Joined: 16 Jul 2020
Posts: 211 | TRs | Pics
I spent two nights in the Sunrise area over the weekend. Clear skies made for uninteresting photography conditions during the day (but great conditions at night) so I tried to get a tad creative with compositions. I went with a friend who doesn't have a lot of hiking experience, for context last year we tried the Lyman Lakes Loop together but it was too much for him and we had to turn back early . I learned my lesson, and this time I made sure to choose an easier hike. Sunrise has lots of people but also lots of views and it was his first time visiting the park, plus I did get him to do a couple of easy scrambles which helped boost his confidence for the future.
The best part of the entire trip was getting to watch my friend see the Milky Way for his first time on Friday night. Even though this hike was pretty short/easy even compared to what I often do (let alone all of the insanely cool/tough stuff that many of you), there is something special about sharing outdoor experiences with people who haven't experienced them.
Getting out of Seattle and through the 410 road work took longer than expected so we just barely got to the White River WIC to get our permits. My friend had to borrow a lot of gear, so even just packing up and getting on the trail once we got up to Sunrise took longer than I had hoped. The plan was to get to the Fremont Lookout for sunset, but we didn't quite make it that far. We still got good views on and above the trail to the lookout.
We stayed up until 11:15pm or so before heading back down to camp. I was hoping to see the Northern Lights, and in the second picture below the green might be the Northern Lights way in the distance? We certainly couldn't see any auroral activity with our eyes.
In a rare move for me, I didn't wake up for sunrise and instead slept in. I needed it! Getting a lazy start to the day felt nice. My friend had a huge cricket-looking bug on his groundsheet when he was packing up his tent and the next day I had two huge ones on my groundsheet while I was packing up and two more on my Ursack . I'm not sure if others experience this but I detest bugs indoors but am not really bothered by them outdoors.
Heading up for sunset, a lot of chilling in the dark, then nighttime pictures on the way down.
I don't have a ton of experience taking Milky Way shots, so these are some of my personal best. I stacked 6, 10 second exposures for the foreground and 2 for the sky (I'm still struggling at manually aligning stars in Photoshop). I'm inspired by many of you here like Kenji who take amazing Milky Way shots.
I went back up for sunrise while my friend slept in. I was happy to get more hiking in, although I stayed up much later than I had planned the night before. Lack of sleep was a worthwhile sacrifice for the views.
Back to camp, packing up, then back to the pass and then a little bit of off-trail travel.
Bonus: count the people at the Fremont Lookout
My friend had never seen a marmot before and was fascinated by them
I couldn't believe how many people were at the Fremont Lookout for sunset and sunrise on Saturday/Sunday. I knew it was a popular trail, but I guess I didn't realize just how popular it was. Despite seeing all of these people in the distance I still haven't been to the lookout myself so I will be joining the horde at some point .
To clarify, while it's a bit absurd how many people were at the lookout for sunset/sunrise it's great that there are accessible hikes like this with great views, even if that means that get crowded. As parents and other family members have gotten older and developed mobility issues I've gained an appreciation for places like Sunrise and Paradise that allow people of different mobilities to appreciate the beauty of the outdoors. Heck, the views from the drive up to Sunrise and from the parking lot are incredible!
Nancyann, Cyclopath, Kenji, Bramble_Scramble, reststep SpookyKite89, awilsondc HikingBex