Maine 2017 – Mt. Katahdin

8/30/17

The primary objective of the days at Baxter State Park was the hiking of Mt. Katahdin, the Northern end of the Appalachian Trail. We chose to ascend via Abol Trail since that’s where our camp was. Abol is a bit shorter, but steeper than Hunt Trail from what we were able to find. We got a very early start (for us at least) heading up the mountain by 8:00. I was a bit paranoid about the time and making it to the top given some of our previous adventures and the various warnings in the printed material. Turns out, the timing was a bit excessive.  I think we got to the peak just before noon and given how late it was in the season, there really was no ‘hot’ part of the day to avoid.  Also, the pictures we took of the trail map were wholly unnecessary since the trial was obvious the entire time.

Katahdin Sign

It was fun, but also a bit disheartening, to see all the AT through hikers finishing that day having their little celebrations at the top – some brought pizza, some brought beer, special shirts for photos. A couple kids (not through hikers) brought 4-person pot pies (1 each) that they ate cold. It was discouraging only because it kind of dwarfed our day-hike accomplishment kind of like we cheated and jumped straight to the finale.

On our descent, we took the side-trail that went to Abol falls. It was a pretty easy, flat trail, but the falls were not as grand as Katahdin Falls from the day before.  Still worth a few pictures.

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Maine 2017 – Baxter State Park

8/29/17

Katahdin Falls

We decided to spend a few days in Baxter State Park.  It was a bit of a divergence from our typical gravitation toward the national parks, but worth it.  Baxter State Park is huge and home to Mt. Katahdin. We got to the park early in the afternoon and, after a quick reservation adjustment at the welcome shack to consolidate the two nights we had reserved in separate sites, found our lean-to and set up for the evening. I had never stayed in a lean-to before, but it was nice having a clean, elevated platform for the tent and not needing the rain fly.  It was also really nice to not have to make the choice between packing up a damp tent or waiting for everything to dry out in the morning.

Moose sightings were reportedly a thing in Baxter, so we walked and drove to a few of the nearby ponds before deciding to take a hike up Hunt Trail toward Katahdin. The goal was to hike the mountain the next day, but we were going to take a the Abol trail and thus would not have passed by Katahdin Falls, the destination for the evening.  The trail wasn’t anything too challenging – just a moderate climb.  The falls are pretty substantial, but they cut through the side of a mountain, so finding a good viewpoint was a bit challenging.

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Grand Canyon Trip – Day 1

Reporting on a recent trip that Janet and I took to the Grand Canyon…

Obligatory Moose

We flew out to Las Vegas on Saturday and, in the standard fashion, got a car and made a stop for food and other non-packed supplies, and headed toward the Grand Canyon South Rim.  We didn’t intend to make it all the way to the Grand Canyon.

Janet had found an incredibly cheap hotel, the Ash Fork Inn in Ash Fork, UT.   I think the realization that this might be somewhat questionable started when the hotel did not show up on in the right place on TomTom or Google maps.  Upon arriving, we realized it was exactly what one might expect for the price.  It was certainly the most rundown hotel I’ve stayed in in the US and maybe anywhere, but it was sufficient for somewhere to sleep.  I am also delighted that the most run down accommodation award is no longer owned by me, and not likely to be reclaimed unless we count making her stay in campgrounds. Continue reading

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

Last from Bryce Canyon, posted in part because of my recent reading of this article on Luminous Landscape.  I was obviously at that point later in the day where the shadows were overtaking the valley.  I did some adjusting afterward, otherwise the lower portion of this picture was completely lost in one big shadow.

Picture taken with Canon 60D, EF-S 17-85mm lens @ 17mm, 1/50 sec shutter, f/16, ISO 100

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

Second from Bryce Canyon, same polarization caveat as before, but I’ve done my best to correct it out.  It’s odd how a bunch of dead, or at least dead in appearance, trees can look so cool among the red rocks.  Probably because they’re the only thing that can grow there so they are naturally isolated.

Picture taken with Canon 60D, EF-S 17-85mm lens @ 20mm, 1/40 sec shutter, f/16, ISO 100

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

Moving on to Bryce Canyon, this is one of the bristle cone pines there.  I thought it would be a good idea to use a polarizer to keep the brightness of the sky in check, but in hindsight, I think it made the sky look a bit off and I would have been better off just dialing down the exposure to make sure that the histogram didn’t shown any white clipping.

Picture taken with Canon 60D, EF-S 17-85mm lens @ 17mm, 1/80 sec shutter, f/8.0, ISO 100

Willis Canyon

Willis Canyon

This is a shot from Willis Canyon, same as yesterday’s, different look though.

Photographic note: there was another guy there taking pictures at the same time and he was standing much further back than I had been and mentioned how standing back and using a longer lens helped compress the scene.  I remember vaguely having known this effect in the back of my mind, but hadn’t really though in those terms.  I believe this shot was the result of giving that a try as opposed to yesterday’s which was taken with a much wider angle.

Picture taken with Canon 60D, EF-S 17-85mm lens @ 47mm, 0.3 sec shutter, f/16, ISO 100

Zion Narrows

Zion Narrows

Back from a 2012 hike through the Zion Narrows – this was probably one of the cooler hikes I’ve done, but still ranks second to the Lake of the Angel hike I think.  Unfortunately, I only had the little waterproof pocket camera since it was an overnight and both space and weight were a concern.

Picture taken with Pentax Optio W60, lens @ 5mm (28mm eq), 1/100 sec shutter, f/3.5, ISO 100