Monday, March 30, 2015

Sunset at Hug Point

Since being foiled by fog at Cape Meares, capturing a coastal sunset became high on my "gotta-do-it" list.

Low tide

One sunny Saturday, I rushed through my weekly cleaning and shopping chores, finishing in time to catch the setting sun.

Steep cliff with trees clinging on for dear life

Grabbing camera and tripod, I jumped into my car.  In my haste, I forgot to check the tide tables before leaving home.  No worries - a quick check on my smartphone while gassing up revealed the day's low tide coinciding with sunset.  Sweet!

Interesting water patterns

Wanting to head somewhere close, I chose Hug Point as my destination.  I've visited this beach numerous times, and love it's interesting cliffs and plentiful tidepools.  Located an hour's drive from my front door was a plus.

Cliff reflections

Arriving about an hour before dusk gave me time to wander the beach.  The sun's low rays illuminated adjacent sandstone cliffs a lovely golden brown.  Their reflections in wet sand were mighty nice!

A lone kite flyer

I was far from lonely.  A sunny winter's day brought out the people.  Beach-walkers, kids splashing in the water, dogs chasing balls, hippies sitting around a campfire - even one lady flying a kite.

Interesting cliff erosion

The tall cliffs lining this beach were very interesting. Wind and waves had scoured the rock into unique shapes.  Mother Nature's artwork!

The ocean beyond Hug Point

Hug Point has a fascinating history.  It's beach was used as a wagon road during the early 1900's.  High tides made the beach around this headland impassible, and even at low tide, wagons had to "hug" the adjacent cliffs to pass by.  Finally, tired of waiting on tides, settlers blasted a ledge into the adjacent rock.  This narrow road still exists, providing modern-day beach walkers a dry path.

Colorful tidepool life

But this day, thanks to the low tide, one could walk all the way around Hug Point on sand.  Previous visits had been at high tide, so it was great to finally see this headland's beach.

Alien anemones

At the base of Hug Point's rocky cliffs were tidepools.  Tucked into rocky crevasses, one had to look closely to spot sea creatures.

Another seastar

But the few tidepools I found sported lots of colorful fauna.  Images of bright orange and purple seastars and eerie blue-green anemones all found homes on my memory card.

Blue light on the beach as the sun goes down

Wandering around the tidepools, I realized the light was beginning to change.  The cliffs lost their golden glow as the sun began to sink towards the horizon.

Setting sun illuminates the waves

But golden tones were taking over the clouds and sky above the sea.

Sinking below the clouds

Although not the most outstanding sunset I've ever seen, it still lit up the sky nicely.

Layers of color

Fading light created layers of color on the waves and across the sand.

Blues and pinks reflection on sand

As light left the sky, it momentarily glowed a rosy pink.  The wet sand reflected this lovely shade quite nicely.  Coupled with blue hues from the water, a colorful farewell to the day.

Day's final light

Good night from the Oregon coast!

Sharing with:  Our World Tuesday and Wednesday Around the World.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Summit Day on Mt Bachelor

Day two of my Central Oregon weekend, and the weather couldn't have been more different.  Doing a complete 180 from Saturday's cold, windy conditions, Sunday dawned calm and clear.

Yahoo!  Let's go skiing!

South Sister fills the sky

My brother and I grabbed our gear and headed up the road to Mt. Bachelor.

Sunshine on the Rainbow Lift

Blue skies, bright sunshine, and a bit of new snow greeted us.  After a couple laps on the Pine Martin Lift, we decided to check out things on the mountain's far east side.  Although the only lift here, the Rainbow, is an old, slow chair, I love skiing it's terrain.  I'm willing to put up with the long ride.

The Summit is open!

Heading uphill, the lift's slow pace provided lots of time to look around and take photos.  Glancing towards the summit, I noticed the lift to Mt. Bachelor's very top was running!  Since the summit isn't open very often, I convinced my brother to give it a try.

Fantastic scenery on the ride to the summit

The Summit Lift takes skiers to the very top of Mt. Bachelor, elevation 9000 feet.  On a sunny day, the ride alone is a treat.  All the surrounding mountains spread out behind you.  (Too bad the best views are at your back!)

Unloading at the top, skiers slide through the lift house, and emerge to a wonderful panorama of mountains and lakes.  I kept my GoPro camera running the entire ride, and edited the footage a bit to show you the best parts.

Views from the very top

Exiting the lift, we skied over to the roped ledge to have a peek off the backside.

My bro and I on the summit

A very nice mountain host offered to take our picture.  You know me, I never turn down a chance to be in a photo!

Snow-free lowlands

Oh what glorious views!  All the mountains south of Mt. Bachelor spread out before us.  I spotted several lakes along the famous Cascade Lakes Highway.  Due to our unseasonably warm winter, instead of seeing white, the lower reaches were totally snow-free, and the lakes very much unfrozen.  Only the highest mountaintops had any snow.

Ice-crusted top of the Summit Lift

The lift house's roof was still wearing an icy crust.  The top of Mt. Bachelor gets some extreme weather - high winds and icy precip.  It's a rare winter day that the summit is actually open, and even rarer to have nice weather.  We lucked out big time!

Incredible views from on high!

After several minutes of gawking and photo-taking, my brother and I began our descent down the Summit's steep, icy slopes.

Broken Top and Three Sisters mountains are front and center

Although the lower slopes still had a small layer of new snow, the runs up here were nothing but a sheet of skied-off ice.  Ugh!  I hate skiing on ice!

