Posts Tagged ‘waterfalls’

Whatcom Falls Fall Foliage Colors

Whatcom Falls in Whatcom Falls Park in Bellingham, Washington State, USA

whatcom falls at whatcom falls park in bellingham washington usa

Fall Foliage at Whatcom Falls (Purchase)

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 Whatcom Falls park in Bellingham is one of the few US based places I remember going to as a kid from British Columbia. I remember going down and spending the afternoon fishing and having lunch or dinner on one of the park benches. When I visited it again probably 20 years later I remembered the name, but not the waterfalls or what I was about to find to photograph. I made this image way back in 2009, but it remains one of my favourites of the main falls in Whatcom Falls Park. I occasionally “complain” about the fall foliage colours in this part of the world, but it looks like 2009 was a great year! Most of the fall foliage we get around here are from the Bigleaf Maple trees (Acer macrophyllum), or sometimes from the smaller Vine Maples (Acer circinatum). When they get the right conditions they can really give some great colors. The above photograph is the view at Whatcom Falls park of the main waterfall from the Limestone Bridge that crosses Whatcom Creek. Most of the fall foliage colours in this first photograph are from Bigleaf Maple trees.

whatcom falls at whatcom falls park in bellingham washington usa

Fall Foliage along Whatcom Creek (Purchase)

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 This second photograph is the view looking downstream on the other side of that same Limestone Bridge. There are a few larger Bigleaf Maple leaves in this photo but most of the colour here comes from the smaller leaved Vine Maples.

For my other photographs of Whatcom Falls Park please visit my Washington State Misc. Photos Gallery in my Image Library.

Lower Falls Trail in Golden Ears Provincial Park

Lower Falls and the emerald pools of Gold Creek at Golden Ears Provincial Park in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada.

lower falls and emerald pools of gold creek in golden ears provincial park

Lower Falls in Golden Ears Provincial Park

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   One of the easier hikes to do in Golden Ears Provincial Park is the Lower Falls Trail (map) along Gold Creek. The trailhead is easy to find at the northwest end of the parking lot (the grey spot just after the Gold Creek Bridge on the map linked earlier). This hike is only 5.5km (round trip) and has minimal elevation change which makes it much more accessible than some of the other trails in Golden Ears Park. The trail has also been upgraded in recent years, so much of it is crushed gravel. Personally I dislike walking on crushed gravel and prefer a natural trail even with tree roots, slugs and the occasional puddle. I guess the resurfacing does have some benefit in initial parts of the trail that were often filled with puddles and mud in the spring and fall, but I would have preferred they left the rest as is. I have previously hiked to Alder Flats on a number of occasions, and while that is a nice hike, it doesn’t have the scenery one gets to enjoy along the much easier Lower Falls Trail.

   After walking about 1km up the trail from the parking lot I came to the first spot where I stopped for photography. There are many small side trails down to the creek along the entire Lower Falls Trail (be sure to follow those instead of making your own). My first stop was only about 5 meters from the trail and showed a nice summer view of Gold Creek. This looks to be a good spot to stop during fall foliage colors as well.

   My next stop was probably the most famous spot along the Lower Falls Trail – the viewpoint where one can see Gold Creek and parts of Mount Blandshard. Just before this viewpoint you’ll see a number of side trails to a beach which is a great spot to stop and eat lunch or just relax.

lower falls and gold creek with a flowering streambank arnica

Lower Falls and Streambank Arnica

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   After a 10-15 minute walk from the viewpoint I arrived at my ultimate destination: Lower Falls itself. The water levels shown here are probably more typical in late August, but were this low in late June due to our lack of winter snowpack in the mountains and a drought this spring/summer. In normal years this waterfall will be a raging torrent in fall, winter and spring – and can be quite dangerous. I was able to get up on a rock and photograph Lower Falls from a nice vantage point but only due to the lower water levels and lack of strong currents (and depth) in the water below. In far too many of the past years people have fallen into the water at various points in Gold Creek and died as a result.

   Many of the cracks in the rocks near Lower Falls had Streambank Arnica (Arnica amplexicaulis) growing in them. I was lucky that one of the Arnica plants was in a good position to include in the above composition along with the waterfall. On my way back to the main viewing platform I photographed one of the other Streambank Arnica plants growing in a crack in one of the boulders beneath the falls.

streambank arnica growing out of rocks near lower falls

Streambank Arnica (Arnica amplexicaulis) flowering next to Lower Falls

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For more of my photographs from the Golden Ears area visit my Golden Ears Provincial Park Gallery.

