Liberty Bell Mountain and Early Winter Spires at Blue Lake in the North Cascades of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in Washington State, USA.
Liberty Bell Mountain and Early Winter Spires at Blue Lake in the North Cascades (Purchase)
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A few years ago I hiked up to Blue Lake in the Washington Pass area of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest – an area I had always thought of as part of North Cascades National Park. While Washington Pass is very close to the National Park, and some of area is in part maintained by the National Parks Service (especially the Washington Pass Overlook), it is part of the National Forest not the National Park. The parking lot and trail head can be found along Highway 20 (North Cascades Highway) 1.26km/4128 feet west of the Washington Pass Overlook turnoff. The short hike to Blue Lake is only 3.2km/2 mile and gains 350m/1050 feet of elevation to a total of 1906m/6254 feet. This photo is made a few hundred feet higher than that, along (and up) a trail to the west of the lake.
As you can see from the above photograph, Blue Lake is aptly named. I was fortunate on this trip to arrive when the Subalpine Larch (Larix lyallii) were turning colour. Subalpine and other species of Larch are one of the few conifer species that are deciduous – they lose their needles each fall. This can be a beautiful display but is only found in higher elevations in this part of the world. Blue Lake is situated immediately below the iconic Liberty Bell Mountain. Liberty Bell is the spire on the left hand side of this photograph next to Concord Tower, Lexington Tower, and the Early Either Spires (North and South). Another view of Liberty Bell can be seen in my older post with some photographs from Washington Pass.
Liberty Bell Mountain from the meadows at Washington Pass at sunset. Photographed in the North Cascades of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in Washington State, USA.
Liberty Bell Mountain from Washington Pass (Purchase)
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These photos were made at Washington Pass in the North Cascades of Washington State in the fall of 2012. I am never quite sure how to label these things – always thinking in the past that this was part of North Cascades National Park. Washington Pass lies outside of the National Park boundaries and is actually part of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, though I think the Washington Pass overlook is maintained and patrolled by National Park staff.
Back in October I visited the Washington Pass area with Alan Majchrowicz. We first hiked up to Blue Lake which was surrounded by some great Fall needle colours in the Alpine Larches. I’d not seen larches before so this was especially interesting. Next Alan showed me this fantastic meadow near Washington Pass which has great view of Liberty Bell Mountain (top) and Kangaroo Ridge (bottom photo) and a wide array of interesting foregrounds.
The first example of these can be found in the first photograph of Liberty Bell Mountain. There were many small patches of water in the meadows, some even containing small fish – which I found interesting considering how long this area is under snow each winter. There were also numerous long dead tree trunks laying horizontally on the ground which made for some good foregrounds as well. In the first photo above I liked how all of these seem aligned to point right to Liberty Bell Mountain.
The second example of foregrounds elements I enjoyed were the Narrow Leaved Cotton Grasses (technically a Sedge – Eriophorum angustifolium) which I had not seen before. The small tufts of cotton like seeds on the stems made them a bit more interesting to me. While I think the nice post-sunset “belt of venus” light in this second photo works better, I do have another composition from the same area that shows off the grasses/sedges a little better (below).
Narrow Leaved Cotton Grass at Washington Pass (Purchase)
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While I am just beginning to scratch the surface of photographic possibilities within the North Cascades area I think this spot near Washington Pass will definitely be a stop I wish to make next year after the thaw!
A small stream runs through the meadows at Washington Pass (Purchase)
I have put together some of my favourite images made in the last year into this 11"x17" (28cm x 43cm) nature calendar. Included are 12 photographs of landscape and nature scenes from British Columbia and Washington State.
I am a landscape and nature photographer based in Langley, British Columbia, Canada. Most of my subjects are in Southwestern British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest's Washington State. My photography is available for licensing as stock, fine art prints, and giclée canvas wraps.