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Karen˛
A Real Canadian Girl



Joined: 25 Jul 2002
Posts: 1369 | TRs
Location: Behind the Lens
Karen˛
A Real Canadian Girl
PostWed Aug 19, 2009 6:47 pm 
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Working title: Hiker doesn't want to starve to death so comes home early.

I want to apologize up front for the wordy report; my editor is out hiking and not available to cull it.   hockeygrin.gif

I love it when a trip comes together at the last minute and goes according to plan without a hitch.  Unfortunately this was not one of those trips!   shakehead.gif

In a series of fiascos that started with me forgetting my watch (I could use my camera for a time piece, but no alarm for sunrise photography!), forgetting my headlamp (but I carried 3 extra AAA batteries for it) and cumulating in a stove that did not work.   doh.gif

I had enough filler food to make it to Tapto Lakes and back and if I got REALLY hungry I could still eat the “boil in bag food” with cold water – yuck!  But I decided the first night I would cut the trip short and and hoof it 18.5 miles out on the 3rd day, skipping out sunset on Hannegan Peak the last night.

My plan was to take it slow and easy this trip as I have a big adventure planned for the coming weekend.  So I did something I do not normally do, I stopped for a lot of breaks and took some photos of things along the trail I normally wouldn’t stop for.

Marmot running because he knows I'm hungry
Marmot running because he knows I'm hungry
Mmmm tastes like Chicken
Mmmm tastes like Chicken
Finger Lickin Good
Finger Lickin Good
British Soldiers
British Soldiers
Forest Floor
Forest Floor
Are these edible because I'm really hungry
Are these edible because I'm really hungry

I had the US Cabin campsite all to myself on a Saturday night so I crashed early.  I was probably more miffed that I had humped that stove, fuel bottle, pot and 2 boil in bag meals in 10 miles for nothing than I was miffed about the fact that the stove didn’t work and I was going to be a tad hungry this trip.

I hit the trail at 6:45am once I cached my stove and was surprised to see 3 young men in hoodies, track pants and sneakers at the campground sign.  They had apparently hiked through the night and were headed to Bear Creek.  I let them get a head of me but soon caught up to them again.  The trail was a bit overgrown, but no fear…my young hoodie friends had a machete!   paranoid.gif

We shortly reached the cable car and I got a free ride over.  Ok well I sort of helped, but it was an easier ride than on the way back by myself.  I left the young men in the dust and turned at the junction to head up the Brush Creek trail.  What can I say about this trail, other than it is aptly named.  It was so brushy in spots I couldn’t even see my feet. The weather had been cool and damp the previous day and I was absolutely drenched battling through the brush.

There was a fire along the Brush Creek Trail earlier in the week, but the trail was opened again and the fire was being monitored.  There were a few short patches where smoke lingered in the air, but it wasn’t too bad.

Smoke lingers in the air
Smoke lingers in the air

The rest of the hike up to Whatcom Pass was uneventful, there are a couple nice streams and small waterfalls to break at and refill water containers.

Watering hole
Watering hole

When I reached Whatcom Pass I was greeted by yum!  Huckleberries.  They were ramping up their production and it was a good thing, because I could use the extra food!   hungry.gif

By the time I turned off the main trail at the pass and climbed up the steep path I was feeling kind of tired.

Above Whatcom Pass
Above Whatcom Pass

But when I reached the overlook of the Tapto Lakes Basin I was instantly recharged.  Wow!   eek.gif   It was a lot nicer than I expected, no wonder everyone raves about this place!  There were lakes and tarns all different sizes and colors.

Swimming Pool Lake
Swimming Pool Lake
Tapto Lakes
5 labels
Tapto Lakes
Tapto Lakes
Tapto Lakes

I slowly headed down, snapping photos left and right as I descended.  I was disappointed when I got to the main lakes, this does not look like Don Geyer and Plain Old Dan’s photos, you can’t even see Challanger and just a bit of Whatcom!   frown.gif

Buoy Lake
Buoy Lake

I really wanted to go for a swim but it was still cold and the sun only came out for short periods at a time.  So I dropped my pack and wandered around.  Ok Heart Tarn – check, Swimming Pool Lake -check, Buoy Lake (there was a yellow buoy in the middle) – check, Lemon Lime Lake – check, and then finally the Ugly Duckling Tarn.