Cascade Falls Suspension Bridge

Cascade Falls and the new suspension bridge in Cascade Falls Regional Park near Mission, British Columbia, Canada

cascade falls suspension bridge in cascade falls regional park

Cascade Falls Suspension Bridge

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   The new Cascade Falls Suspension Bridge is now open in Cascade Falls Regional Park. I have been waiting for this for a while as last year I tried to visit Cascade Falls but the park was closed for construction. I had some concerns that this would somewhat ruin the feeling of the park and the falls lookout, but I enjoyed what they have there now. Previously, a clear view was rather tough to come by (without jumping a fence) and this new bridge really gives a clear view of the falls from several viewpoints. The layout here (suspension bridge next to a waterfall) is reminiscent of the Lynn Canyon bridge in North Vancouver, but isn’t nearly as long. The view here is also a bit better I’d say, and doesn’t have the tourist trap atmosphere (or cost) of the Capilano bridge. The Cascade Falls suspension bridge spans 35 meters (115 feet) from one side to the other which makes it the shortest of the 3 Vancouver area suspension bridges.

cascade falls in cascade falls regional park

Cascade Falls from main viewing platform

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   After a brief (but not flat) hike up the trail to the falls you reach the first view point next to the suspension bridge (photo 2 above). This is close to where the older viewing platform was located and gives a similar view. From there you can cross the suspension bridge to the second platform. The initial step onto the bridge is rather steep, and if this were any other sort of surface it would be rather slippery. The metal covering the bottom of the bridge gives a really good grip, and you won’t likely be slipping on it unless it was covered in ice. The bridge does not bounce much when walking on it, which I am sure many will appreciate. This might be different if there were 20 people walking across it, but I was mostly alone during my trip there a few days ago (a weekday). The first third of the suspension bridge gives a good view of the falls, as well as a view downstream of Cascade Creek (below).

cascade creek in cascade falls regional park

Cascade Creek below the suspension bridge

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   The viewing platform on the other side of the suspension bridge gives a completely new view of Cascade Falls. After a good breeze came up I had a lot of mist from the falls to contend with – which would be a nice feature on a hot day. My photos from here still look a little strange to me, as I am so used to seeing the usual view of the falls, this looks like a bit of a different place. The view from the new viewing platform is a bit better as there aren’t the rocks obscuring the view of the pool below the falls is the case with the first platform.

cascade falls in cascade falls regional park

Cascade Falls from second viewing platform

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   When I was here I was lucky to photograph Cascade Falls with good cloud cover (and even light), but shortly after this the sun came out. The first platform before the bridge gave a great perspective on the rainbow at the base of the falls.

cascade falls in cascade falls regional park

Rainbow at Cascade Falls Regional Park

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For more of my photographs from this and surrounding areas please visit my Fraser Valley Gallery in my Image Library.

Rolley Falls in Rolley Lake Provincial Park

Rolley Creek Falls in Rolley Lake Provincial Park near Mission, British Columbia, Canada

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Rolley Falls on Rolley Creek

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   Last Fall I visited Rolley Lake Provincial Park. I parked in the day use area and hiked around part of the lake to photograph Rolley Creek and Rolley Falls. This was an easy (mostly flat) hike that was only about 2 kilometers. A few weeks ago I hiked there again from a different starting point – Burma Street near Stave Lake. On the map, if you ignore one obvious aspect, this seems like it should be a 500-600 meter hike. As all I was interested in was a spring photograph of the waterfall, this looked like a good idea, and I would also be able to check out the lower falls which is right next to the road. It was, but I wasn’t able to get close enough to it without wading across the creek, which I wasn’t prepared to do. My “shortcut” was indeed short. I believe the distance actually wound up being as expected – about 600 meters. This did involve about 200m (650 feet) in elevation gain, however. Seems I overlooked my usual step of checking a topographical map before I decide which way is the “easy” way. I completed the climb anyway, and made the above photograph – this time with lush spring foliage surrounding the falls.

For more images from the Fraser Valley please visit my Fraser Valley Gallery.

