Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Soggy Hardy Ridge

Yes, I live in the Pacific NW.  Yes, it rains a lot here.  Despite this, I still get disappointed when wet weather falls on the weekend.

But that doesn't stop me from getting in a hike.

Ridge trail junction (and still dry!)

That's why I have raingear!  (After spending all that $$, I don't want it languishing in a closet after all)

Foggy forest

So, despite the less-than-stellar forecast, I decided to make a mid-May trip up Hardy Ridge,   I'd heard the wildflowers were blooming and was dying to check it out.

Raindrop-speckled daisy

Although I left my house in dry conditions, it didn't take long for the rain to catch up.  Driving through the Gorge, it battered my car in windy sheets.  I began to have second thoughts..... Just how badly did I want to do this hike?


Bur the weather cleared up upon my arrival.  I quickly got my gear together and hit the trail, hoping to finish before things got wet again.

Bushes intrude on the trail

Of course it didn't take long for distractions to slow me down.  First, it was a lovely patch of white daisies.  Then some vibrant orange paintbrush.  The cloudy, wet conditions were perfect for photography!


Overcast skies made already bright colors pop.

Western wallflower

And the raindrops on petals and leaves made these lovely subjects even more interesting.

Vine maple leaves

I trudged uphill along an abandoned road for a couple of miles until it intersected with a proper trail.  This path zig-zagged steeply through a lush forest.  Near the top, I began to pass by colorful patches of wildflowers.


There was lupine, purple penstemon, yellow wallflowers and vivid orange paintbrush.

Trail through a flower garden

All were dripping moisture from the recent rainstorm.

Lots of color!

Nearing the first major trail junction, I began to notice droplets of water beading on my jacket.  It appeared the brief dry spell was ending. 

Wild roses

When hiking, I carry my DSLR camera in a fanny pack around my waist.  Since this fanny pack isn't waterproof, for today's hike I'd wrapped a large garbage bag around it.  Photography was kind of a chore, unwrapping the bag, taking the camera out, getting the shots, returning it, and repositioning the garbage bag.

Vibrant paintbrush

But when the rain started up, I was darn glad I'd brought that garbage bag.

Raindrops like look jewels

I managed to get a couple more shots of drippy leaves and blossoms before the rain began in earnest.

Drippy penstemon

Although my Canon 7D is fairly waterproof, I didn't want to risk damaging it.  So I wrapped that garbage bag good and tight around the fanny pack.  But the day's photography wasn't done yet - oh no.

No views today

Because I still had my little GoPro!  With it's waterproof case I could continue to record images of this foggy, wet day.

Finally reaching the ridge, I was disappointed to find it cloaked in heavy fog.  There would be no views today!  However, I was able to capture the weather on a short video.

Foggy ridgetop
Continuing on across the ridge, I passed ghostly forests.  As I came out into the first clearing the wind began to kick up.  Not only was it now rainy and foggy, it was now also windy.  Yup, pure misery!

It's getting thicker.....

Although I'd intended to hike all the way up to Phlox Point, about halfway across the ridge, I decided to turn around.  It was rainy, windy and cold.  My clothes were soaked from both the rain and from brushing against soggy vegetation.  My boots were so wet they squished when I took a step.  Huddling behind a small bush, I quickly gulped a bite of lunch.  Then, retracing my steps, I headed back down the ridge. 

I always like loop hikes, so on my return I followed the trail proper as it snaked through a dense forest.  About halfway down I passed by a large rock shaped like a boot that was perched on an old tree stump.  Supposedly a well-known local landmark, I snapped a couple of shots for posterity.

Ghostly forest

Then it was a long, wet downhill trudge to my car.  The rain began to fall heavily and everything on me that wasn't well covered got totally soaked.  Boy was I glad for that garbage bag protecting my camera!  For a cheap plastic bag, it performed admirably. 

After not seeing a soul all day (another advantage to hiking in bad weather) for the last two miles, I was followed by a couple and their dog.  Arriving at the trailhead, I joked that we were the only people crazy enough to be out here in this weather.

Soaked to the bone!

Once home, after a hot shower and dry clothes, it was time to view the photos from the day.  Although not great for hiking, the foggy wet weather produced superb lighting conditions.  I discovered many images I liked.  My wet hike had been vindicated - it was totally worth braving the inclimate weather! 

Moral of the story - don't let a little rain stop you from getting out on the trails.  You might just see something wonderful.


  1. Sunny days are terrible for photographing flowers so it's good you had a rainy day! Those flower shots are gorgeous. I love how all the colors pop! It's funny, where I live is considered the PNW too but our rains all but stop from mid-May to mid-September. We get more than our fair share of fog to make up for it, though.

