In this album, I attempt to portray the human spirit in order to capture the essence of being there. I hope this brings out the adventurer in you.
North Routt is home to some of Steamboat Springs finest backcountry skiing. With its remote location it is rare to see another person aside from the occasional snowmobile rider. This album was shot on a late spring day off of Farwell Mountain.
Kennedy Meadows, deemed the "gateway to the Sierra," is the start to a north bound thru-hikers high alpine experience. Endless mountain lakes provide relief from the mid-day sun and endless exposure. For nearly two weeks hikers move north through the Sierra under the sun, without the shelter of trees. It is in this section that you reach the PCT's highest point, Forester Pass (13,400ft), and are given the option to summit Mt. Whitney (14,550), the highest peak in the Lower 48. It is also not uncommon to encounter a summer snow storm at these elevations. During my hike, we waited nearly three days for a June snow storm to clear off of Mt. Whitney.
This album serves as a tribute to all the wonderful creatures that we sometimes forget we are sharing this planet with!
Moab, Utah is without question one of my favorite places to adventure around. The area is made up of two national parks, Arches and Canyon Lands. Arches is home to more natural rock arches than any other spot in the world, all of which have been carved out from the elements of nature. Canyon Lands on the other hand, provides you with astonishing canyons and pristine desert landscapes. With the La Sal Mountains topping out at 13,000ft, it is hard to find a more surreal back-drop to a desert landscape. The photos in this album have been taken over a four year time span that I deem my long lasting love affair with the area.
The Lost Coast Trail runs along the beaches and bluffs of California's most remote and undeveloped coast line. Here, the mountains of the King Range meet the ocean, providing spectacular views from above and from below where the trail requires timing tides at certain times of the day in order to not get washed away by waves pounding the cliffs. Wildlife is abundant, it is not uncommon to see bears roaming the beaches in search of washed up sea-life, elk on the bluffs overlooking the ocean, or rattle snakes rummaging the cliffs in search of rodents. Adding to the allure, is the Caribbean like water that is home to whales of many types, dolphins, and sea lions, which if lucky, you may be able to get a glance of from the trail.
I managed to get to the Lost Coast Trail while on the Pacific Crest Trail. Dozens of hitch-hikes later, myself and my hiking partner make it to the trail head at Mattole Beach where you will find bear resistant trash cans and warnings that a bear canister is necessary. Rattlesnake warnings are also present. On my last night I did indeed see a Rattlesnake slither between the legs of a friend at dusk. Other hikers were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a black bear eating the remains of a washed up whale on the beach. To say the least, the Lost Coast is WILD!
As a brand ambassador for the companies featured, these photos were all taken with the intention of portraying the ethos of the brands and products featured in the photograph.
While not on on the Pacific Crest Trail, Crater Lake is one of the most popular stops along the way and just a few miles off trail. Located in south-central Oregon, it is the main feature of Crater Lake National Park and is famous for its deep blue color and water clarity. The lake partly fills a nearly 2,148-foot deep caldera that was formed about 7,700years ago by the collapse of the volcano Mount Mazama. There are no rivers flowing into or out of the lake; the evaporation is compensated for by rain and snowfall at a rate such that the total amount of water is replaced every 250 years. At the depth of 1,943 feet, the lake is the deepest in the United States, and the seventh or ninth deepest in the world. It is sure to be the bluest water your eyes have ever seen! Wizard Island is one of the prominent features of the lake and is the new volcano that is rising through the water replacing the cone that collapsed some 7,700 years ago.
One of every photographers magical places, Yosemite. Astounding amounts of granite make it home to many of the worlds best climbers. In this album you can find pictures from three distinct areas, Cathedral Peak, Clouds Rest, and Half Dome. Surrounding wildfires provide a haze to the sky in these photos, illuminating another natural element of Yosemite's ecosystem which relies heavily on regrowth from wildfires.
The Pacific Crest Trail begins in a small border town by the name of Campo, CA. From here to Kennedy Meadows hikers battle the elements of desert mountains and scorching hot desert floors. Rattle snakes and scorpions are abundant along with the occasional coyote grazing the valley floors for food. Water is scarce and hikers often rely on the help of "trail angels" who often leave water jugs at road crossings to assist hikers on long waterless stretches.
Northern California is all about Mt. Shasta. On this portion of the PCT, Shasta is visible for nearly a month and it is one of the most majestic mountains you may ever lay eyes on. Rising nearly 10,000 feet from the valley floor, Shasta is a potentially active volcano located at the southern end of the Cascade Range. At an elevation of 14,179 feet, it is the second highest peak in the Cascades and the fifth highest in California.
Relatively flat to the rest of the PCT, Southern Oregon begins with a trip over Mount Ashland before you descend into the basin below for roughly one hundred miles until your arrival at Crater Lake. This portion of the trail is the first section where you are totally engulfed in the surrounding trees, providing limited views of the surrounding wilderness. Many hikers use this section as a place to make up for slower days on the trail. Mount Brown, a relatively young volcano, is the main feature here which is visible until your descent into Crater Lake National Park.
Central Oregon is a photographers dream. Here, along the PCT, you travel around Mt. Thielson, through the Sisters Wilderness, Obsidian Wilderness, walk on the Lava Rocks around Mt. Washington, afforded the option of climbing Three Fingered Jack, and offered amazing views of Mount Jefferson. While many think of Oregon as wet, this section is extremely dry and requires paying attention to your water supply.
Northern Oregon means fog, rain, and Mt. Hood. Lush forests, with trees densely covered in lichen, make this place magical. Mount Hood dominates the skyline to the north, while to the south, Mount Jefferson rises dramatically. At this point, you finally feel that you have made it to the northern part of the Pacific Crest Trail. On this section of the trail, it is not uncommon to see evidence of mountain lions, deer, bald eagles, owls, and everyone's favorite, the banana slug!
After crossing the famous Bridge of the Gods, you arrive in Southern Washington. At this point feeling quite accomplished, with the end of the trail seemingly in near-sight. Once you climb out of the Columbia River Gorge, you arrive at the Mount Adams Wilderness, followed by Southern Washington's highlight, the Goat Rocks Wilderness. The Goat Rocks Wilderness provides a challenging task for PCT hikers as they try to traverse the most dangerous feature of the trail, known as the Knifes Edge. The Knifes Edge brings you to the crest of the Cascade Range, making for stunning views of the volcanoes to the north and south. Of course, holding true to its name, the Goat Rocks wilderness places hikers on steep hillsides where mountain goats are visible for much of the traverse.
The final stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail for north bounders is Northern Washington which features many rugged mountains with impressive vertical relief to the valleys below. Typically, it is Washington, and Northern Washington in general, that provides the biggest struggle for hikers attempting to complete a single season thru-hike. The elements are real and they are present in Washington. From wildfires to snowstorms, hikers can expect to encounter it all. Yet, it is all well worth it for the indescribable beauty of the Northern Cascades. On this section of the trail, you see endless glaciers, turquoise lakes, and astounding wildflowers before reaching the Northern Terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail.
Located in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Soda Mountain stands out prominently from the west. This magnificent backcountry area offers amazing backcountry skiing in the winter and phenomenal mountain biking in the summer. Did I mention that Skipper Dog enjoys it too?