Sasquatch Provincial Park

   A few weeks ago I drove out to Harrison Hot Springs, BC to explore Sasquatch Provincial Park. On the past two occasions I had attempted to visit the Hicks Lake area of the park during the off season I had been turned away due to construction. This time everything was open and I was able to explore around the area around Green Point, Trout Lake, Hicks Lake, and Deer Lake.

Trout Lake Creek

   At the entrance to Sasquatch Park there is a small parking lot at the park sign. I’d seen a small creek on the map flowing through this area from Trout Lake down to Harrison Lake. Most creeks I find look like all the others, but this one had enough character and dense foliage surrounding it to make things interesting.

trout lake creek

Trout Lake Creek near the entrance to Sasquatch Provincial Park

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   I this this may be one of the spots I visit in the fall just in case there are some interesting colours here.

common garter snake at hicks lake in british columbia

Trout Lake Creek Panorama

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Hicks Lake

   Once at Hicks Lake I parked at the day use area and hiked part of the Hicks Lake Trail. My aim was to photograph some of the streams and potential waterfalls flowing into Hicks Lake (I’d picked a cloudy day for just this reason). Near the group campground area I found a trail down to a beach on the north side of the lake. The cloudy day I had planned for transformed into a mostly sunny one, so at this point there were not photographs of the lake itself that I wished to make. However, this did give me the opportunity to photograph a few Common Garter Snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis) that were basking on the sandy beach. I posted another photograph of one of these Garter Snakes in an earlier post.

common garter snake at hicks lake in british columbia

Common Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) at Hicks Lake

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   Near the group campground area a small creek runs down the mountain into Hicks Lake. I spent a few minutes photographing these really small cascades flowing through the ferns and other understory foliage. Sometimes photographing in the forest can be rather challenging as there are so many plants growing in various directions complicating the search for a simple composition. Around a creek or a waterfall I think this can work well as a frame for the scene, providing there isn’t as much chaos in the middle of the photograph.

common garter snake at hicks lake in british columbia

Small waterfalls near Hicks Lake

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   From the lakeside creek I walked back to the day use area and then to the perimeter trail around the campground. I remembered quite a few of these spots from many years ago when I camped here with my parents. It was good to see all sorts of kids fishing along the shore like I used to. I hiked a bit more of the the Hicks Lake Trail south towards the end of the lake. There didn’t seem to be many streams on this side of the lake, so I headed back just before reaching the south end beach (Sandy Beach). I did hear some rushing water while at the south end, so perhaps on another trip I’ll investigate this. Walking back through the campground I checked out the final few streams on my list, didn’t find much photographically interesting – so I headed to Deer Lake.

Deer Lake

   Deer Lake is just up the road from Hicks Lake, and is the last of the 3 easily accessible lakes in Sasquatch Provincial Park. As I was there late on a Friday evening, traffic through the campground was fairly heavy with last minute campers trying to find a spot. I parked in a day use area and had enough time to explore around the south edge of the lake near the Bench Campground. I spent a few minutes making this photograph of the surrounding forest and some snags reflecting in the lake. The blue tinge at the top of the photograph is the result of campfire smoke from the Bench Campground nearby. This may be a better scene to photograph when there are fewer campers making dinner! It also looks like a great spot in the years we have decent fall foliage colours.

deer lake forest

The forest and snags reflecting in Deer Lake

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   On the north side of “The Point” I photographed campfire smoke lingering over the Lakeside Campground and one of the picnic areas at Deer Lake. With the light fading, I got in the car and drove back to Harrison Hot Springs hoping to catch some sunset light on Mount Cheam and Harrison Lake. Those photographs will have to wait for another blog post coming soon.

common garter snake at hicks lake in british columbia

Campfire smoke over the campgrounds at Deer Lake

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Steelhead Falls in Mission, BC

Steelhead Falls near the Hayward Reservoir Trail in Mission, British Columbia, Canada

steelhead falls in mission bc

Steelhead Falls in Mission, British Columbia

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   Yesterday I headed to Steelhead Falls in Mission, British Columbia. I had previously attempted to find this waterfall but the main parking lot was closed, and when accessing the trail I went the wrong way (there were no signs) and was disappointed. Starting from the parking lot yesterday the falls were pretty easy to find after a short hike (in the correct direction) to Steelhead Creek. This is a great falls to photograph – there are many tiers and cascades that have a wide variety of angles of approach so the options are plentiful for photography. I was lucky to have the cloud cover hold as the forecast was for afternoon clearing. Photographing waterfalls in the sunshine is usually a nightmare so I prefer to head out on overcast days for even lighting and cooler temperatures for hiking.

