Cloud Cap Inn

July 11, 2015

Steider Studios.Cloud Cap Inn Side.6.28.15

The last Sunday in June a friend and I went to Cloud Cap Inn for a tour offered by the Forest Service.  It’s only available during summer and only on Sundays.

Steider Studios.Cloud Cap Inn Front.6.28.15

It’s one of those places near me that I’ve always wanted to go see, but until now didn’t take the opportunity.

Steider Studios.Bear Grass on Cloud Cap Road.6.28.15

Bear Grass blooms lined one section of the winding gravel road bringing life back to the charred forest from the Gnarl Ridge wildfire in 2008.

Steider Studios.Ranger Ron at Cloud Cap Road.6.28.15

Ranger Ron Kikel is incredibly knowledgeable and led us through the Inn room by room, telling us the history of the Cloud Cap Inn.

Steider Studios.Cloud Cap Inn Tour.6.28.15-2Most of the interior was too dark for my camera without a tripod or flash but one of the tiny bedrooms, flooded with light from a window displayed signatures from those who stayed at the inn and signed their names on the bedroom walls.

Steider Studios.Cloud Cap Inn Tour.6.28.15-4The dining area ~ boots lining the top beam belong to Crag Rats, the oldest volunteer mountain rescue group in North America.  They have leased this building for more than 50 years as a staging site for rescues on Mt. Hood.

Steider Studios.Cloud Cap Inn Tour.6.28.15-5

Built in 1889, the Cloud Cap Inn is the country’s oldest high alpine ski cabin. It was built on the site of the first “season long” public resort at timberline (1883), a tent camp hosted by Mrs. David Cooper, of the Cooper Family which gave its name to the distinctive ridge above the inn.

The inn, built at an elevation of 5837′, was constructed of amabilis fir, cut from a site about 2.5 miles below the inn and hauled up the mountain by teams of horses. William Marcy Widden, a Portland architect drew the plans.”

You can read more here and Google for images of days gone by.

Steider Studios.Cloud Cap Path.6.28.15

Out the back door, we enjoyed our picnic lunch, then hiked this little path.

Steider Studios.Clouds.Cloud Cap Inn.6.28.15

Clouds gently blew in and we caught a few sprinkles of rain.

Steider Studios.Mt Hood from Cloud Cap.6.28.15

One last shot of Mt. Hood before heading back to our ‘city’.

Steider Studios.Cloud Cap Inn.6.28.15

By the way, we thought we had to park at the campground below Cloud Cap Inn and walk up, but there’s a large gravel parking lot you drive up to.  The road isn’t as daunting as it looks.

Steider Studios.Inspiration Point.6.28.15

On the way back down we stopped at Inspiration Point.  The waterfall and river were muddy brown.

Steider Studios.Stone Monument.6.28.15

At the bottom of the Inspiration Point trail is this stone monument.  I would love to know the story of Stephen.

Steider Studios.Mt Adams behind Burned Trees.6.28.15

Driving on Cloud Cap Road through the scorched forest was eery.  On a clear day we could’ve seen Mt Adams glow as the sun lit her up.

Steider Studios.Wild Lily on Cloud Cap Road.6.28.15One last delight, among the wildflowers blooming was a stand of wild lilies.  It was another fabulous day in the Columbia River Gorge.