THIS?  THIS is the tarn Don and Dan took pictures at?   confused.gif

Ugly Duckling Tarn
Ugly Duckling Tarn
Ugly Duckling Tarn
Ugly Duckling Tarn

It is small, full of sticks, rocks and weeds, it is dull reddish brown in color and boy does it STINK!  Those guys are out of their minds, what were they thinking?  Little did I know at sunrise and sunset this hideous tarn is transformed into one of the most magical settings I have photographed!

So back I had to go to the first lakes to get my pack.  It would be one of many wanderings I would do over the next day!  After a BRIEF swim in Swimming Pool Lake I set up camp on a little hillock just above Lemon Lime Lake and Ugly Duckling Tarn, it was the only place I could find a bare spot to set up my bivy without crushing anything.

Lemon Lime Lake 6 images
Lemon Lime Lake 6 images

While taking some photos on the far side of Lemon Lime Lake and waiting for a brief moment of sun I noticed I was sitting in a patch of ripe berries.

Lemon Lime Lake
Lemon Lime Lake
Whatcom Peak
Whatcom Peak
Mt Challenger
Mt Challenger
Contrasting light & dark peaks
Contrasting light & dark peaks

I later wandered over with my pot and proceeded to forage for some berries to take home for the kids.  Less than 10 minutes after I was done and back to camp I notice a black bear lumbering down the hill headed straight for not only MY berry patch, but my photography spot!   rant.gif

Fellow hiker foraging for berries
Fellow hiker foraging for berries

I watched the bear for a long time and once he got too close to camp for my comfort I banged my hiking poles together.  When the bear looked over at me I called out “Here bear bear” and it immediately changed course and went up and over, above the lake.  At this time I decided it was prudent to put a big lake in between the bear and my camp (yeah I know bears can swim and the lake isn’t that big, but it made me feel better).

I watched the bear for over an hour, cheering him upwards and back in the direction it had come from.  The sun was now out and I wanted to take pictures dammit!  Finally with the bear long gone I sat and watched the white sky turn almost instantly to blue.  What the heck?  I was worried about no sunset because it was all cloud, now I was worried about no sunset because of no clouds!   lol.gif

Lemon Lime Lake after the skies cleared
Lemon Lime Lake after the skies cleared
Whatcom Peak in Ugly Duckling Tarn
Whatcom Peak in Ugly Duckling Tarn
Ugly Duckling Tarn
Ugly Duckling Tarn
Mt Challenger after the skies cleared
Mt Challenger after the skies cleared
Whatcom Peak after the skies cleared
Whatcom Peak after the skies cleared

The sunset was ok, and I have to admit for the first time in years of photographing sunsets I was tricked into believing the show was over.

Whatcom Peak early evening
Whatcom Peak early evening
Sunset over Lemon Lime Lake
Sunset over Lemon Lime Lake

I was ˝ way to camp when I realized the sky behind me was blazing!  I ran up the hill and sure enough some wispy pink clouds had appeared out of nowhere.  Darn it!   doh.gif   I sprint back to Ugly Duckling Tarn and wow!  What a transformation!

Sunset
Sunset

I was not fooled the next morning and headed straight to the tarn.  I think this was the nicest sunrise I have ever seen.  The whole sky from Red Peak behind me to Shuksan was on fire.  Ugly Duckling tarn is very shallow and not subject to the breezes Lemon Lime Lake was and the red sky reflecting in it was beautiful.  By the time the sun had rose, the spell was broken and tarn had turned back into a pumpkin.  But don’t worry little tarn, I know you are truly beautiful!   biggrin.gif  agree.gif

Whatcom Peak reflected in Ugly Duckling Tarn
Whatcom Peak reflected in Ugly Duckling Tarn
Sunrise over the basin
Sunrise over the basin
Sunrise
Sunrise
Whatcom
Whatcom
Whatcom Peak and Mt Challenger
Whatcom Peak and Mt Challenger
Best sunrise EVAR
Best sunrise EVAR
Fire in the sky
Fire in the sky

Not much to say about the last day except it was a very long slog out to the trailhead.  After finishing the wet Brush Creek portion I had to stop and ring out and change my socks.