steelhead falls in mission bc

Side view of Steelhead Falls in Mission, British Columbia

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   While loading up in the parking lot on the way in, there was a lot of strange vocalizations by the Ravens (Corvus corax) in the trees overhead. I had initially thought some of the noises may have been an owl, but later saw a Raven making the same noises that sort of sounded like blowing on the open end of a bottle. Either way, it was a really creepy (though interesting) way to start a solo hike with nobody else around.

A Few Images From Paradise At Mount Rainier

The Tatoosh Range just after sunset – from Paradise in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State, USA

sunset over the tatoosh range in mount rainier national park

Sunset over the Tatoosh Range from Paradise in Mount Rainier National Park

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   I recently caught up on a bit of my photo editing backlog and have now added just over 50 new photographs to my Mount Rainier National Park Gallery in my image library. I have published a few of those images in previous blog posts, but I thought I would share a few more from the Paradise area of Mount Rainier National Park here.

   It’s not easy being a Marmot! While I was relaxing on a rock waiting for better light along the Golden Gate Trail in Mount Rainier National Park, I saw this Hoary Marmot (Marmota caligata) doing the same. Well, it probably wasn’t waiting for better light, but relaxing after a hard afternoon munching on lupine foliage and gathering nesting material. It clearly knew I was there, but didn’t seem to care at all. Probably was used to people along a relatively busy trail in the Paradise area of Mount Rainier.

hoary marmot in mount rainier national park

A Hoary Marmot (Marmota caligata) relaxes on a rock along the Golden Gate Trail in the Paradise area of Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State, USA

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   You can spot the deer, you can get in position to photograph them as they move through the wildflower field, but you can’t make them look at you! A pair of Black-tailed Deer (Odocileus hemionus columbianus) were nice enough to amble right past me in the wildflower fields on the Golden Gate Trail above Paradise, but never once glanced in my direction. I even scuffed my feet in the gravel trail once… nothing. At least I know I wasn’t disturbing them.

black tailed deer foraging in wildflower field

A Black-tailed Deer (Odocileus hemionus columbianus) foraging in the meadows near Edith Creek at Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State, USA

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   There is something I always enjoy about the combination of lush wildflowers (in this case mostly Broadleaf Lupines and some Pink Mountain Heather) and a waterfall. The mosquitoes thought so too!

wildflowers and an edith creek waterfall in mount rainier national park

Wildflowers surround a small waterfall on Edith Creek at Paradise in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State, USA

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   I have always found this angle of view on the Nisqually Glacier to be interesting from Ricksecker Point and other areas near Paradise. This time I photographed it from the Nisqually Vista Trail for an even better view. In this photograph you can see the icefall of the glacier and the terminus at the bottom, as well as the very beginnings of the Nisqually River from the melting ice.

terminus of the nisqually glacier and icefall on mount rainier

Terminus of the Nisqually Glacier on Mount Rainier

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You can see even more photographs from the Paradise area in my Mount Rainier National Park Gallery.

Myrtle Falls at Mount Rainier National Park

Myrtle Falls and Mount Rainier in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State, USA.

myrtle falls and mount rainier

Myrtle Falls in Mount Rainier National Park

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   During my earlier trips to Mount Rainier National Park I had been to the Paradise area many times, but had never actually ventured out above the parking lot. In the late summer of 2013 I spent 2 evenings in the area, the first being on Mazama Ridge. This part of the Skyline Trail up to Edith Creek and Myrtle Falls is pretty easy going, and is even paved up to that point. I passed a roughly 80-something woman who was heading up there with a walker. She said she went up there every year and would go even if she had to crawl! I hope I am that tenacious when I am that age. The view is certainly interesting, and the area being surrounded by the blooming wildflowers doesn’t hurt.

   As this was my first visit to the area above Paradise I made a few photographs of Edith Creek and Myrtle falls and moved on up the trail. This looks to be a great spot to pull out the longer 70-200 lens and photograph some of the finer details of the falls, as I did with Narada Falls on a previous trip.

You can see more of my Rainier photographs in my Mount Rainier National Park Gallery.