Less than two weeks have passed since my latest near-death experience. It was one of those things you always think might happen climbing - you're on easy, but loose terrain, and unroped so if you slip you don't kill your partner as well. How many hundreds or thousands of times have I said, "if this foothold comes loose, I'm a goner?" I guess I wasn't meant to die on my birthday, because when the moss hummock blew out under my feet nearing the top of Beacon Rock, my rickety handhold stayed in place and I swung to the left. Had I swung to the right it would have been 400 feet of what the fuck vertical freefalling to the base of the rock. Which would really suck because I had a slideshow to give that night in Portland and I hate giving shows on crutches. Instead I landed in a nice soft patch of poison oak.
Now one would think that would be the most memorable moment of my northwest tour, but so many other cool things happened that the scary mishap and the rash are quickly fading into the past. Most of the trip was climbing-related, but DKish and I had a few days to explore the Olympic Peninsula before returning to Flagstaff. The Olympics were her birthday gift to me and it was an incredible 48 hours of sensual overload.
My landscape photography has often been hampered by the lack of any dark clouds over my head. Our first afternoon we went to Hurricane Ridge and watched clouds swirl through the valleys.
I encountered my first Black-tailed Deer. Being in a National Park they seemed very tame.
The Olympic marmot is only found in this range. It's the State of Washington's official endemic mammal. Sorry orca.
This non-native Mountain Goat found a yummy pee patch. The goats crave the salts found in human urine and will hang out around trails and the base of climbs sniffing out their treats.
Hiking back to the car some mist moved in.
Creating this cool sunbow. That's my shadow.
We spent the night ay Crescent Lake. Even though the water is super clear, you can't see to the bottom - it's over 600 feet deep. Wild to see such a cool glacial feature just miles from the coastline.
The next morning we went to the coast and Rialto Beach. These are some of the medium-sized logs that have washed up there.
It's a popular place.
This Black-tailed Deer was just cruising along checking out tidepools and such.
It reminded me of Point Lobos in that everywhere you turned there was something cool to shoot. From long shots...
Getting a bit abstract.
Then working with forms in black and white.
This crow photo-bombed the Bald Eagle perched atop the pinnacle.
The last morning came way too fast. We had less than two hours to explore the old growth forest.
Lush is not a word I get to use much in Arizona. At least not the adjective.
This last one is for the photogeeks - a handheld 3-shot HDR (braced on bridge railing) processed in Lightroom 6's HDR function - I was impressed at the seamless job it did (set at high no-ghosting).
Thanks DKish for a great birthday trip.
Text and photos all ©John Sherman, please no reproduction without written permission.