra Nevada Silver Pass, Sierra Nevada Polaris North Star Night Sky Little Dipper JMT John Muir Trail Outdoors Wilderness Adventure
Lonesome gazer at lake | JMT DAY 9 - MILKY WAY OVER SILVER PASS LAKE Milky Way over Silver Pass Lake By the time when we arrived at Silver Pass, which offered us a spectacular view, an excessive amount of clouds were rolling in the area fast, and the winds started picking up in every direction, as if it didn’t make up its mind. We hurriedly tramped down the pass and soon reached Silver Pass Lake. It was quite windy and we definitely felt that a shower was in store. It wasn’t easy to find a spot where our camp could be sheltered in behind trees, but eventually we found one, and a quick downpour was only a few seconds away from completing our camp setup. This long lake that sat at the foot of Silver Pass was quite barren with no trees. The winds swept through the basin like a wind tunnel. The part of the shore where I ended up to capture the Milky Way offered no protection from the winds, and I had to just toughen it out in my layered clothes. Part of me really wished that I had brought my sleeping bag with me to keep myself warm. As expected the galaxy, led by Jupiter, appeared and traversed the sky, and soon Mars followed. The elongated reflection of the red planet in the water looked quite mesmerizing. As if the glow was trying to reach out to the lonesome gazer at the lake. Silver Pass Lake, Sierra National Forest, CA Star - Space Sky Water Night Scenics - Nature Astronomy Space Beauty In Nature Tranquil Scene Tranquility Star Galaxy No People Nature Lake Reflection Idyllic Milky Way Outdoors Astrophotography Reflection Silver Pass Lake, Sierra Nevada Silver Pass, Sierra Nevada Marsh Adventure
Solitude of afternoon | JMT DAY 9 - CLOUDS LINGERING OVER CHIEF LAKE Clouds lingering over Chief Lake Before reaching Silver Pass, I made a stop at Chief Lake, one of the lakes below the pass. Although it was not a small lake, not a single soul was around enjoying the view. It seemed like one of those lakes no one stopped to enjoy, just like Hitchcock Lakes below Trail Crest. It only meant that I kept it all to myself and enjoyed solitude of afternoon. What a beautiful lake. At first the winds that constantly blew didn’t let me capture the reflection of the ridge surrounding the lake below the pass. So, I considered doing long exposure. But, I had to keep up with my JMT buddy Henry. So, I decided to go against it. Very brief moments of calmness came and went, and I saw the clouds forming super fast over the ridge. It was quite exhilarating to watch how quickly these clouds form and dissipate over and over. Such a beautiful and awe-inspiring imagery can turn the whole place upside down in a matter of minutes. I really hoped that they wouldn’t turn into rain clouds till I at least reached the pass. And they did didn’t. I wished I had had more time at the lake. But I knew I had to go. I reluctantly packed away my gear and put on my heavy backpack. Chief Lake, Sierra National Forest, CA Water Sky Cloud - Sky Mountain Scenics - Nature Lake Reflection Beauty In Nature Tranquil Scene Tranquility Nature No People Mountain Range Idyllic Non-urban Scene Outdoors Chief Lake, Sierra Nevada Nature Landscape JMT Adventure
What enveloped my ears JMT DAY 8 - MILKY WAY OVER TULLY HOLE Milky Way over Tully Hole Dusk turned into night. And as I expected, the Milky Way slowly faded into view in the middle of the sky over the rocky ridge line. I knew I didn’t have a whole lot of time capturing it from where I was because the pines by the creek jutted up high into the sky would blot out the view of the galactic core. The sound of Fish Creek rushing was more deafening as the night got darker. And yet the sky seemed brighter as more stars coming out. Soon my eyes were fully adjusted to what was surrounding me again. While my eyes were fixated at the galaxy in silent wonderment, what enveloped my ears was the resonance of the forest… Pines and Spruces exhaling through the cool air, the creek swirling and swerving slowly carving out its path, the hollow branches crackling and twigs breaking nonstop... Then, my mind slowly drifted away and started wondering how often Tully Hole was visited by furry omnivores. So far we had not run into any of them, and we hoped it stayed that way. In spite of our bear canisters. The damp forest felt colder as the temperature further dropped. The galaxy rose quite perpendicularly to Earth. It was time to call it a night. Tully Hole, Sierra National Forest, CA Beauty In Nature Scenics - Nature Star - Space Space Astronomy Mountain Galaxy Night Tranquil Scene Tranquility Nature No People Star Milky Way Mountain Range Tully Hole, Sierra Nevada Fish Creek, Sierra Nevada Creek Long Exposure Astrophotography Outdoors Nature Adventure
Suffused with pink | JMT DAY 8 - TULLY HOLE AT SUNSET Tully Hole at sunset When we arrived at Tully Hole, where the JMT meets the trail to McGee Pass, the light sprinkling, which had already begun since we left Lake Virginia, turned into a shower. Thankfully though the dense forest sheltered us a little bit while setting up our camp. Once the rain stopped, hikers holed up inside their tents the whole time since we got there started crawling out. By then we were already done with our dinner and started scouting the area. My hope was to cross Fish Creek, running parallel to the creek till it diverged into Cascade Valley, and to find a higher vantage point where I could frame the area with the sun in the background. But no footbridge nor log to cross was in sight. The rapidly flowing water didn’t look safe even without camera gear. So, instead of any attempt in vain, I plodded down the trail for about 200 yards till this clearing presented itself. To my eye it was also perfect for night sky. I hopped down the slope toward the creek and set up my cameras fairly close to the water. But, as I waited, the glow that I had expected to see cast on the rocky ridge never materialized. I suspected that the lingering clouds in the west sky must have diffused the light. To my pleasant surprise though, the clouds hovering overhead got suffused with pink. Tully Hole, Sierra National Forest, CA Sky Beauty In Nature Scenics - Nature Mountain Nature Tranquility Tranquil Scene Water Cloud - Sky No People Rock Non-urban Scene Sunset Idyllic Outdoors Flowing Water Flowing Tully Hole, Sierra Nevada Fish Creek, Sierra Nevada Mountains Eastern Sierras Long Exposure Sunset Glow Adventure
Lost myself | JMT DAY 8 - SUNRISE AT DUCK LAKE Sunrise at Duck Lake When I awoke, the stars still shone in the sky. But, not for long, thinking to myself, I hurriedly walked to the lookout point off of the trail. Catching the sunrise glow cast on Silver Divide was my first objective. I had my eye on this divide as we were coming up the day before. The pale ridge line juxtaposed against the gorgeous Earth’s Shadow started glowing fast in bright red. It was truly a sublime moment. Once the glow faded, I packed up my gear and ambled back to the lake. The glow that would be cast on the northeast slope of the lake where the trail continued crossing diagonally toward Mammoth Crest, aka Duck Lake Pass, was next. The manzanitas and trees concentrated along the shore added an extra layer of texture. Like many, I am such a sucker for tranquil reflections of the mountains in the water. And it was no different here. Before the wind started disturbing the mirror-like reflection, I completely lost myself in such a mesmerizing moment. Duck Lake, Sierra National Forest, CA Water Tranquil Scene Beauty In Nature Scenics - Nature Tranquility Sky Nature Lake Non-urban Scene No People Idyllic Clear Sky Mountain Range Reflection Outdoors Duck Lake, CA JMT Sunrise Sunrise Glow Morning Adventure Eastern Sierras
