the blog of Seldom Seen Photography

A Silver Forest

Silver Forest

Silver Forest near the Meadows Campground, one of my favorite images of the weekend

Sitting on a stump, hot cup of coffee in my hand, warm sunshine on my back in the still crisp morning air, looking out on nearby mountain tops and a forest of bare trees, silver from a 2003 wildfire, Tanya and Carson nearby at our campsite, I felt truly at peace. I reflected on how lucky I am to live in place where such a spot is a short drive from home (well, kind of short, about 5 1/2 hours). Later that day we would drive back to the city, encountering miles of stop-and-go traffic on the way, and life would return to “normal.” But for those five minutes on that stump with that cup of coffee, life was very good.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms are common in the burned area.

We had spent two nights at the Meadows Campground, near Harts Pass at the uppermost end of the Methow Valley in the Okanogan National Forest. The Harts Pass area is the highest point you can drive in the State of Washington. The pass itself is over 6,200 feet; the road continues to the trailhead for Slate Peak, at about 7,200 feet. We didn’t actually find the time to climb Slate Peak (a short 1/2 mile hike) because Carson is ailing, instead we stopped at the 6,800-foot high trailhead for the Pacific Crest Trail, and hiked several miles north along a flat trail that hangs along the mountainside. That was enough for Carson for the weekend, and we spent the rest of our time in the campground, except for two short outings by myself to do some photography.

Driving to Harts Pass is half the adventure. Considered by some to be the most treacherous road in Washington, I didn’t think it was that bad (many Seattle intersections are probably more hazardous), but you do need to pay attention. Most of the road is typical Forest Service gravel, but there is one short section known by locals as Dead Horse Point that running off the road would result in a drop of several thousand feet. Harts Pass is up Forest Road 5400, about 16 miles from Mazama, Washington. There are two campgrounds at the pass area, Harts Pass campground with five sites and the Meadows Campground with 14 sites. While the Harts Pass campground was full when we pulled in Friday evening, we were only the fourth campers at Meadows (which eventually was about half full). Meadows sits on the edge of the 2003 wildfire area (and was completely destroyed by the fire, but was since re-built).

Earlier in our camping trip, especially after having our hiking cut short by our sore dog (he has been on limited activity for about two months due to a neck injury, and us taking him hiking was too much, too fast), I had felt some self-generated pressure to create some good images. But then, on Sunday morning before we were breaking camp to leave, I just enjoyed the morning without much thought of photography. I remembered why we were there, to relax and enjoy the mountains; and even though the trip was planned as a photography trip, photography was really second to enjoying the time away. I didn’t have a paying client on the line, I didn’t have any time constraints.

It’s funny, but the Harts Pass area is known for its fantastic views of the North Cascades. Being near the tree line, you don’t have to travel far to see endless mountain views. And I did take some such shots on the weekend. But, it was after my peaceful realization that I created my favorite images of the trip, several shots in the silver forest not a 1/2 mile from our campsite and some fun shots of Tanya and I playing around on the very stump where I had my peaceful moment.  None of these favorite shots have the vast mountain views the area is famous for. That’s often the way it is with photography, let the pressure and expectations go, forget about any grand plans for images and just be with the moment, and let the images find you.

Enjoy these images from the silver forest.

Night in the Silver Forest

Night in the Silver Forest

Downed Tree

Downed tree in the Meadows Campground

Meadows Stream

Small stream running through the Meadows Campground

Silver Forest 2

Another shot of the Silver Forest

Having Fun

Tanya and I having fun on the very stump where I drank my morning coffee

 

 

 

 

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9 responses

  1. Great captures! Nature is so refreshing.

    September 17, 2013 at 9:26 pm

  2. ralphbuttler

    Hat dies auf Auf dem Dao-Weg rebloggt.

    September 17, 2013 at 11:58 pm

  3. Love them all. What a pure area. It looks like nothing has been touched there for 1000 years!

    September 18, 2013 at 4:02 am

    • Thanks. It does look unchanged, but 10 years ago before the forest fire, it looked quite different. Nature has a way of healing itself rather quickly.

      September 18, 2013 at 9:17 am

      • It’s amazing, really. The resilient nature of nature!

        September 21, 2013 at 4:51 am

  4. Fascinating! Who would believe it becomes this beauty out of a wildfire! You really make some very interesting photos.

    September 18, 2013 at 10:45 am

  5. llip2

    Beautiful photos, thanks for sharing.

    September 18, 2013 at 9:32 pm

  6. Blogger

    Reblogged this on Klymit Blog and commented:
    Here are some great shots of an ecosystem that is well on its way to recovering from a 2003 forest fire. I sincerely hope that some of the sterilizing fires that we have seen in the Sawtooths of Idaho and Colorado Rockies will recover as quickly. We love this guys photography, and are happy to have the images tell the story…

    October 22, 2013 at 4:18 pm

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