SteiderStudios.Mt Hood from Pinnacle Ridge Trailhead.7.5.15 The Columbia Gorge Bird Nerds journeyed to Laurance Lake on Sunday to see what we could find.  Of course we expected to find birds…. SteiderStudios.Chipmunk.7.5.15We stopped at the dam first and found this cute little chipmunk eating and posing!  We saw an American Robin high in a tree, an Oregon Junco singing it’s heart out and a White-crowned Sparrow sitting on a fence. SteiderStudios.Yellow rumped warbler juvenile.7.5.15-2Across a clearing we saw warblers scampering about.  They were mostly too fast for me, but I caught this juvenile Yellow-rumped warbler before we headed for the lake. SteiderStudios.Bumble Bee.7.5.15 We saw bumblebees playing in knapweed… SteiderStudios.Swallowtail on Fireweed.7.5.15-4 …and Swallowtails drifting among tall stands of fireweed. SteiderStudios.Yellow rumped Warbler.7.5.15-5 At the lake we saw an Audubon’s Yellow-rumped Warbler high in a conifer.  Did I mention it was a gorgeous blue-sky day?  The campground was full, the day after Independence Day but we arrived before most campers woke. SteiderStudios.BirdWalk.7.5.15 I believe this is a Western Wood Pewee, hope you’ll correct me if I’m wrong. SteiderStudios.Otter.7.5.15 Looking for Pica on the rocky hillside as we walked down the path, half our group missed the Bald Eagle that flew low over our heads.  Towards the end of the lake an Otter delighted us with his fishing skills. SteiderStudios.Mallard juveniles.7.5.15 This end of the lake was full of activity, including a family of Mallards.  Two of the kids bathed in the sun while Mama and 3 siblings stayed in the shade until they all went for a foraging swim. SteiderStudios.Cedar Waxwing.7.5.15 We saw Red-winged Blackbirds and a Merganser and an Osprey in flight.  I was mesmerized by a flock of Cedar Waxwings including a parent feeding a juvenile.  We watched a Northern Rough-winged Swallow skimming the surface of the lake and a Spotted Sandpiper skittering along a beaver dam. SteiderStudios.American Dipper.7.5.15 We all squeezed through a narrow path and found ourselves next to a beautiful little creek so clear we could see the rocky bottom.   An American Dipper worked his way very close, until he noticed us & quickly left.  It was a great place to snap some group shots, splash cold water on our hot heads and just enjoy the morning. SteiderStudios.American Robin.7.5.15As we exited, our last bird sighting was the same that we started the day with, an American Robin.  Most of our group then headed up to Pinnacle Trail head where we found huckleberries!!!  Mt. Hood photo at the top of this post was shot there.  We ended the day with lunch and ice cream in Parkdale.

Columbia Gorge Bird Nerds

A few of the Columbia Gorge Bird Nerds cooling off by the creek.  Photo courtesy of Ann Zuehlke.

Other birds that were heard and/or seen by others:  Pileated Woodpecker, Warbling Vireo, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Swainson’s Thrush, Chipping and Song Sparrows and a Western Tanager. Fun times!!  See you next time, first Sunday in August.

Steider Studios:  Tiny Waterfall

This weekend I attended a photo conference that inspired and fueled my passion for photography.

Steider Studios:  Wahclella Falls

It began Friday with a hike to Wahclella Falls near Bonneville Dam.  Most of the other photographers were landscape enthusiasts.

Steider Studios:  Fish Swimming Upstream

I love great landscapes, but am more captivated with nature.  In the creek leading to Wahclella Falls, fish were swimming upstream.

Steider Studios:  Spider Sups at Waterfall

Spiders were building webs and capturing prey……

Steider Studios:  Dipper at Wahclella Falls

…and at the end of our hike I found a Dipper perched on a rock!

Steider Studios:   Starvation Creek Falls

To our delight, the group leader added a second stop at Starvation Creek Falls .

Steider Studios:  Mt. Hood at Sunrise.10.13.13

Saturday I attended five lectures on various technical or inspirational topics, then Sunday enjoyed another field trip.  Mt. Hood at sunrise!  Unfortunately clouds hampered our view, but I can go back another time if I can drag myself out of bed that early again.

Steider Studios:  Mt. Hood at Sunrise10.13.13

Eventually the clouds broke up and we had a semi-clear view of the mountain before it was time to leave.

Steider Studios:  Top of Mt.Hood

As we left, I grabbed this last shot of the top of Mt. Hood.  I love living amidst the majesty of the Columbia River gorge.

Steider Studios:  Red Breasted Sapsucker

Most inspiring to me was Friday evening keynote speaker, Paul Bannick.  Taking his lecture to heart and paying even more attention to habitat than before, I was able to capture this Red-breasted sapsucker near my studio following the conference.   I could go on and on about how fabulous Paul is, but I am rushing out for another hike to find more birds!  Go like his Facebook Page and buy his book, but I warn you – prepare to be awed!