Straight out of fairy tale | JMT DAY 7 - MILKY WAY AND PERSEIDS OVER DUCK LAKE OUTLET Milky Way and Perseids over Duck Lake outlet On my way back to the campsite after taking shots of the Milky Way with a higher vantage point, the mesmerizing reflection of the galaxy at the outlet of Duck Lake literally stopped me. It was getting late, but I just couldn’t take my eyes off of it. The shallow outlet filled with fallen trees as if beavers created a dam and brimmed with tall trees that blocked high winds seemed to be just a perfect sanctuary for solitude. With the sky lit up with the stars, the purple wildflower decorated pool seemed like straight out of a fairy tale. With the backdrop of the galaxy traveling across the sky strewn with thousands of stars, the Perseid Meteor Shower continued. I never got tired of counting them in wonderment. Mars seemed to be shining brighter than usual that night although the red planet must’ve traveled farther away from us since a couple of months ago when it was at the closest distance to Earth. Part of me wanted to stick around a bit longer to enjoy solitude here, but I knew better. I had to get up early next morning to catch sunrise. Duck Lake, Sierra National Forest, CA Tree Water Scenics - Nature Beauty In Nature Night Sky Tranquility Tranquil Scene Star - Space Astronomy Nature Reflection Lake No People Star Idyllic Non-urban Scene Outdoors Duck Milky Way Mars Adventure Astrophotography Night Sky Galaxy
Could not have been timed any better JMT DAY 7 - MILKY WAY OVER DUCK LAKE Milky Way over Duck Lake It was getting dark fast at Duck Lake once the sun fell behind the mountains. The twilight sky was clear of clouds, and the winds stopped blowing fairly often to let the stars shine in the water. In order to capture the reflection of the Milky Way, I knew I had to be on the opposite side of the lake (as opposed to the outlet of the lake where most of the campsites were), so I decided to hike up the trail towards Mammoth Crest, aka Duck Lake Pass. I didn’t know how far up the trail that I had to trek to find a spot. By the time I was settled down on a huge slab in the talus off the trail, which was precarious, to say the least, the reflection of the galaxy was almost reaching the lakeshore. I quickly set up my cameras. In the company of Mars, Jupiter and meteoroids, the galactic core shone brightly and was majestically traversing across the heavenly body. The Perseid Meteor Shower continued throughout the night, which I lost count after a while. Although I enjoy this particular meteor shower every August, I thought to myself that it could not have been timed any better than this night to witness the spectacular astronomical event unfolding before my eyes. Duck Lake, Sierra National Forest, CA Perseid Meteor Shower Perseids Mars Sierra National Forest Eastern Sierra Duck Lake, CA Mountain Peak Outdoors Reflection No People Mountain Range Idyllic Lake Galaxy Nature Astronomy Tranquility Tranquil Scene Water Mountain Star - Space Sky Beauty In Nature Night Scenics - Nature
Worth every drop of sweat | JMT DAY 7 - DUCK LAKE AT SUNSET Duck Lake at sunset The day’s hike from Deer Creek to Duck Lake was not long but consisted of a stretch of long and gradual incline and a mile long steep incline of multiple switchbacks from Duck Lake Junction to the lake. The clouds hovering over us and sprinkling on us while going up worried us a bit, but they mostly stayed on the other side of the lake by the time when we were done setting up our camp. The lake was simply beautiful. No wonder why it attracted quite a few day hikers over Mammoth Crest, aka Duck Lake Pass, from Mammoth Lakes. I had no idea how close the lake was from the town. Although it was never one of resupply options we considered, a hiker just returning from the town after resupply pickup shared some ideas. The glow cast on the southeast ridge line was quite intense. And I thought to myself that it was worth every drop of sweat that I shed while going up the last mile from the junction. The winds that had been blowing pretty much all day were eventually dying down just in time for the sunset. Wondered if they were the permanent residents of this lake when we saw a flock of six ducks earlier although none of them was around at sunset. Also wondered how the name of the lake came about. Duck Lake, Sierra National Forest, CA Water Scenics - Nature Mountain Beauty In Nature Sky Reflection Tranquil Scene Lake Tranquility Cloud - Sky Mountain Range Nature Idyllic No People Sunset Outdoors Remote Duck Lake, CA Sierra National Forest Long Exposure JMT Wilderness Backpacking
In stream of meteoroids | JMT DAY 6 - MILKY WAY AND PERSEIDS OVER DEER CREEK Milky Way and Perseids over Deer Creek Ever lingering smoke at Reds Meadow, predominantly from Lions Fire, gradually dissipated as we continued our journey southbound. The skies cleared up, and the fresh air filled our lungs. And we were assured by the northbound hikers that the rest of the trail would be clear of smoke. When we arrived at Deer Creek Campground, not a single soul was seen at first. Although later three more hikers joined us, solitude was easily found. While my JMT buddy Henry journaling the day on the voice recorder, I was scouting the area for sunset and night photography. The downside of camping here and later on at other creeks, as far as photography was concerned, was that it was quite challenging to find clearings, specifically for the galactic core, while having interesting subjects in the foreground. However, one of the upsides was that it got very dark at nightfall. As we were two nights away from the supposedly most visible night of the Perseid Meteor Shower this year, I was extremely delighted by the sight of the heavenly body already frequently showered in the stream of meteoroids. While the galaxy was slowly plying across the star strewn sky. While Mars was smearing its red glow on the water surfaces here on earth. Deer Creek, Sierra National Forest, CA Forest Beauty In Nature Tranquility Scenics - Nature Tranquil Scene Nature No People Night Water Non-urban Scene Idyllic Outdoors Sky Deer Creek, Sierra Nevada, CA Milky Way Galaxy Meteor Shower Perseid Meteor Shower Perseids Stars Astrophotography