How come every time you get to a cable car, it is always on the far side?

Do I look scared?  Not of heights, but my camera is outside the safety of the cable car!
Do I look scared?  Not of heights, but my camera is outside the safety of the cable car!
HIgh Above the river
HIgh Above the river

The trail up to Hannegan Pass was a veritable highway  hink.gif , lots of climbers heading up Ruth.  I passed at least a dozen parties on their way in after 3pm on a Monday night!

Froggie
Froggie

One last note, the road is in great shape, they did a good job repairing it.  And the avalanche debris fields across the trail (2 of them about 5 minutes and 15 min in) have a boot beaten path through them, no problem to negotiate.   up.gif
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Ingunn
Hiking Viking



Joined: 01 Feb 2008
Posts: 1754 | TRs
Location: Redmond
Ingunn
Hiking Viking
PostWed Aug 19, 2009 8:00 pm 
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slobber.gif

Who needs a stove when a fugly little tarn can turn into delicious chicken soup for the soul? biggrin.gif
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jenjen
Moderatrix



Joined: 30 Jun 2003
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jenjen
Moderatrix
PostWed Aug 19, 2009 8:15 pm 
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Holy Moses woman!  You just saved me several ounces -- I'm not even bothering to take a camera after your gorgeous shots.   borank.gif

(making a mental note to check the stove before I head in tomorrow...)

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If life gives you melons - you might be dyslexic
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seawallrunner
dilettante



Joined: 27 Apr 2005
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seawallrunner
dilettante
PostWed Aug 19, 2009 8:17 pm 
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gorgeous photos Karen !!!!!!

sorry to hear you were hungry throughout your hike though frown.gif
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Don
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Don
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PostWed Aug 19, 2009 8:19 pm 
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Ugly Duckling Tarn - I love it!  I seriously did not experience any stench or lack of beauty from this tarn during my visit.  Too funny!

Your morning was more prosperous than mine.  I had clear skies, breeze, and no character, so feel fortunate.  I walked away from the area without taking a single picture.

Finally, I loved your trip report (the photos go without saying!)  It was from the heart and expressed your true emotions and feelings. Sometimes I feel rushed in posting mine and feel they lack this quality.  Just my two cents. Oh, It also included a bear story, which should be a prerequisite to a posting of any extended trip  hockeygrin.gif .

I've been excited for this report (as you know) and enjoyed the more complete narrative - thanks!

I'm glad you enjoyed yourself and came away with such memories (well, except the stove).   up.gif

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Don Geyer Photography

Photography Blog
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Hikingqueen
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Hikingqueen
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PostWed Aug 19, 2009 8:40 pm 
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Fantastic pics! Cool bear encounter too. I got to see one, and now I want more..
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wamtngal
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wamtngal
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PostWed Aug 19, 2009 8:42 pm 
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rocker.gif Awesome photos - spectacular! Your writing made me feel as though I was walking down the trail with you too.

I've been planning a trip next week and looking at a number of areas, including the Taptos. Although I don't think we'll be able to head there next week, your photos have definitely bumped up the visit to the upper half of my list.  biggrin.gif

Sorry to hear about the stove...I think this is one of the main reasons why I like my alcohol stove (aside from the weight savings) - no fear of it breaking.
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jeremybe
Ol' One-shirt



Joined: 17 Jul 2008
Posts: 275 | TRs
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jeremybe
Ol' One-shirt
PostThu Aug 20, 2009 6:39 am 
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Beautiful.  I've wondered about this area for a while...

Great photos and report!  up.gif

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The blog: http://dontlookdown.wordpress.com/
The photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/asmugglersbible/
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joker
seeker



Joined: 12 Aug 2006
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joker
seeker
PostThu Aug 20, 2009 9:07 am 
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Nice. I particularly like "Sunrise" and "Sunrise over Lemon Lime Lake." It was quite cloudy when I was there, and I only had a little APS camera to boot, which turned out to be too bad as I snapped a fairly nice view over the teeny tarn of a peekaboo to the shoulders of the big peaks out there, with dramatic clouds above. It is, as you might imagine, a very grainy shot. It was a lesson to me in the tradeoffs of going light on camera gear - the SLR and tripod tend to always be along on overnighters now. Gotta get back up there someday. It sounds like it has become more popular since back then from all the commentary here of recent, though. There was no one else up there in late August when we were there about a decade ago.