Halfway rest break

Knowing a fall on these icy slopes would mean a long, fast slide to the bottom, I skied slowly and carefully, taking frequent stops. 

But having breaks wasn't all bad - it meant plenty of photo and video opportunities!  And lots of chances to enjoy this amazing scenery.

Icy trees

I stuck my GoPro pole inside my jacket, and tried to get some point of view footage as I skied downhill.  But I moved so much that the video might make some folks a little seasick.  Still, I edited a short bit to show you what it was like.

Another look down

After filming for a couple of stretches, I shut off the camera (or so I thought), and pointed the lens down.  I then proceeded to ski all the way to the bottom of the Summit Lift.  Imagine my surprise when, about 10 minutes later, I looked down and realized the camera had been rolling the entire time.  When I later reviewed the video, I had about 10 minutes of my feet!  But it was kind of interesting, so I included a quick clip in the video above. 

Three Sisters from the Outback lift

We ended our perfect day on the mountain's west side, first exploring the Outback Lift, and finally ending with a couple runs down Leeway, one of my favorites.  The views from this side of the mountain were fantastic, with peaks lining the sky.

Here's a final video clip showing my glorious trip down Leeway.  You'll notice I stop at the beginning to give everyone a good look at the Three Sisters mountains.  That's our continual view as we skied down this trail. 

(One of my readers commented about how well I hold the camera still.  I have to tell you, it's not me - I wobble all over the place!  The GoPro camera has some amazing built-in image stabilization, and it blows me away how smooth my skiing videos turn out.)

This is one happy skier!

Although our ski down the summit wasn't under the best conditions, my brother and I agreed the spectacular views were totally worth it.  Any day you get to ski from a sunny mountain summit is a good day!

Sharing with:  Scenic Weekends and Skywatch Friday and Weekly Top Shot.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Winter Comes to Bend

Mid-February, snow was in the forecast, there was but one thing to do.

Time to visit Central Oregon!

A snowy Mt. Washington

After that snowy Thursday (the one that had my skiing friends doing the happy dance), the clouds opened up.  Although Mt. Hood only gained a couple of inches, Central Oregon was the big winner in the snowfall jackpot.  Mt. Bachelor reported a whopping 6 inches.  Even in town, Bend boasted a thick blanket of the white stuff.

My brother's snow-covered front yard

Early Saturday morning found me traveling over the Cascades, Bend-bound.  Winding down Santiam Pass, I just had to stop and take some photos of Mt. Washington's breathtaking snow-covered peak.

Some of the neighborhood locals

Pulling into my brother's street, I was greeted by a herd of locals, calmly munching on the neighbor's landscaping.

Lovely winter scene

Although I was eager to sample Mt. Bachelor's new snow, they were reporting high winds (aka 60 mph gusts) that effectively shut down most of the lifts.  With skiing no longer an option, my brother invited me hiking.

Snow covered bushes

You know me, I never say no to a hike!

Domino loves chasing snowballs

So my brother, his wife, and their young dog Domino all headed to one of their favorite trails on the outskirts of Bend.

A happy pup

There's a huge trail network west of town that follows the Deschutes River.  My brother comes here often to exercise his dog.  Domino always has lots of energy, and it's the perfect place to let her run.

Wind-blown snow makes a pretty scene

We parked near a closed road, covered in a thick blanket of white fluff.  Following the road, I marveled at the lovely snow-covered trees.  Mother Nature does a great job of decorating!

A sunburst peeps through the forest

So... many.... photo subjects!  I lagged behind from the very beginning.

"Domino, fetch!"

The road we followed was above the Deschutes River.  Every once and awhile the trees would part enough to give me a teaser glimpse of it.

Deschutes River view

Meanwhile Domino was having a blast running after pinecones, and jumping in the air trying to catch snowballs in her mouth.

 Snowball action shot

Is that a happy dog, or what?

Face of a happy dog

After a short trek, we drove down to the banks of the Deschutes.  While Domino took a dip in it's frigid waters, I roamed the bank looking for interesting subjects.

Lovely white bushes at river's edge

Of course, I found tons of stuff to photograph.  Such as these snowy bushes.  Or some colorful vegetation lining the river bank.

Bright colors along the Deschutes

It was wonderful to take a walk in the newly-fallen snow.  And nice to be outside on a sunny winter's day (and be reminded that, yes it is indeed still winter!)

Sharing with:  Saturday's Critters and Scenic Weekends.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Happy Dance!

Late February and there'd been no measurable snowfall on Mt. Hood the entire month.  My ski bus friends and I had started to give up hope.  It seemed winter was skipping straight into spring. 

But then, on the last Thursday of the month, a hopeful sign.

It started to snow.

We saw actual real live snowflakes drifting from the sky!  My friends and I were so elated, we broke into a happy dance (which I captured on video).

And I tried to get a selfie that included those wonderful white flakes.  I think I partially succeeded.

The rest of the day things alternated between furious snow flurries and sunbreaks.  Gotta love the bipolar PNW weather!

Although windy and cold, my friends and I braved the top lift to ski it's famed "Outer Limits" trail.

I couldn't resist shooting a video for my loyal blog viewers.  Won't you take a trip with me down Outer Limits?

Although the snow continued to fall off and on all day, the accumulation was minimal.  Still, it was so wonderful to finally see something besides rain coming out of the sky.  It gave my friends and I hope that the ski season wasn't over quite yet.