Jutted upwards reaching for stars JMT DAY 5 - STAR TRAILS OVER DEVILS POSTPILE Star trails over Devils Postpile What waited at Reds Meadow for us was smoky skies caused by another fire called Lions Fire. It was as thick as hazy mist that never seems to lift at chilly morning. The smoke was burung inside our lungs. First order of business at Reds Meadow was resupply. Our resupplies were delivered at the campground by Henry’s family, while his son being picked up and ending his short journey with us on the trail. Once our camp was set up, we headed over to the resort where we took a shower and got our batteries charged. Night fell, and it was time for astrophotography. I retraced our track back to Devils Postpile, where we had plodded by before reaching the campground. I dawdled up and down the trails around the monument to find a good spot to frame it with the Milky Way, rising in the southwest. But I soon learned that it was not possible because the galaxy and the monument simply could not be aligned together while the monument’s iconic facade was facing west. So, I decided to do star trails instead. Very simple composition - posts erected in slight curvy shape was the center of the focus with the piles of crumpled posts in the foreground and stars traveling across the heavenly body. Devils Postpile National Monument, Sierra Nevada, CA Beauty In Nature Astronomy Night Scenics - Nature Star - Space Space Tranquil Scene Tranquility Nature Star Long Exposure No People Motion Outdoors Star Trails Devils Postpile National Monument National Park Service National Monument Night Sky JMT John Muir Trail Sierra Nevada
Felt like dream | JMT DAY 5 - SUNRISE AT ROSALIE LAKE Sunrise at Rosalie Lake When I awoke, to my pleasant delight, the sky was filled with cirrocumulus clouds, or altocumulus. I grabbed my cameras and hastily strolled along the lake and over to this rocky area at the opposite side of the lake from the campground. Contrary to the impression that I had got the night before that there would be no easy way to climb it, it was not too difficult to make my way up. After ten minutes or so, I found myself standing on this huge slab jutted out over the lake. Probably twenty feet high from the water, which was so calm that the heavenly body could have been found there. The clouds were rapidly traveling overhead like the running of the bulls, and the entire lake was soon overcrowded with gorgeous brush strokes of sunrise glow. It felt like a dream. I could not believe my eyes. As the glow faded, the sky brightened, and I wished I could have spent another day there. And yet I knew I had a distance to cover. When I rose to my feet, they weren’t moving as if they were glued to the slab. I can’t wait to go back. Rosalie Lake, Inyo National Forest, CA Rosalie Lake Beauty In Nature Cloud - Sky Eastern Sierra Forest Lake Long Exposure Mountain Nature No People Non-urban Scene Outdoors Reflection Reflection Lake Scenics - Nature Sierra Nevada Sunrise Tranquil Scene Tranquility Water Waterfront
Part of scene | JMT DAY 4 - MILKY WAY OVER ROSALIE LAKE Milky Way over Rosalie Lake The sky darkened as night fell at Rosalie Lake. Maybe it was the small size of the lake that seemed to be overpopulated with trouts. Maybe the rocks risen like rolling hills letting the heavenly body stretched overhead from one end of the other in a planetarium. Or maybe the dense forest enclosing the lake with a sense of peace and seclusion from the outside world. I was no longer looking in a fish bowl. I was part of the scene. The winds that had been brushing against the water for quite some time persisted in the dark. The stirring never ceased, like a glass of water quivering in a constant hum. Either the wind itself was stirring the water or the sound of it was vibrating it, it was clear that no reflection of the stars was promised. As the night got darker, the stars shone brighter. As if heaven dropped to earth that much closer to listen what was constantly disturbing the tranquility. Rosalie Lake, Inyo National Forest, CA Galaxy Inyo National Forest JM Jupiter Mars Rosalie Lake Astronomy Beauty In Nature Idyllic Lake Long Exposure Milky Way Mountain Nature Night Sky Non-urban Scene Reflection Rock - Object Scenics - Nature Sky Stars And Stripes Tranquil Scene Tranquility Water
Slowly sinking into dark | JMT DAY 4 - ROSALIE LAKE AT SUNSET Rosalie Lake at sunset : JMT201804001 Since I had never camped at Rosalie Lake, although day hiked it before, it was quite pleasantly surprising to find beautiful campsites around the lake. Tall trees, old pines needles laid grounds, a small creek running by… It reminded me a little bit of Usal Campground that I camped at when I was backpacking the Lost Coast Trail a few years ago. The lake was constantly stirred by the hungry, self-serving trouts catching flies, and part of me wished that I had brought a fishing rod. Part of me also wished to jump in for a quick swim, considering how sweaty the climb had been from Shadow Lake. However, by the time when I was done setting up my tent and with dinner, lack of time just made me reach for my camera gear without thinking twice. Despite the fact that the smoke infused hazy sky persisted, the sunset glow started descending upon the top of the forest surrounding this little lake and the hills behind it in the southeast. And the lake was slowly sinking into the dark. Rosalie Lake, Inyo National Forest, CA JM Rosalie Lake Sierra Sunset Glow Tranquility Beauty In Nature Forest Idyllic Lake Long Exposure Mountain Nature No People Non-urban Scene Outdoors Scenics - Nature Sunset Tranquil Scene Tranquility Water
In our lifetime | JMT DAY 3 - MILKY WAY OVER BANNER PEAK AND THOUSAND ISLAND LAKE Milky Way over Banner Peak and Thousand Island Lake: JMT201803003 As the evening grew darker, the faint Milky Way appeared in the middle of the sky, contrary to the same galaxy appearing over the ridge line in mid-June. The wind stopped blowing, which promised a tranquil night with the stillness of Banner Peak in the water. Jupiter and Mars were traversing along with our galaxy across the sky strewn with thousands of stars, and I was simply mesmerized yet again. I recently finished reading a book called Black Hole Blues, chronicling the journey of scientists for over 50 years trying to detect gravitational waves, like Einstein had predicted. This effort, resulting in detecting its first gravitational wave in late 2015, having travelled the universe 1.4 billion light years, got me more curious about spacetime. Eventually (after billions of years, when the human species will be likely long gone) all the stars will die, like our sun will in about 5 billion years (although our galaxy will likely collide with the Andromeda Galaxy first). And they will turn into black holes, which eventually will also disappear. Regardless of any of that, it is truly remarkable to witness what already had happened billion light years ago in our lifetime. Thousand Island Lake, Inyo National Forest, CA Banner Peak Jupiter Mars Reflection Thousand Island Lake Astronomy Beauty In Nature Eastern Sierras Galaxy Lake Milky Way Mountain Nature Night No People Outdoors Reflection Scenics - Nature Sierra Nevada Sky Star - Space Stars Tranquil Scene Tranquility Water
