Happy New Year!

Snow-crusted Mountain Hemlocks overlooking Swift Creek valley
View from Artist Ridge to the Swift Creek valley and Baker Lake

I’ve long felt that what I choose to do on New Year’s Day will set the tone for the year to come.

This year Brian and I checked the weather forecast the decided it would be a great day for a snowshoe hike up to Artist Point. I’ve been going up there every winter since 1990-1991 and I never get tired of it. As Brian reminded me yesterday while we were hiking, it’s different every time. Continue reading

Frost Flowers

Frost blooms. Like a flower. Sort of.

1300045 Frost flowers (hair ice). Lake Padden Park, Bellingham, WA. © Mark Turner

I’d never heard the term “frost flowers” until one of my editors and customers requested photographs of the phenomenon late last year. This is a natural phenomenon that occurs during the freeze-thaw cycle, or at the beginning of winter in places that don’t cycle through warm and cold periods. Continue reading

Lost Lake Details

Last Sunday we Bellinghamsters enjoyed one of several fantastic sunny and relatively warm February days. It was time for another calf-burning loop hike in the Chuckanuts. It had only been a month since I’d been to Lost Lake but I decided to make a return visit. I started hiking from the North Chuckanut trailhead around 9 am, giving myself plenty of time to explore at the lake. This time I hiked the loop clockwise, visiting Lost Lake first and returning via the Chinscraper and Chuckanut Ridge trails. See the Chuckanut trails map, and carry it with you if you go. Continue reading

Snowy Christmas Lights

We leave the Christmas lights on the Korean Fir in our front yard garden through much of January to brighten the long winter nights and in hopes of getting a little snow.

Outside Christmas Tree in the Snow
Outside Christmas Tree in the Snow

This year we had to wait until January 17 to get our first snowfall of the winter. Tonight, the 18th, I took my camera outside in the bitter cold to photograph the tree and its setting. I used my Canon 1Ds Mk II with a 16-35mm lens and photographed at the widest setting. I wanted to emphasize the space and separate the tree from our house and other buildings in the neighborhood. Continue reading

Snow and Slow: Forest in my Pocket

This past weekend was the beginning of the first real winter we’ve had this season. I took a couple of hikes to keep my blood circulating and to visit a couple of favorite local haunts. Saturday I zipped up to Pine and Cedar Lakes in the Chuckanuts and on Sunday I ambled along the Whatcom Creek trail to Whatcom Falls Park, returning via the Railroad Trail.

Saturday was the beginning of our current snowfall. There was just a bit of slush at the Pine & Cedar trailhead, but by the time I’d gained the roughly 1500′ to the lakes the snow was 5-6 inches deep, relatively light and fluffy. Continue reading