Our Life in the Pacific Northwest

Archive for the category “Hikes”

Time for a new camera bag?

I’ve had my camera bag/backpack for about 7 years. I chose the backpack style so I could bring it on hikes and carry it comfortably on photo shoots. It’s been on overnight backpacking trips, beaches, airplanes, camping, and everywhere else I’ve dragged it. It’s been used and abused and I’ve been told it’s time for a new one from more than a few people. Ok, so the zipper on the inside pocket doesn’t zip and the outside is worn and there’s a splotch of green spray paint from a senior photo shoot (ahh the memories!) on the front, but it has character and it has been with me through many amazing experiences!

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My camera backpack was made by Lowepro which is a popular camera bag brand. They don’t have this particular model available anymore but I believe it’s an older version of the Photo Classic AW (pictured below) in a smaller size. The newer model can hold two camera bodies and has enough room for lenses and equipment and is priced at $119.00

Photo_Classic_HotPointsLowepro Classic AW

One of the best features is the  All Weather cover. It is hidden in the bottom of the bag in a sleeve. When the weather turns bad you pull it out and it wraps around the bag to protect it like a rain coat. This has saved me numerous times! It also has a strap and loop on the front to keep your tripod secured.

I’ve really used this bag. Like really used it. Most days I have it with me and like I said before, it’s been everywhere so durability would be my number one compliment for this bag.It fits all of my equipment comfortably, has storage for memory cards and a zippered pouch where I keep extra batteries and little gadgets like my remote shutter release. It has a storage pocket on the front that zips and is big enough for my wallet, keys, gum, pens, thumb drives, business cards and whatever else I would normally carry in a purse. It has large mesh pockets on each side where I keep a water bottle and my cell phone.

    I like the simplicity of this bag. It’s basic, straightforward and economical. I believe I paid under $100.   It has been on my shoulder almost every day for many years and it’ll probably stay there for at least a few more.

Dungeness Spit Hike

Dungeness Spit National Wildlife Refuge/Dungeness Recreation Area
Sequim Wa.
Olympic Peninsula

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I’ve had my eye on this hike for a really long time, so I chose Dungeness Spit for our family camping trip last summer. A “Spit” is  a narrow point of land extending into a body of water. Dungeness Spit is the longest natural sand spit in the United States and there is a working lighthouse at the end of the 5 mile trek. You can read more about the New Dungeness Lighthouse here.

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Dungeness Recreation Area Campground

Dungeness Recreation Area Campground

Sequim Washington

Olympic Peninsula

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Dungeness Recreation Area is known as the portal to the Dungeness Spit. When I found this out I was ecstatic! Dungeness Spit hike was on my to do list for a long time but since there is no overnight backpacking and I live hours (and a ferry ride) away I didn’t think it was possible. Since this campground is only half reserve-able and there were none left for that weekend, I felt anxious about chancing the drive all the way there. We planned this trip with our friends who couldn’t arrive until Friday night so we left early (6:30 am) Friday morning  in hopes that at least one camper would be leaving at a check out time. Fortunately for us several people were leaving, probably to avoid the busy weekend. The first site we found was decent but a little small for two families. We started to set up and noticed a couple packing up at what looked like a group site. They walked over to us as they were leaving and told us that their site was the best in the campground and that we should snatch it up before someone else grabbed it.

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New Dungeness Lighthouse

New Dungeness Lighthouse
Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge
Sequim Washington

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New Dungeness Lighthouse is located on Dungeness Spit on the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge in the town of Sequim on the Olympic Peninsula. To get to the lighthouse you must hike 5 miles on a natural sand spit.  A “Spit” is  a narrow point of land extending into a body of water. The hike is long but worth it. You definitely need to time your hike according to the tides. During low tide there is enough sand to walk comfortably. At high tide you’ll be walking on logs and rocks and it will take you much longer. Check out my Dungeness Spit Hike post for more info.

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Back to Picture Lake

Picture Lake/Heather Meadows

Mt Shuksan/Mt Baker.