Glow got my heart racing | JMT DAY 3 - BANNER PEAK AND THOUSAND ISLAND LAKE AT SUNSET Banner Peak and Thousand Island Lake at sunset: JMT201803001 Our third day #JMT stop was Thousand Island Lake with the iconic view of Banner Peak, which made our day extremely short, hiking only a couple of miles from Island Pass. Once we were settled at one of the campsites, we actually spent late morning swimming in the lake. The water was cold at first, not warm yet in the hazy morning sun, but we managed to enjoy our ‘bath’. We also washed our clothes (and dried in the hazy sun). The short day meant that I had more time to scout the area. Especially I had backpacked here less than two months ago, so I wanted to photograph Banner Peak in different angles. I strolled down the shore and came across this spot. Just in time to capture the sunset glow on the rocks in the foreground. The smoke was pretty bad for most of the day, which we thought was due to the Ferguson Fire, but later we learned that another fire called Lions Fire, near Devils Postpile, was to blame. For the last two days, we even hiked with the respirators that we brought on and off. By the time when the sun was setting, the lake was clear of the smoke quite a bit, thanks to the windy, but it also meant no reflections in the water. Nonetheless, the sunset glow got my heart racing. Thousand Island Lake, Inyo National Forest, CA Banner Peak Lions Fire Reflection Smoke Sunset Glow Thousand Island Lake Beauty In Nature Eastern Sierras Idyllic Long Exposure Mountain Mountain Peak Mountain Range Nature No People Non-urban Scene Outdoors Rock Rock - Object Scenics - Nature Sierra Nevada Smoky Sky Sunset Tranquility Water
As expected | JMT DAY 3 - BANNER PEAK AT SUNRISE Banner Peak at sunrise: JMT201803002 Morning arrived at Island Pass. It was still dark and chilly when I got out of my tent. I surveyed the area quickly with my camera gear over my shoulder and eventually decided to go back to the spot where I had captured the Milky Way and its reflections in the water the night before. Unlike last mid-June when I camped here, the view of Banner Peak was less obstructed by the trees, so it was easier to compose a shot that I wanted. The water was calm, almost mirror like, which promised a clear reflection of the peak and the glow that would be cast on it. Part of me wished though that a bit of clouds in the sky would have added a bit more texture and colors to the shot that I was composing, but the thought quickly left me as soon as the sky started getting permeated in subtle blue and pink hues, one of my favorite moments of a day - Earth’s Shadow. As it slowly subsided, the peak started getting rather rapidly perfused in faint pink glow and soon light orange. And then it started glowing in bright orange and red. As expected. And it was beautiful. Island Pass, Inyo National Forest, CA Banner Peak Island Pass Beauty In Nature Clear Sky Eastern Sierra Idyllic Mountain Mountain Range Nature No People Outdoors Reflection Reflection Lake Scenics - Nature Sierra Nevada Sky Sony Alpha Sunrise Sunrise Glow Symmetry Tranquil Scene Tranquility Water
Our galaxy would look same | JMT DAY 2 - MILKY WAY OVER BANNER PEAK SEEN FROM ISLAND PASS Milky Way over Banner Peak seen from Island Pass: JMT201802003 The night was calm, and the sky was clear of smoke. The faint Milky Way got slowly brighter as the sky got darker. Thousands of stars were strewn across the heavenly body. Soon Mars followed, and its bright reflection in the lake was just unmistakable. Mars is the planet that everyone who is into us becoming an interplanetary species is looking at lately. But, let alone the fact that we wouldn’t be able to breathe or walk around like we do here on earth, there is no water that we can call lakes and walk around. It is projected that it would take at least six months to travel to Mars one way. And space radiation is considered number one risk in sending humans to Mars at this point. I understand that it is the first step to become an interplanetary species, followed by more space travels and planet discoveries in the future, although many will be born on other planets once we become a true interplanetary species, I wonder if it is truly worth leaving everything behind. But one thing is certain. Our galaxy would look the same when it were seen from Mars. Island Pass, Inyo National Forest, CA Banner Peak Island Pass Mars Astronomy Beauty In Nature Galaxy Lake Long Exposure Milky Way Mountain Nature Night Night Sky No People Outdoors Reflection Scenics - Nature Sky Space Star Star - Space Tranquil Scene Tranquility Water Wilderness
Light was magical JMT DAY 2 - BANNER PEAK SEEN FROM ISLAND PASS AT SUNSET Banner Peak seen from Island Pass at sunset: JMT201802002 After a long afternoon of struggling, we arrived at Island Pass. One of the thru-hikers we leapfrogged a few times said it right. Climbing two passes on a day wasn’t the smartest idea. When we started our second day, we were still just above 10,000 feet, which meant that we had to gain about 900 feet to go over Donohue Pass. The loss of 1,400 feet (not fun for my knees and toes) followed as we hiked all the way down to Rush Creek, and we gained another 600 feet. My legs were noodles, and still recovering from the first day’s long hike, I was very glad that we were done. Once done with dinner, I grabbed my camera gear and walked around the lake. The wind that had been blowing nonstop most of the day miraculously calmed down just in time. What a relief, I thought to myself and that the reflection would be mirror like. Thankfully, the sky was clear of smoke. Mostly. Soon, the sun started casting a gorgeous orange glow on the iconic Banner Peak. Compared to the last trip that I made in mid-June, the snow was pretty much all gone, except for the glacier lingering all year round. The colors were beautiful, and the light was magical. Not a whole lot of mosquitoes to deal with. It was quite a tranquil evening. Island Pass, Inyo National Forest, CA Banner Peak Calm Inyo National Forest Island Pass Nature Sunset Glow Backcountry Beauty In Nature Idyllic Lake Mountain Mountain Peak Mountain Range Nature No People Outdoors Reflection Scenics - Nature Solitude Sunset Tranquil Scene Tranquility Water Wilderness
Hope it was unsweetened | JMT DAY 2 - SUNRISE AT LAKE BELOW DONOHUE PASS First lake below Donohue Pass to Island Pass: JMT201802001 Morning arrived at Donohue Pass and Mt. Lyell. It was a rather chilly one due to its elevation (about 10,180 feet). But then again, it was just one of many considerably-not-so-high lakes that we would hike to or camp at in the course of the following 30 days on the #JohnMuirTrail, or #JMT. Also, it marked the first morning for me to get up early, obviously way before sunrise, so that I could be ready. And it was still dark. The crisp and cold air embraced me as soon as I stepped out of my tent. Obviously though I had no idea that I was starting this getting-up-early, staying-up-late routine for the following 30 days. Yay me. The sunrise glow was cast on the tip of the peaks, including Mt. Lyell. And it was quite intense orange and beautiful. Such a bright and almost hypnotic glow. Can’t get enough of it. And it was the reason why I got up that early! Did I mention that the mountain is the tallest peak (13,114 feet) in Yosemite National Park? Maybe I should consider day hiking it one day. I was delighted by the fact that the reflection of the glow in the water came through. As if somebody just stirred the large pouch of the Orange Kool Aid in it. Hope it was unsweetened. Soon, the glow faded. And it was time for me to return to my tent and get myself coffee. Donohue Pass, Yosemite National Park, CA Donohue Pass Lyell Fork Mt. Lyell Sunrise Silhouette Yosemite National Park Backcountry Beauty In Nature Flowing Flowing Water Idyllic John Muir Trail Lake Long Exposure Mountain Mountain Range Nature No People Non-urban Scene Remote Scenics - Nature Sunrise Tranquil Scene Tranquility Water Wilderness
