Sunday, October 04, 2009

Recent Escapades: Little Si, Columbia Gorge & St. Helens and Mt. Rainier Paradise Point

Of lately, life seems to have been degraded to a cat-n-mouse game, comically akin to Tom-n-Jerry, only, not comic. For a while it seems I am ahead of life (or at least have had a good grasp of it) and the very same instant it gets ahead of me! In a sense, it seems to be a meaningless and frivolous rat-race. To cloud out all the unnecessary clutter from mind, I have had a few escapades. Following are few worth sharing, just because it was so easy to digitally trap them with my camera.
  1. Little Si
  2. Gorge and St. Helens
  3. Mt. Rainier Paradise Point
0. Little Si

Dandelion From Little Si

At an elevation of 1576 feet, Little Si (pronounced sigh) does not seem to be a lofty peak, but let not the raw number fool you. Little Si gains that elevation in just 2.2 miles (each way). The first mile or so is very gentle and mild. But the next mile offers quite imposing cliffs. It surely is not meant for beginners. Be prepared with some food, ample water and some stamina.

Also, unlike most other treks, the summit is NOT picturesque, another disappointment. And neither is the trail so beautiful. So if you plan to go to Little Si, make sure that your ONLY intention is exercise. Not to say that a good photographer can make beautiful pictures out of anything. I tried too, and will let you judge how I fared. And don't forget to take some warm clothing, it can be pretty windy at the top, which hits you hard when you are all sweaty.

Once at the summit, have some nice lunch, probably with a hot drink and then head down back to your car.

Drive Interstate 90 and take the main North Bend exit, heading left into town. Turn right on North Bend Way and drive a couple miles to the Mount Si Road. Turn left, cross the bridge over the Snoqualmie River and park near the bridge in the marked lot. It is difficult to miss the parking lot.

More information:

1. Columbia Gorge and St. Helens

Brothers Talesara! From Columbia Gorge

This was a very hectic 550+ miles trip in just 36 hours! Driving 550 odd miles was kind of fun, but it was also very tiring especially when it is done with other activities and that too in a short span of 36 hours. We went to almost all the points we set to visit, but I wish I had a little more time. Columbia Gorge is certainly a very very beautiful place. Worth going down to a few times, for, probably on each visit you might see something new. I say keep 2-3 days at your hands if you want to make most of your trip. But even as short the trip was, it was fun, because I got ample shooting opportunities.

Vivd Landscape from Vista House From Columbia Gorge

Just for your reference, if you have limited time and want to make most of your trip, there are few places worth visiting:
  • Vista House Scenic Byway
  • Multnomah Falls
  • Fish Hatchery at Bonneville Dam
  • Curly Creek Falls
  • Windy Ridge Viewpoint. I think adding this place to itinerary makes sense only when you are heading to Washington, because that is when it kind of comes on the way (with little to no detour).
2. Impromptu Mt. Rainier Paradise Point trip

Golden Mt. Rainier at Sunset From Mount Rainier Paradise Point

I was a little reluctant on this one for I was little tired and wanted to spend some time home (slumbering with a nice novel) and nothing was planned. If you are going as far as about 100+ miles, each way, you better have a pretty good idea of what places you can and cannot visit,. But good sunny weather and insistence did the trick and I tagged along. Since it wasn't well planned, we just hit Paradise point, trekked along some random trail and headed back home, after doing Reflection Lake on the way. Once again, I wish I had little more time on this trip, could have seen Reflection Lake before sun started going down, which I know, looks just gorgeous.

Reflection Lake From Mount Rainier Paradise Point

Myrtle Falls From Mount Rainier Paradise Point

Links to albums:
  1. Little Si
  2. Long trip to Columbia Gorge and St. Helens
  3. Mt. Rainier Paradise Point