  2. Uma caminha da que resultou em belas fotografias principalmente das flores silvestres.
    Um abraço e continuação de uma boa semana.

  3. I am so glad you made this trip I am so glad you made this trip because your photographs are love me despite the mist rain and wind raindrops The raindrops on all the foliage and flowers makes for a wonderful photography

  4. I love these images. Glad you weathered the weather.
    I love rain!

  5. Hiking in the rain has never been my idea of fun, but it is so dry here at the moment that your wet images are a treat.

  6. Hello Linda, sorry the rain could not hold off until your hike was done. You are a dedicated hiker to be out there in the weather. The wildflowers are lovely, awesome shots. I like the raindrop shots too. Well done! Happy Thursday, enjoy your day and the weekend ahead!

  7. Some nice shots there. Surprised you use a 7D with all the landscapes you take, thought you would be better off with a 5 or 6D. The 7 is more associated with spot & bird photography. Not a rain person myself, can put up with the wet jeans but don't like the water dripping down my neck

  8. I really enjoyed your flower photos in this post. You don't need great weather to take great photos. Very nice work!

  9. Ha, ha, ha....this is why Hans is so concerned about us ending up in the wetter parts of OR when we eventually buy a house! But, you are so right, the flowers, the mist...things look so beautiful in the damp! Excessive rain and gray may push us to land in Bend...

  10. Linda, I absolutely love this series, I find it both beautiful and soothing. And I agree with you, don't let a little rain stop you from getting out for walks!

  11. Rainy days are great for photography! Such pretty wildflowers!! :)

  12. Have to admit I'm a fair weather friend when it comes to walking. One drop of rain and I'm back in the house. Lovely photos though. Rain drops make everything more beautiful. I love the moss in the Pacific Northwest.

  13. You are dauntless! I agree that you had perfect lighting for those flower shots and the droplets are the icing on the cake. My camera is supposed to be waterproof (and the lenses), but I don't really want to put it to the test. You saw so many wildflowers already in May. I'm seeing the same now in middle of June.

  14. As you said you need that weather to justify buying the rain gear. Always love the wildflowers you show us at this time of the year.

  15. For those of us who have been above the treeline, we never forget the flowers.

  16. I can just imagine the wonderful views hidden by the fog, but you certainly captured amazing images of the wildflowers. One can take a rainy day, so long as it doesn't happen too often.

  17. Rain or no rain, a wonderful hike.

  18. I'm always surprised at how much rain you get there. But you're right, the photos are fab!

  19. That's right, Linda...don't let a little rain stop you! There is beauty to be found on those types of outings. Lovely images!

  20. It doesn't rain much here, but this spring it has. Ithe always seems to fall on the weekend too! I'm scarred from the Alaska rainforest years and not as tough as you.

  21. Flowers and leaves with raindrops are lovely, just as yours are. Glad you had a good but soggy and safe journey out. The flowers were easy to see though. Yep, we are back to the rain today and tomorrow. Only in Oregon! Take care!

  22. Although never my favourite walking conditions, on a day with bright flowers and lush vegetation all around to admire, rain and dull weather can show up individual colours very well.

  23. Nice to see some rainy images from time to time. And you do look good in the gear :)

  24. Besides, the wonderful smell of fresh rain is always a great thing!

  25. Looks like a great day out. Getting wet is only a problem if you think you are going to stay dry! I am very close to buying a small weatherproof 'point and shoot' for 'walking' shots to avoid the DSLR in a bag issue!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  26. I think the light on those days works well too

  27. what a great place to hike and explore, take pictures. so glad you braved the elements and won. thanks for sharing such beautiful images and videos. hope all is well. have a great day~

  28. I think the raindrops just added to all your photos of the flowers and leaves. Just stunning!!

  29. You sound like me--rain is just a different way to see the scenery. These are awesome colors and the drops add some ambiance :)

  30. i love to photograph in cloudy conditions too. the raindrops make your beautiful images perfect.

  31. Those wildflowers are so beautiful! I like your rain gear and should invest in some myself one of these days. One of my fondest hiking memories is hiking a trail near my house in a storm! I took one photo of the big black ominous cloud before I began the hike and then began to walk fast to try to finish the hike before the rain hit. Well it did not rain, it hailed!! I also carried a plastic bag to protect my camera and I could not chance taking it out for even one photo in the hail as I was afraid it would be damaged. I looked like a snowman, covered with ice crystals by the time I returned to my car. It was fun, however, and made for a special memory.

  32. Beautiful photos of the flowers and the leaves. The rain drops are very pretty.


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