First night on John Muir Trail JMT DAY 1 - MILKY WAY OVER MT. LYELL AND FORK BELOW DONOHUE PASS Tuolumne Meadows to first lake below Donohue Pass: JMT201801002 Night fell at the first lake below Donohue Pass. Contrary to my worry that the night sky would be quite hazy by the smoke from the Ferguson Fire, the heavenly body stayed clear and the stars shone bright. Of course, the Milky Way was going to be erected quite vertically by the time when it was dark enough for it to be seen since it was already early August. The upside of it was that I didn’t have to wait too long to capture the galactic core fully seen even though it wasn’t late. For instance, it was already clearly visible at around 9:45 pm PST, as opposed to close to midnight if it were some time in June. The downside of it of course was that the duration of the galaxy traversing the night sky was a whole lot shorter. In fact, it was pretty much half the duration, compared to some time in June. I knew that me being near the outlet of the lake would not let me be able to frame Mt. Lyell and its adjacent peaks AND the Milky Way together when it rose. So, I had scouted father down Lyell Fork and found a spot that I could work with. Once it was dark, I returned to the spot and composed my shot. It had been a long day. I didn’t even eat dinner till I was done with the sunset shots. And when I did, I chowed it down fast so that I could be ready for astrophotography. Did I already mention that I had been lugging a 70 plus lb backpack during the day? The camera gear alone weighed 30 lb. I was physically exhausted. But I wanted to make the whole experience of being out there worthwhile. And I was truly a happy camper capturing the beautiful moments on the first night on the John Muir Trail. Donohue Pass, Yosemite National Park, CA Donohue Pass Galaxy Lyell Fork Yosemite National Park Adventure Astronomy Astrophotography Beauty In Nature Forest Long Exposure Milky Way Nature Night Night Sky No People Non-urban Scene Outdoors Reflection Scenics - Nature Sky Space Star - Space Tranquil Scene Tranquility Water
Quite glorious and yet mysterious JMT DAY 1 - SUNSET AT FIRST LAKE BELOW DONOHUE PASS Tuolumne Meadows to first lake below Donohue Pass: Still JMT201801001 As part of the follow-up on my 31-day John Muir Trail (JMT, #JMT2018) thru hike journey, I am going to post many photos throughout the remaining of the month of September and the month of October (till I finish the JMT timelapse). I must say that choosing which photos to edit among 2TB of photos, and it is quite time consuming, and yet who is complaining? LOL I’ve decided to include brief info, such as what day and where each photo was taken. It’ll help those of you keep track of the JMT journey southbound (aka SoBo) visually in case you’d like to thru-hike it one day. If you were following the news closely, the Ferguson Fire in Yosemite National Park was burning a lot of acres of wilderness throughout the park and started threatening the closure of the park due to the smoke around the time when we were getting ready for the trip. It had already led to the closure of a few roads in the park and eventually forced the park to close the Yosemite Valley, followed by the mandatory evacuation of not only the visitors but also all the national park personnel, including the park rangers, leading up to the week when we were to start our thru-hike. To make the long story short, in spite of all the hurdles that we had to jump through, my JMT buddy Henry @el_t0r0_l0c0 (and his son) and I were able to arrive in Tuolumne Meadows. By this time, starting from the Happy Isles was simply out of the question (due to the evacuation). Unless we went 30 miles down into the valley and came back although the idea didn’t occur to us then. The meadows and the Lyell Canyon were filled with a thick plume of smoke from the aforementioned fire for most of the first day. (Did I say that ashes were falling in Tuolumne Meadows?) After a long day (about 8 hours) of hiking with a lot of elevation gain (1,700 plus feet), we arrived at the campsite by the first lake (there are two lakes) below Donohue Pass. Because it was getting late, we decided to camp here (as opposed to our initial plan to camp at the second lake). We learned that this lake turned out to be quite popular. I was able to set up my cameras near the outlet of the lake where I believed I was looking at Mt. Lyell, the highest peak in Yosemite National Park (13,120 feet), before the sun started casting sunset glow on them. And the glow cast on this particular mountain was quite glorious and yet mysterious at the same time, as it was the farthest point that my eyes could see. The Lyell Glacier understandably sunk in the shadows of the ridgeline of Mt. Mclure. In spite of the smoke that dominated the sky pretty much throughout the day, this side of Lyell Canyon was less heavily affected. Of course, what we didn’t know then was that the other side of Donohue Pass was quite hazy due to the smoke blowing up from south. And, yes, it was caused by another fire. Donohue Pass, Yosemite National Park, CA Donohue Pass JMT John Muir Trail Lyell Fork Lyell Galcier Mt. Lyell Sunset Glow Yosemite National Park Backcountry Beauty In Nature Idyllic Lake Mountain Mountain Range Nature No People Outdoors Reflection Scenics - Nature Sierra Nevada Sunset Tranquil Scene Tranquility Water Wilderness
Till you get it When I woke up next morning, the sky was clear. As if the rain that came down hard overnight never happened. But then again, that is how it is in the mountains. Unpredictable. I grabbed my gear and climbed the rocky hump that I considered the best vantage point to the lake. Soon the sun rose, and the gorgeous orange glow descended across the top of the peaks. And as I patiently waited, the reflection of the glow spread across the lake like gently applied Smucker’s orange jam across a piece of toast. It may not work out in the morning. It may not work out in the evening. And it may not even work out for night sky. But get up and try again. Till you get it. South Lake, CA Reflection South Lake, Bishop Beauty In Nature Eastern Sierra Idyllic Lake Mountain Mountain Range Mountains Nature No People Outdoors Peaks Reflection Rock Rock - Object Scenics - Nature Sierra Nevada Solid Sunrise Sunrise Glow Tranquil Scene Tranquility Water
