These photos are from a long ago hike. One of the toughest days I have had backpacking … the “off trail” traverse from Appleton Pass to Cat Basin in the Olympic National Park. As we struggled across the side hill, the clouds came in and our visibility dropped. While we were on the sidehill, there was no real chance of losing our way, since we could just keep the uphill side to our right, until we ran into the Cat Basin Trail that comes in from the High Divide. We were tired and set up camp in a small flat spot above the trail. We were sorta miserable and thought the spot was one of the worse we had camped in. But in the morning, the cloud was gone and we were looking directly down into Cat Basin and a herd of a hundred or so Olympic Elk. It went from one of the worse camps we had to one of the best … in a few hours.
North Fork Skokomish in Winter
The North Fork Skokomish valley is one of my favorite locations in Olympic National Park. It used to be the closest to my home, when I lived in Olympia. It’s a little farther away now, but I still try to make several trips per year. It’s a low snow year when you can drive up to the Staircase Trailhead in December (unlike this year).
Hart Lake Sunrise
(more found images from my archive file) Hart Lake is in the upper Duckabush Valley, and is much less visited than the Heart Lake in the upper Sol Duc. Hart Lake takes over 20 miles of hiking to get there, so there are many fewer visitors. We were camped near the lake and when the sun was coming up, the clouds in the valley moved up … before burning off for the day. It was spectacular.
Above the Clouds — for a while
Another image from near the Deer Park Campground in Olympic National Park. This shows the clouds in the valleys looking south into the center of the park. Somewhere in there is the Graywolf River valley and the valleys of Cameron Creek and Grand Creek. When you see weather like this in the Olympics, enjoy the sun while you can. Once the sun rises high enough to warm the valley air, the cloud layer rises. Then you have the tops of the cloud layer joining you and covering you. See below.
The Atmospheric Effect
The Atmospheric Effect is where the mist or haze in the air enhances the apparent depth of the subject. In this case, I took the photo looking west from the summit of Blue Mountain above Deer Park Campground in the Olympic National Park. This is the view looking into the sun. Below is the view looking south — 90 degrees from the photo above. And with a different lens, of course. But notice the lack of the atmospheric effect.