Mt Baker Snoqulamie National Forest

 

I visited Picture Lake a while back with a friend and was hoping to get a perfect shot of Mount Shuksan reflecting in the lake. Picture Lake is rightfully titled since it is positioned in front of the mountain offering a perfect reflection if the day and moment is just right.   Even a slight breeze would ruin the perfect reflection shot I was after. I also wanted to go when the fall colors were out, so in October I ventured back and tried again. Unfortunately the fall colors weren’t as rich as I had hoped, but the day was perfect otherwise. We stayed until the sun went down and I’ve heard that the evening is the best time for the wind to be calm. The moon was coming up over the mountain too which was an added bonus. The photo above was the result of a perfect, windless evening at Picture Lake.

 If you are looking for information about Picture Lake or Heather Meadows you should go to my other blog post. I have included many photos of the area as well. Picture Lake Path/Heather Meadows

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Big Four Ice Caves

Big Four Ice Caves

Mountain Loop Hwy/Verlot

Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

July 18, 2010

 

I wasn’t going to write a blog on this particular day spent at the ice caves, but decided I should as a reminder and a warning about the dangers of entering or getting too close to the ice caves.

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Rialto Beach, Extreme Low Tide Day 1

 

Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park   July 11 2010

Hole in the Wall Hike

Northwest Washington Coast                                                          

Day 1

One of 2 parts

This is a hike I have been dreaming of doing for 3 years. I visited Rialto Beach back in September of 2007 in hopes of seeing the low tide and to find the “Starfish Rock” (a large boulder covered in starfish) that I had seen on another website. We tried to get there early enough but didn’t quite make it. Even though we missed it I was fascinated by this beach and vowed to come back for an overnight hike on a day when there was an extreme low tide. There are only about 3 really low tides of the year, so 3 years later (yes it took 3 years! I was pregnant during one of those years so cut me some slack. : ) I finally had the chance to make this journey I have been dreaming about.  If you want to read my previous blog entry on Rialto Beach here is the link.   Rialto Beach Hike.

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Rialto Beach Hike, Extreme Low Tide – Day 2

Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park

Hole in the Wall Hike

Northwest Washington Coast                                          Day 2

 As soon as it was light I  got up and walked to the beach to watch the tide begin to go out.  I skipped breakfast since I was so eager to get to Hole in the Wall and again, it was another incredible experience for me. I saw a couple of early morning hikers and I watched the surf  gradually lowering to reveal tons of rocks that weren’t there the day before. My hiking companions decided to sleep in since we didn’t get much rest during the night. So once again I was on my own to explore this amazing place at such an incredible low tide. The sun was coming up creating beautiful colors and the beach had a touch of early morning fog. It was going to be a perfect day!

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Round Lake State Park, Idaho

Round Lake  State Park

Near Sandpoint Idaho

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 Sunset from the Tromp the Swamp hike.

I asked my husband to find a state park in Northern Idaho near Silverwood theme park for our family vacation. I mentioned Priest Lake assuming that he would reserve one of their 435 campsites on the lake since it is so large and popular. When he told me he reserved a campsite for 3 days at a place called ‘Round Lake’ I was pretty annoyed. I gave him one thing to do and he found the smallest campground at a lake I had never heard of.  🙂 It was too late to change it, so I decided to make the best of it. I must say now that I was incredibly suprised at how beautiful, serene and awesome Round Lake was.

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Picture Lake Path/Heather Meadows

Picture Lake Path/Heather Meadows

Mt. Shuksan/Mt. Baker

Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie Forest

 

Mt Shuksan name

 Picture Lake/Mt. Shuksan

 I headed up to Mt Baker/Mt. Shuksan for a day of photography with a good friend of mine. The drive was long and slow, but the view and experience of being in and around those majestic mountains made the time it took to get there well worth it. We drove from Lake Stevens and decided to take the scenic and what we thought would be the quick route, Hwy 9. It was a beautiful drive but if you figure in the reduced speed and the amount of curves it takes a little bit longer. I calculated on google maps that it takes about 20 minutes longer using hwy 9 rather than I-5.

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