Clouds were moving in fast Night fell at South Lake. I found myself back at the best vantage point to the lake. All the clouds that had lingered over the lake earlier seemed to have moved on, and I was quite excited about the prospect of capturing the Milky Way in the clear night sky over the lake. Particularly, I knew this vantage point would be perfect to capture unobstructed reflections of the galaxy and the stars in the water. As I started taking shots of the galaxy though, I saw the left corner of the frame was turning darker. What appeared to be a clear night sky less than a half hour ago was becoming a very cloudy one! And the clouds were moving in fast! After taking a few shots, the nonstop raindrops forced me to pack up my gear and walk away. And I barely made it back to my car dry. South Lake, CA Jupiter South Lake, Bishop Astronomy Astrophotography Beauty In Nature Clouds Eastern Sierra Galaxy Milky Way Mountain Nature Night No People Outdoors Reflection Scenics - Nature Sierra Nevada Sky Star - Space Stars Tranquil Scene Tranquility Water
Perfect moment can only last so long Probably because I was not 100% satisfied with the morning’s sunrise. Or probably because I felt like I didn’t explore the area as much as I should have. The early dinner gave me a bit of extra time to hike up this large rocky hump by the lake that had kept drawing my attention while walking up and down the Bishop Pass Trail during the day. I had suspected that this may provide a great vantage point to the lake and all the peaks surrounding it. And I was right. The view of the lake, particularly wrapped in the clouds that had lingered all day, simply opened up right in front of me. Just breathtaking. While thinking to myself that sunset would be real nice from this spot, I got to work. Before it got any worse. Because such a perfect moment can only last so long. My gut was telling me that rain may be in store in the evening. South Lake, CA Bishop, Ca South Lake, Bishop Beauty In Nature Cloud - Sky Eastern Sierra Golden Hour Idyllic Lake Mountain Mountain Range Nature No People Non-urban Scene Outdoors Reflection Reflection Lake Remote Scenics - Nature Sierra Nevada Sky Tranquil Scene Tranquility Water Waterfront Wilderness
But I knew I tried I have been away hiking the John Muir Trail. For 31 days, to be exact. I am back in the city now where I left for the Sierra Nevada to do the thru hike, and while downloading and sorting through all the photos to edit, I’ve decided to continue posting the remainder of the photos taken at and around South Lake before walking the 210 miles through the wilderness. This particular shot was taken at sunrise, at least attempted, since the sun never came through due to the thick blanket of clouds that had lingered all morning as clearly seen here. I liked the fact that the view of the lake with the peaks in the background was hardly obstructed by the trees while capturing the reflection of the the sky in the water was relatively easy. Wished that the weather cooperated, but I also knew that we didn’t always get lucky. But I knew that I tried. South Lake, CA Inyo National Forest South Lake, Bishop Beauty In Nature Canon Eos  Cloud - Sky Environment Idyllic Lake Landscape Long Exposure Mountain Mountain Range Nature No People Non-urban Scene Outdoors Reflection Reflection Lake Scenics - Nature Sierra Nevada Sky Tranquil Scene Tranquility Water Wilderness
Took one last look I really wanted to take as many photos as I could while hiking the loop around Chocolate Peak, consisting of Ruwau Lake, Chocolate Lakes and Bull Lake. But I knew I didn’t have a whole lot of time. Besides, raining was imminent. So, I reluctantly headed up the steep section of the trail, which then evened out as it got closer to Ruwau Lake. What greeted me though was the stunning sight of Mt. Agassiz, which was literally dropping straight into the water. All of a sudden, I was quite stoked to be there. The wind frequently died down, so I was able to capture the clear reflection of the mountain. Part of me knew that I could finish the loop, but I also would’ve wanted to spend so much time doing long exposure at each lake, which means my return to South Lake for sunset would’ve been jeopardized. I took one last look and wavered to pack up and head back to the main trail. Ruwau Lake, CA Bishop Pass Trail Mt. Agassiz Ruwau Lak Beauty In Nature Cloud - Sky Driftwood Flowing Flowing Water Lake Mountain Mountain Range Nature No People Non-urban Scene Outdoors Plant Reflection Rock Rock - Object Scenics - Nature Sky Tranquil Scene Tranquility Water Wilderness
Willy Wonka came to mind | Once I got the shots of Mt. Agassiz and Bishop Pass together, I walked further around Long Lake. I soon arrived at a spot where Chocolate Peak came into a full view. Till that moment, I had not made the connection as to why the peak was called Chocolate Peak. Contrary to the pale and dark grey colors of the adjacent higher peaks, however, this short peak was painted in milk chocolate. Willy Wonka came to mind for a sec. In the company of clouds, the reflection of the peaks looked quite promising for the next shot. Long Lake, CA Chocolate Peak Long Lake, Eastern Sierra, CA Mt. Agassiz Reflection Beauty In Nature Cloud - Sky Clouds Idyllic Lake Long Exposure Mountain Mountain Peak Mountain Range Nature No People Non-urban Scene Outdoors Plant Reflection Scenics - Nature Sky Tranquil Scene Tranquility Water Wilderness
How to strike cool pose | Tiffany, IG: @tiffany.villarreal, amazing Los Angeles based singer, and I had another great session over a couple of weeks ago. Our playground was a few different wall art spots along Melrose Avenue, including that @Instagram popular Hello wall. However, it turned out that it was replaced with a new piece of wall art a month ago. Across the little street from it, though, this very simple pink wall with the empty parking lot (early Saturday morning) caught my eye. I couldn’t pass up a great opportunity to take advantage of her red overall outfit. Because the wall art is simple, it was all about her expressions and postures, and I loved that. How to strike a cool pose came naturally to this awesome singer. Los Angeles, CA Wall Art Adult Beautiful Woman Clothing Front View Full Length Hairstyle Lifestyles One Person Overall Pink Color Portrait Portrait Photography Standing Wall - Building Feature Woman In Red
I just kept it to myself | I realized that the northwest corner of Long Lake was the best vantage point to capture both Mt. Agassiz and Bishop Pass and their reflections. The lake wasn’t always calm because the wind blew intermittently. But I was able to catch some moments where the water seemed still. Except for the clouds flowing across it. The sun shone through rather sporadically. I was just glad that it wasn’t raining. From where I was, I could see day hikers and backpackers rambling along the main trail. Even a couple of trail runners. Yet I was thinking to myself only if they knew how beautiful this part of the lake also was. Well, I just kept it to myself. Long Lake, CA Beauty In Nature Cloud - Sky Eastern Sierra Idyllic Lake Mountain Mountain Range Nature No People Non-urban Scene Outdoors Reflection Scenics - Nature Sky Tranquil Scene Tranquility Tree Water
