|Frosty fall leaves|
Lassen National Park was great, but it was time to reacquaint myself with my own backyard. The following weekend, I took a short trip to good ol' Mt. Hood - my local playground.
|Mt. Hood towers over a golden meadow|
In search of fall colors, I headed over to Hood's east side, parking at the Elk Meadows Trailhead near Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Area. I'd heard reports of huckleberry bushes in full autumn finery around Umbrella Falls, and was dying to check things out.
|Backlit red leaves|
Overnight temps had dipped into the 30's and I was surprised to see frost on the leaves at the beginning of my hike. After such a hot summer, it was a shock to need gloves and a knit cap! But I love cold weather hiking and knew I'd get toasty warm once I got moving.
|The multi-hued huckleberry bush|
The trail to Umbrella Falls climbed through a dense fir forest, it's understory covered in places by colorful huckleberry bushes, their leaves a kaleidoscope of reds, yellows and oranges. Really brightened up the woods. A most pleasant distraction for my camera.
It's a quick 2 mile jaunt to lovely Umbrella Falls. I visited this area last year and the autumn color show around the waterfall was incredible. Hoping for a repeat performance, I was sorely disappointed when, upon reaching the falls, the leaf colors were practically nonexistent. Not only that, but Umbrella Falls was bathed in alternating bright morning sun and dark shadows, extremely difficult lighting conditions for photography.
|Umbrella Falls close up|
Sigh....what's a photographer to do? I'd hiked all the way up here, I wasn't going to go away empty handed. So I focused on a shaded area of the falls, zoomed in and got some macro shots of the running water.
|Another waterfall macro shot|
The green moss and reddish rock color made for some interesting photos, don't you think?
|Bright bushes line the creek|
Better than nothing, anyway! And I did get a couple of nice images of some brightly colored bushes near a footbridge spanning the creek.
|Hood peeps over the crimson bushes|
After spending the better part of an hour at Umbrella Falls trying to capture something, I finally decided to pack it in and continue on the rest of the loop trail. From last year's hike, I knew this path would meander through Mt Hood Meadows' ski area before circling back to the trailhead.
|More lovely red hues|
Last year I hiked this portion in pouring rain, and didn't get many photos. This year, with the day's bright sunshine, I stopped frequently to capture what I'd missed.
|Tons of color in this ski run|
Surprisingly, the best fall colors were in the middle of ski runs. Crimson huckleberry leaves, golden hues, and bright yellow colors made checkerboard patterns in the clearings. Oh, it was amazing!
|Patchwork color under the HRM Lift|
Having been skunked at Umbrella Falls, the fantastic colors I found under the ski lift more than made up for things!
A great day to be up on the mountain. I hiked a mere 5 miles and 1500 feet elevation gain, but it was good to be back on the home hill and fun to see my favorite ski area dressed up for fall.
Sharing with: Through My Lens and Our World Tuesday.