So I'm curious - what sort of stove do you have, and do you know what failed on it? Always interesting to hear about gear failure points.
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DIYSteve
mere tourist



Joined: 06 Mar 2007
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DIYSteve
mere tourist
PostThu Aug 20, 2009 10:15 am 
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Great pics!  up.gif  Very special place.  Gotta get back there.
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Tazz
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Tazz
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PostThu Aug 20, 2009 10:50 am 
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yummy pics as usual.  agree.gif  up.gif
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Foist
Sultan of Sweat



Joined: 08 May 2006
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Foist
Sultan of Sweat
PostThu Aug 20, 2009 11:06 am 
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Mmm nicely done.  I love the Taptos.  When I got there after bashing through brush along the Little Beaver trail and making the huge climb up to Whatcom from that side, I was too tired to poke around the whole area for the best photo spots.  You found great lighting, bright colors (or is that partly from post-production?  either way, very nice.)

I also don't remember that lake being turquoise like that.  I can't seem to find good photos of that lake in particular from my trip, but it doesn't look green in this one --
Still waters of 2 of the Tapto lakes.  You can see my tent between them.
Still waters of 2 of the Tapto lakes.  You can see my tent between them.

Is it possible it actually took on a greenish color in the last three years?

(edit: I just searched for my report for that trip to check on this, and noticed that it has over 9600 views!!  What in the heck??  It's definitely not my photos -- I didn't put nearly as much effort into it as you did, and they were auto-developed from film at a Walgreens.)

Re: your stove -- did you try just banging it against a rock?  That can unclog it.  I discovered once that a MSR Whisperlite that I thought was "not working" actually just needed to be banged on a rock.
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Karen˛
A Real Canadian Girl



Joined: 25 Jul 2002
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Location: Behind the Lens
Karen˛
A Real Canadian Girl
PostThu Aug 20, 2009 11:35 am 
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Thanks for the kind words all.  It was a very memorable trip and easier to remember fondly now that my feet aren't so sore.   lol.gif

joker wrote:
So I'm curious - what sort of stove do you have, and do you know what failed on it? Always interesting to hear about gear failure points.

Whisperlite Shakerjet.  The fuel is not running out into the priming cup.  I tried following the instructions for cleaning/clearing, but we couldn't even get past step #1 - "unscrew the shaker jet".  David held one part with a pair of pliers, me the other part and we turned against one another and it would not even budge.  It would be nice if it could be fixed, but I don't know much about stoves and don't have time to look into it further right now.  We very rarley carry a stove anyway.  Maybe I'll try Foist's method.   hockeygrin.gif

Foist, I was surprised at the colors of the lakes, I was not expecting such vibrant colors.  The big ones were nice, but Lemon Lime lake really caught my eye, it had a nice glacial color to it.  I did not adjust the colors in post production, what you see is what you get.  Obvioulsy the color comes out more with direct sunlight, you can see that in some photos Lemon Lime Lake is dull, others is it vibrant - it all depends on the lighting (which was extremely variable while I was there!).  The largest lake was more green, the lake below it (in your shot) was a little darker, but it is smaller and not as deep.  But only 4 photos are of the first lakes, most are of Lemon Lime Lake.
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Stefan
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Stefan
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PostThu Aug 20, 2009 2:20 pm 
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um.  Hello.  Can someone here take a bad picture?  Wowza.  Wowza.

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Art is an adventure.
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Canuck
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Canuck
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PostThu Aug 20, 2009 3:11 pm 
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My mom has the shakerjet.  It "broke" at Snowgrass Flats last year.  When she got home she shook it around (hence the "shaker" part of the name) and it worked right away.  Although - it did break again shortly after that and it's been retired.

(Edit:  forgot to say beautiful photos!)
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