Flowing scary fast | The sky was never clear of the clouds. In fact, moments of sprinkling lightly continually came and went, and I kept finding myself retrieving my poncho, thinking that it may turn into a downpour. But it held off pretty well at least till I reached Bishop Pass. One of the places I explored was Long Lake, which was almost a mile long and sat right by the trail. But I wasn’t interested in the view from the trail side. I wanted to see was other views that each corner of the lake had to offer, in conjunction with Mt. Agassiz. I rambled down to one of the outlets, thinking that I could go up high on Hurd Peak, which sat on the other side of the lake. It turned out that the stream wasn’t shallow at all to ford. In fact, it was flowing scary fast. Great for photography but not so much for crossing. I may have been my last day on earth if I got swept away in the water!!! While telling myself that I must take another trail to get to the peak, I decided to do long exposure here with one of the twenty tallest peaks in California in the background. Long Lake, CA Mt. Agassiz Adventure Backcountry Beauty In Nature Cloud - Sky Clouds Eastern Sierra Flowing Flowing Water Long Exposure Long Lake Mountain Nature No People Non-urban Scene Outdoors Overcast Scenics - Nature Sky Stream Tranquil Scene Tranquility Water Wilderness
Stark juxtaposition | One of the sights that pleasantly surprised me on my way was the abundant amount of wildflowers along the trail, which came in all different colors, shapes and sizes. When I arrived at this particular section of Bishop Pass Trail, Bishop Pass, one of the most popular passes in the Eastern Sierra, came into view for the first time. And Mt. Agassiz to its right immediately steered my gaze away from the pass. The peak looked quite taller than I originally imagine. And even later when I reached the pass, I was quite stunned by how massive the peak looked in its overwhelming presence. The stark juxtaposition of the colorful wildflowers in the foreground against the above treeline mountain backdrop pleased my eye. And believe me. The barren upclimb looked quite inviting as the trail that had led me to this point. Bishop Pass Trail, CA Bishop Pass Bishop Pass Trail Mt. Agassiz A Above Tree Line Beauty In Nature Eastern Sierra Flower Flowerbed Flowering Plant Footpath Freshness Landscape Mountain Mountain Peak Mountain Range Nature No People Outdoors Overcast Plant Scenics - Nature Sierra Nevada Sky Tranquil Scene
Muy suave | The sky was hardly clear of grey clouds that appeared to shower in any given moment when I started out with this day’s destination in mind - Bishop Pass. Part of me was rather uneasy due to possible downpours, but to my great surprise, the weather held up. And walking on Bishop Pass Trail was just pure fun. In fact, the overcast sky let me enjoy the hike without breaking even a single sweat up to the foot of the switchbacks to the pass. Maybe the rain that came overnight did it. Or so much humidity in the air did it. The greenery looked mucho mas verde. The soil underneath my feet felt muy suave. Bishop Pass Trail, CA Bishop Pass Trail John Muir Wilderness Pines Trees Dirt Eastern Sierra Footpath Forest Land Landscape Mountain Range Nature No People Non-urban Scene Outdoors Plant Scenics - Nature Seeking Solitude Sierra Nevada Solitude Tranquil Scene Tranquility Tree Wilderness
Even my fingers prickled | The rain that continued into late night prevented me from capturing the Milky Way. Thankfully it was no longer raining when I woke up. I grabbed my gear and headed down to the shore that I had scouted the day before. The soil was still wet. I love those early morning walks in the forest. As the damp air was filling up my lungs, I could feel that even my fingers prickled from such intakes of fresh air. While watching the trout ripples stir the water, I composed my shot and waited. As expected, the sunrise glow was cast along the ridge line. South Lake, CA South Lake, Eastern Sierra, CA Beauty In Nature Cloud - Sky Clouds Eastern Sierra Idyllic Lake Long Exposure Mountain Mountain Range Mountains Nature No People Non-urban Scene Outdoors Pine Trees Reflection Rock Scenics - Nature Sierra Nevada Sunrise Sunrise Glow Tranquil Scene Tranquility Water
Last streaks of glistening glow | Big and small blotches of clouds that kept creeping overhead eventually blanketed most of the sky. Only a bit of clearing remaining over the peaks was letting a bit of light through. It felt like I was witnessing a hard fought defeat of the sunlight that had attempted to pierce through but failed against the clouds that had already advanced quite a bit. It got dark quickly once the last streaks of glistening glow in the water swallowed up by the murkiness. And the raindrops soon followed. I packed away my gear and put my poncho over it just in time for a downpour. South Lake, CA Hurd Peak South Lake, Eastern Sierra, CA Storm Beauty In Nature Cloud - Sky Dusk Glass Idyllic Lake Long Exposure Mountain Mountain Range Nature No People Non-urban Scene Reflection Rock Scenics - Nature Sierra Nevada Sky Sunset Tranquil Scene Tranquility Water Waterfront
My mind was uneasy | When I arrived at South Lake, the sky was filled with clouds. First and foremost, it concerned me that I may not be able to capture the Milky Way at night. The following day was the new moon, and capturing some good reflections of the galaxy traversing the sky in the lake was what drove me back out to the Eastern Sierra. I sauntered down to the other side of the lake where the sunset glow cast on the peaks, including Hurd Peak, in the distance would be seen. It wasn’t too windy nor the water was quite choppy. I was just thankful that the weather was holding up. But whether I liked it or not, my mind was uneasy with a thick layer of clouds slowly creeping in. South Lake, CA Hurd Peak South Lake Sunset Glow Trees Beauty In Nature Cloud - Sky Eastern Sierra Idyllic Lake Landscape Mountain Mountain Peak Mountain Range Nature No People Non-urban Scene Outdoors Reflection Rock - Object Scenics - Nature Sierra Nevada Sunset Tranquil Scene Tranquility Water
Slowly coming to life | Slept for less than 4 hours and woke up to the harrowing sound of winds that never seemed to have stopped. The sky was brightening up fast. As soon as I packed away my sleeping pad and the tarp, I set up my cameras. Again, I bundled up myself in the sleeping bag while waiting for the glow to descend upon Carson Peak, above Rush Creek Falls. The sound of the waterfalls was deafening as it constantly filled up the basin. As the facade of the peak was getting painted in bright orange, the whole world was slowly coming to life. Rush Creek Falls, CA Carson Peak Rush Creek Falls Beauty In Nature Eastern Sierra Flowing Flowing Water Formation Geology Landscape Mountain Mountain Peak Mountain Range Nature No People Non-urban Scene Outdoors Rock Rock - Object Rock Formation Rocky Mountains Scenics - Nature Tranquil Scene Tranquility Water Waterfall
