Day Hike to LaCrosse Pass

LaCrosse Pass Marker

Well, it’s a day hike if you are already in the upper Duckabush or upper West Fork Dosewallips. It’s a couple days of hiking in the Olympic National Park to get to that point. LaCrosse Pass is the high point on the trail that runs south from the West Fork Dose to the Duckabush. At 5566 ft, it typically is mid-July before it is snow free. One August, Jeff and I hiked up to the pass from our camp at Honeymoon Meadows. There are good views of the upper Duckabush from the pass (image immediately below) and of the upper West Fork Dosewallips, including the ridge running between the Dose and the Duckabush (second image below). The trail was in good condition, except for grasses growing over the tread. It wasn’t an issue for us, but on a rainy day it would have meant a good chance for wet feet.

These images are lower resolution compared to many of my posts. On this trip (back in 2003) I carried a Nikonos … a rugged camera designed for underwater … and that shoots film. These images are the scans were done during processing and were much lower resolution that what we are used to these days. Since the image files are JPG’s, there is also much less latitude for color correction.

The Upper Duckabush from LaCrosse Pass
The ridge between the West Fork Dosewallips and the Duckabush, looking north from LaCrosse Pass
LaCrosse Pass Trail

Amargosa Hotel

The Amargosa Hotel

Outside the eastern boundary of Death Valley National Park is the Death Valley Historic District and the Amargosa Hotel. The hotel is a small establishment that doesn’t provide a lot of onsite entertainment. There is a coffee shop across the parking lot, but the menu is limited. There are a lot of rooms that are not available due to a lack of enough business to pay for the refurbishing and maintenance. The highlight of the area is the old Opera House … and the painted walls and ceiling that tells the story of the once thriving mining district community. Access to the Opera House is by tour only.

Amargosa Hotel Veranda
Amargosa Hotel Peeling Paint

Spring Hiking Views

Dosewallips River in Spring

Spring covers a wide range of changes to the forests and lowlands of the Olympic National Park. The high country doesn’t start being snow-free until summer … spring in the high country means snow travel. Lower down, the rivers can be running quite low … if the snow isn’t melting higher in the valleys and it’s not raining. The image above is at under 1000 feet elevation and shows the river running fairly low after a couple days of cool dry weather.

The image below shows a group of backpackers that had been up to Big Timber Camp on the West Fork of the Dosewallips. Big Timber is at 2300 feet and they reported 5 feet of hard packed snow at that point. You need good insulation between you and the ground to sleep on snow …

The image at the bottom shows the view up to the high country and the remaining snow in the trees. The area shown has melted out more, since it is open to the south and the sun is starting to do its thawing out trick.

Late Winter Backpacking
Dosewallips Road/Trail with a View to High Country Snow

Wide Angle v Panorama

Dosewallips Road (Trail)

The Dosewallips Road is washed out in a couple of places and is now a 6 mile trail to the old car campground. The trail (road) starts in the Olympic National Forest and runs up into the Olympic National Park. This shot is just about at the trailhead … and shows what it looks like in mid-March. (except it’s usually cloudy and raining). It was shot with a 24-84mm zoom lens set at 24mm. A pretty typical wide angle lens without a lot of “wide angle” distortion.

Now look at the image below, which was taken with the same lens set at the same 24mm. However, in this case I have taken a series of images in the landscape format and stitched them together using Lightroom’s Photo Merge>Panorama option. This results in a much different image … I chose to continue higher into the overhead … but is also has a different viewpoint, since much of the sides were eliminated in the merging process.

I like them both, but they certainly have a different feel to them … you can always turn a series of images into a panorama, but the visual impact is different. And, if you aren’t careful with your exposure settings, you can get a result that doesn’t merge well. The bottom image was taken using “Auto” exposure control and as I moved the camera up to where the sky was in the image, the exposure changed. All I could do was to throw out those images where the exposure didn’t match and you can see the result: the image doesn’t extend to ground level.

Panorama of the Dosewallips Road (Trail)
Panorama without the ground level view

Casting Bronze

Hot Metal
Pouring Hot Metal

For a while I worked at the Pratt Fine Art Foundry in Seattle. I really enjoyed working with metal. I had started with (gas) welding steel, but when I found out how much fun working with bronze was, I was hooked. I worked at developing skills with various styles, many times using natural objects instead of wax models. I cast apples, banana, onion, artichoke, and small trees. I tried casing a trout once, but that didn’t work so well. And the folks in the foundry claimed that when it was in the kiln, it attracted all the neighborhood cats (not likely).

Below is one of my favorites: my hand. I made a model by dripping hot wax from a candle on my hand until it was covered and when the wax was cool and hardened, carefully removed my hand. Then I poured the art wax into the model, removed the candle wax and cast what was left. I was quite pleased with the fact that most of the skin texture and fingerprint patterns showed up.

Unfortunately, all the plaster dust just gave me one sinus infection after another and I had to retire my foundry work.

Need A Hand, Anyone?

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