Previous day when I met a ranger I told him that I wanted to do a star-trail images and time-lapse with Mount Rainier as the subject. He suggested that I should go to Reflection lake at around 2 AM. I woke up at 2 AM and the sky was filled with clouds. I dropped the idea and went back to sleep. At around 5 AM I woke up, it was already bright outside. I started driving to Reflection lake, as I took the turn and drove 100 mtrs I found marmot babies on the road and adults on the rocks playing. I had a great time clicking their images for 15-20 mins and then headed to Reflection lake.
I saw a vehicle parked near a pull over area and followed a person taking pictures there, assuming he must be an expert in that area. I did not get a proper opening to click Mount Rainier reflection. I kept wondering is this best place, I walked down the footpath and found there was proper parking area and there was wide opening to click some lovely images.
I mounted my 16-35 on Canon 7D and left it for a timelapse. My remote for 1DX stopped cooperating hence had to depend on the 7D inbuilt timelapse function. Lake was filled with snow and there were few small patches of clear water and I got my shots of reflection.
Returned to Paradise Inn for breakfast, After breakfast got a bit of guidance from the ranger, first I took off to Narada falls. Ranger is a very nice and friendly person, he seems to have travelled a lot in India, he says Narada falls must have been named by an Indian, referring to Narad muni.
It was steep climb down to the viewing spot, I chose to go further down the slushy trail and luckily I landed at a spot where I could get my dream shots of water falls.
After Narada Falls I drove in the direction of Steven’s Canyon. First I stopped at upper sunbeam falls, it was cool to click the waterfalls all around, Stopped by the road to click Louise lake with backdrop of Mount Rainier. After a 10 mins drive saw a board for Snow lake and stopped there to hike.
Snow lake Trail started off very smoothly with cemented steps after climbing like 100 steps then the trail was completely in snow, I kept pushing myself and reached a plateau, I thought of giving up mid-way, it wasn’t easy carrying a heavy tripod and multiple bodies and lenses. I am glad I pursued when I got to the plateau what I saw was mind-blowing, there were around 8 Waterfalls one next to the other across the mountain, I clicked images to my heart’s content and hiked till bench lake. I met few hikers on the way and they had informed me it was impossible to get to snow lake as the trail was not clear and there was lot of snow. I had to return to the car and it was almost noon.
I had a choice to head back for lunch or move ahead on Steven’s Canyon road. I thought it would not make sense to drive all the way back and forth so I moved forward.
I was super tired. I had stopped at the bridge over Steven’s creek to click waterfalls and the stream after which I had driven towards Box Canyon.
On the way to Box canyon I stopped over at the parking of Maple Creek and Maple Falls. As I saw falls I got excited and started on the Wonderland trail. It was very very steep and I got to a point I had to decide whether to hike towards Box Canyon on towards Maple falls. I chose to hike towards Maple falls, I was all alone did not see a soul around kept following the trail and I reached Maple Creek. Clicked some images at Maple Creek and headed towards Maple falls. I walked almost 3.5 miles and there was no sight of any falls. I was very tired and dehydrated. I walked back to parking.
After the 7 miles hiking with steep ascent and dissent I did not have any energy left for further hikes, I retuned back to Paradise Inn by evening , had dinner and slept like a log.