Eerie and fantastic | As I had promised to myself that I would capture the Milky Way rising over Rush Creek Waterfalls upon exiting the creek, I hiked back up to the lookout point, carrying my gear and sleeping bag once night fell. Because it was 1 ¼ mile hike each way in the dark and it’d be really late, I decided to sleep there. I composed my shot and waited. As I expected, the galaxy rose over the falls. And soon Jupiter went out of sight and Mars appeared. My eyes were fully adjusted to the surroundings in the dark. As the deafening sound of the waterfalls continued, and yet, my eyes couldn’t discern the subtle light spillage from the resort at the foot of the slope. And this created such an eerie and fantastic light painting effect that I had never expected. Rush Creek Falls, CA June Lake, CA Mars Rush Creek Falls Silver Lake Astronomy Astrophotography Beauty In Nature Galaxy Long Exposure Milky Way Mountain Mountain Range Nature Night Outdoors Scenics - Nature Sky Space Star Star - Space Waterfalls
As if somebody set it on fire | My friends invited me for a sunset sail. I wasn’t sure if we would get any good sunset, considering how hazy and overcast the west sky had been all day. But I certainly welcomed the opportunity. We met at the MDR marina where his boat was parked, and we were ready to go in less than 20 minutes. As leaving the marina and sailing out into the open ocean, we noticed that the thick layer of clouds that covered the sky was clearing up above the Santa Monica Mountains. As the sun appeared in the opening, everything turned gold. When the sun dropped behind the mountains, the sky that had been smeared in gold started glowing orange and then red. As if somebody set it on fire, the flames started spreading across the sky like crazy. Manhattan Beach, CA Hull Sunset Glow Beauty In Nature Boat Cloud - Sky Epic Sunset Mast Nature No People Ocean Outdoors Pacific Ocean Pole Sailboat Sailing Scenics - Nature Sea Seascape Sky Sunset Tranquil Scene Tranquility Transportation Travel Water
Smoldering like embers | I woke up to the harrowing sound of the winds. The first thing that my half-open eyes inspected was the dust on everything inside the tent. Not much. Good. It worked. Dust blowing inside the tent was really bad the day before, so I had collected rocks about the size of full frame cameras and created a shelter wall going around the tent entrance. I grabbed my gear and the sleeping bag and hopped down the boulder slope to the shore for sunrise. Again, capturing the reflection of Mt. Ritter in the water was out of the question. However, once the peak of the mountain started smoldering like embers, the orange glow spilled over onto the smoothed out lake surface. I was not disappointed. Thousand Island Lake, CA Banner Peak Mt. Ritter Thousand Island Lake Beauty In Nature Day Eastern Sierra Idyllic Lake Long Exposure Mountain Nature No People Non-urban Scene Outdoors Reflection Rock Rock - Object Rock Formation Scenics - Nature Sky Sunrise Glow Tranquil Scene Tranquility Water
King of planets Night fell at Thousand Island Lake. The windy never stopped, if not gaining strength. And I was terribly worried that the wind may knock away my cameras on the tripods. Meanwhile, the gusty gale meant that capturing reflections of Mt. Ritter was completely out of the question. So, I decided to focus on other elements, such as the rock in the foreground, the rocks and the pines in the middle ground as well as Mt. Ritter and the Milky Way in the background. Jupiter, named by the Romans and also called Zeus by the ancient Greeks, ascended high as if it wanted everyone awake to know that it was the king of the planets (largest planet in our solar system). Soon, the Milky Way slowly rose from the southeast sky. Thousand Island Lake, CA Galaxy Jupiter Mt. Ritter Thousand Island Lake Astronomy Beauty In Nature Eastern Sierra Galaxy Long Exposure Milky Way Nature Night No People Rock Scenics - Nature Sierra Nevada Sky Snowcapped Mountain Space Star Star - Space Tranquil Scene Tranquility Water
Simmering in very nonchalant fashion | Upon returning to Thousand Island Lake, I wanted to stay by the water and capture the reflections of the mountains in the water. But, the strong gale of winds that never stopped blowing continued not only into the night but also till next morning. After early dinner, I set up my camera and waited. I really liked this composition where the rocks in the water in foreground were leading the eye toward the pines on the little piece of land jutting out into the lake and then eventually to Mt. Ritter, the focal point of the image. The peak was gleaming in a vivid orange glow, and the lake seemed to be simmering in a very nonchalant fashion. Thousand Island Lake, CA Mt. Ritter Sunset Glow Thousand Island Lake Beauty In Nature Cold Temperature Eastern Sierra Idyllic Lake Long Exposure Mountain Mountain Range Nature No People Non-urban Scene Outdoors Rock Rock - Object Scenics - Nature Sierra Nevada Snowcapped Mountain Solitude Sunset Tranquil Scene Tranquility Water
Slowly traversing heavenly body | On my way to Island Pass from Thousand Island Lake, I had noticed this particular off-trail spot that I later called the best lookout point. The view of both the lake and Mt. Ritter was clear of pretty much everything. So, I had promised to myself that I would stop here on my way back. So, I stopped. What I learned though was that it was a very rocky slope. At first it wasn’t easy to find a patch of flat surface to pitch my tent. After roaming up and down the area for quite a bit, I found a patch that was small but clear of rocks. It was the first time ever when none of my tent stakes was used. Instead I used a heap of big and small rocks to tie it down. A whole lot of stones. The wind wasn’t calming down at all, so I had to make sure that the tent would stay put. Night fell. But it felt like the gale of winds seemed to have gained more strength. Meantime, Jupiter was hung high, just like the night before. And the galaxy was slowly traversing the heavenly body in the company of Saturn. The extremely choppy lake bored nothing of reflection. Nonetheless, no trace of a waxing crescent moon let the galaxy lit up the night sky. Thousand Island Lake, CA Ansel Adams Wilderness Mt. Ritter Thousand Island Lake Astronomy Beauty In Nature Cold Temperature Eastern Sierra Galaxy Milky Way Mountain Mountain Peak Mountain Range Nature Night No People Non-urban Scene Scenics - Nature Sky Snow Snowcapped Mountain Space Star - Space Tranquil Scene Tranquility Wilderness
And then impeccable orange | When I opened my eyes and looked through the small pocket-size opening of my sleeping bag, it felt like the sun was already up. For a second, I thought that I slept through the sunrise. Then, the alarm just went off. Guess my body knew it was time to wake up. As I often do, I had the rain fly removed when I went to bed because it wasn’t windy and that I knew there was no rain in the forecast. Falling asleep while counting the stars is one of my favorite things to do in the wilderness. I got out of my tent and got the cameras ready. Once the sun was rising behind me, Mt. Ritter and Banner Peak started glowing in dark red, almost rich dark purple, at first. And then burning red. And then impeccable orange. As I had been waiting for it. And the calm water without a single breeze reflected just that. Island Pass, CA Banner Peak Calm Island Pass Mt. Ritter Reflection Tranquility Beauty In Nature Clear Sky Eastern Sierra Idyllic Lake Mountains Nature No People Non-urban Scene Outdoors Reflection Scenics - Nature Sky Solitude Sunrise Symmetry Tranquil Scene Tranquility Water