In case you didn’t know it, many of my images are available as all-occasion greeting cards in my Zibbet shop.  Some have also been printed on canvas wraps and glossy aluminum.

Chasing Eagles

January 12, 2012

When people ask “what inspires you?” I want to show them photos I’ve taken near my home in the Columbia River Gorge.    The Pacific Northwest is full of spectacular landscapes and abundant wildlife, but this area defines rugged awe-inspiring beauty.

Today I was awake, dressed and in town before sunrise, sitting in a parking lot along the Columbia River waiting for friends.   I was graced with pink skies as the sun woke up, framing Mt. Hood with a splendor that took my breath away.

What were we doing so early,  you ask?  Heading to the Klickitat River where eagles can be counted in the dozens on some days, we were hoping for a lively show this morning.

Last week I counted 16 in the same spot and watched in amazement as they soared overhead, singing to one another.  This morning there were only six, but we were thrilled to spot them in surrounding trees.

Did I mention it was 20 degrees?  We were cold, so stayed less than an hour before our fingers were too numb to push our shutter buttons.

Back in our semi-warm car, we drove to the head of the Klickitat River where it flows into the Columbia.

We counted five young eagles, but no white headed birds.  Four were sitting on a slag and the fifth was soaring over the sandbar.

Our next stop was Doug’s Beach, where I’ve seen eagles perched on tree tops next to the Columbia River.

We saw three bald eagles flying against the canyons, but my camera would not reach that far, so I shot photos of us instead.

We crossed the Columbia and traveled west to Meyer Park, another great eagle watching spot, but there were none to be seen on the Oregon side of the river this morning.

If you look close, you can see ice surrounding the inlet.

Our last stop of the day was the Hood River Marina where a flock of geese congregated on the expanse of lawn between the museum and DMV.  No eagles, but big birds nonetheless.

My friends tell me I need to upgrade my point & shoot to a DSLR.  They’re right, but if I don’t get back to the studio I won’t have anything to trade for the $$$ I need for that upgrade!

Take flight.  Get inspired.  Be creative.  Chase eagles.

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Surrounded by Smoke

September 8, 2011

Fire season has broken out across the country and we are no exception.  On our way home from Sacramento I didn’t mention that we were the last set of cars let through on Highway 26 because the ‘Powerline’ fire had just broken out and officials were about to close the highway (which stayed closed for several days).

We also drove through smoke from the fire near Kahneeta all along the route from 97 to Highway 35.

Just as we rounded the last bend in our road, almost home, we saw a huge billow of smoke across the river on the north face of Mt Hood. One of our neighbors called it in but was brushed off – authorities knew about it & it would burn itself out.  Oooookay.

The next day it wasn’t as windy, so didn’t look as bad but …um…is someone going to put it out?.  Now, 10 days later firefighters are having a difficult time controlling it according to latest news reports.

From September 1st to 3rd news reports said the fire doubled in size as the wind shifted from east to west.  Smokey skies at sunset are so vivid, but I’d rather use a filter to produce these colors.

A few of my Portland friends say they were infiltrated with smoke, but I can’t imagine it’s as smokey as we are in the Columbia River Gorge!

A few days ago a fire near Maryhill Museum disrupted traffic on Hwy 14, but was put out within a couple of days.  A fire near Satus Pass closed Hwy 97 for a brief time yesterday, and Box Canyon residents had to evacuate.

This morning as I hiked out to the bluff the fire alarm rang out.  I could smell smoke, but from where couldn’t tell.

Last night’s sunset had a more lavender than red tone, but we’re still smokin’ in the Columbia River Gorge.

Of course, none of our fires are as devastating as that in Bastrop Texas.

Godspeed to all firefighters, battling blazes this season.

Edit:  The fire on Satus Pass, now called the Monastery Complex Fire, has now claimed 9 homes and 10 outbuildings.  Hwy 97 has only one lane open and traffic is being escorted by a pilot car.  Evacuation center set up in Goldendale.

Incident info for Dollar Lake fire (thanks Cynthia)
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