“Postcards from the Mountain” is a collection of photographs of and poetry inspired by the Cascade and Olympic Mountains in the Great Pacific Northwest created by Tacoma writer and photographer L. Lisa Lawrence
Much of the book is centered around Mt Rainier also known as: Tahoma, Tacobeh, Pooskaus, Tacoma and Ti’ Swaq.
The book will be available in soft and hard cover (image wrap; no dust cover) versions. It contains 31 pages of photographs and poetry.
You can pre-order the book in either format, with shipping or local pickup.
You may also support a print run of the book and the purchase of an IBSN number so that it can be sold by Amazon by purchasing a ticket to the book release party which will be held on Friday, January 16th (Tacoma location to be determined) which is enough past the holidays that scheduling should not be problematic.
If you are not local/unable to attend the book release party, but want to donate to support the print run and IBSN number, you can donate in $10 increments (you can choose whatever quantity you like) from the drop down menu below.
I hope you enjoy the visual and literary journey through this magical part of the world.
One of the joys of living in Western Washington is the opportunity for outdoor adventure. One such adventure involves the 4th largest Bald Eagle viewing opportunity in the lower 48 states.
On Saturday my friend Don and I headed up to Rockport in the North Cascades to enjoy a float on the Skagit River to photograph the Bald Eagles.
I was offered a comp trip back in December (one of perks of having a highly glamorus “pennies per word/pixel” magazine contract 😉 and got an assignment out of it.
Then I took that nasty fall down the wet attic stairs during the storm from hell and couldn’t go because I couldn’t sit up and was barely able to walk more or less sit in a car for several hours and go on a raft trip.
Long story short, I needed (and wanted) to go on this trip, so we booked one.
My status as “Weather Witch” continues… (hey it was 7 ½ years before I saw rain in the rain forest) as we had fabulous mist, but no rain until after we were off the river.
It was absolutely BEAUTIFUL out there.
The Eagles did not disappoint
After a wonderful trip, we stopped off in Arlington for Mexican food and Cadillac Margaritas.
I was still a bit chilly when I got home, so I came up with a creative way to warm up.
How to tell you’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest too long # 126
Yesterday I dragged my exhausted carcass out of bed at the ungawdly hour of 3:30 AM in preparation for a 4:00 AM departure from Tacoma to head up to Mt Rainier National Park to photograph the sunrise (the event) illuminating the mountain at Sunrise (the place 😉
I managed to get everything ready the night before (which is why I stayed up too late) including the espresso machine so that I could brew up some “essence of the sacred bean” (with milk, vanilla syrup and a drizzle of caramel of course)
Since moving, I have not yet gotten my hiking/backpacking/snowshoeing/skiing gear organized; it’s in various piles and tubs in the gear room in the basement.
It was going to be below freezing when we got up there, and I needed gloves. Since I could not locate my fleece mittens that convert to fingerless gloves that I use for photography, I settled for the next best thing.
I grabbed a pair of gardening gloves which were quite “spectacular” with my ugly robins egg (yeah if the Robin was on LSD) blue TNF Flight Series jacket.
How’s THIS for a Mountaineer/Urban Farmer fashion statement?
It was clear when we left Tacoma, turning cloudy about the time we hit Bonney Lake; I did not despair since Sunrise is on the East side of the mountain and the weather is usually different there.
As we wound around the hairpin curves of the road to sunrise, we could see peeks of the peak alternating with fast moving clouds around each bend.
It was going to be a crap shoot.
We arrived to heavy mist and fog. We were IN the clouds. Drats!
Having the reputation of “weather witch” and insanely good luck with weather on trips, I did not give up. After a disgusting visit to the pit toilets near the backpacker parking (we discovered that the regular bathrooms closer to the visitor center were in fact open [smacks self on forehead] I gathered my photo gear and headed out towards the trail to see what I could see.
The lady Tahoma was being a tease…
As the wind whipped clouds raced past her summit, a stunning pink and orange glow began to appear.
“Don! It’s happening”.
I ran down the trial to snap a few pics, and when I realized how cool it was going to be, I raced back up the hill towards the Emmons Glacier viewpoint, camera gear, tripod and trekking poles swinging wildly.
The usual cadre of photographers was not there because of the clouds.
Myself and only three other people witnessed THIS stunning, if not unusual sunrise and magical moment in wondrous silence.
We headed down to the lower parking area where we saw the last of Tahoma for the day
An ungawdly early trip to Sunrise is never wasted. We had lakes to bag and meadows to explore before the hordes of screaming visitors descended on the park (I normally won’t go there on a summer weekend) and we headed off down the trail to Palisades Lakes.
We only saw one other person in the parking lot and he was long gone when we hit the trail. We soon discovered the tracks of a large bull elk and a couple cows. We were not far behind them as the tracks were fresh and so was this elk pee… (we found a big steaming pile of elk poop too, but I’ll spare you that photo)
We had a lovely view of Sunrise lake coming down the trial, but we bypassed that cutoff and visited Clover Lake
The wildflowers were lovely (they are past their peak, but still plentiful) along the ridge
The moon although no longer full, was still gorgeous
The meadows were absolutely stunning.
I couldn’t help but do my best, bad Julie Andrews impersonation…
We found something interesting in this little pond
Tadpoles! Seriously, you’d best get to growing legs little guys, your season is almost over, even though it just started. These have to be some seriously bad-assed frogs to live up here.
We checked out Upper Palisades Lake as a spot to come back to camp on a backpacking trip and ran into some folks I know. It appears that I can’t hike anywhere in this state without finding someone who knows me from organizations I’ve been involved with or recognizes me from my blog/magazine/website stuff. I honestly don’t know if I should be flattered or creeped out. (ran into a blog reader two weeks earlier at Spray Park)
Here’s the lake
On the way out, the pikas were frantically nesting to get ready for what appears will be an early and hard winter.
It was an AWESOME trip; 7;43 miles including a short sojourn to check out the lower Palisades lake, 2,246 feet of cumulative elevation gain, and off the trail by noon when most of the other folks were just starting out. We had the trail completely to ourselves. It was awesome.
One of the best things about living here in Tacoma is that in addition to the lovely water surrounding us on three sides, we have Mount Rainier National Park, North Cascades National Park, Olympic National Park and a host of fabulous National Forests as our “back yard”
I FINALLY got some hiking in for the first time since May when a chain of events including house buying, escrow, moving and a fractured foot/big toe kept me from getting out and doing things.
On Friday, a couple friends and I headed up to Mount Rainer National Park to photograph the wildflowers up at Spray Park. The areas on the Carbon River side of the park have always been my favorite because it is the least accessible area of the park which cuts down on crowds, litter bugs, trail cutters, flower pickers, marmot feeders, and tundra trompers (all of which drive this former NPS Ranger batshit crazy)
After a long drive in on the washboarded dirt road up to Mowich Lake, we started the ascent up to Spray Park.
We took a brief stop at the Eagle’s Lookout for the obligatory photo op with the lady Tahoma (Tahoma being the mountain’s true name) who was in her full glory.
We continued up the trial and hit the “longest alleged 0.8 miles of trail anywhere” up to the plateau.
That last bit of climb up sucks pond water, especially on a hot day, but it was worth every bit of it when we left the cover of the trees and entered the first meadow.
There were wildflowers everywhere…
And bugs… OMG the bugs. I have given up on folk, natural and less toxic methods of dealing with bugs. I’ve found that what works best for me is the standard 30% DEET (hey, I’m not going to reproduce or lactate so no harm done) Even with three doses of the stuff, I got chewed on (or sucked on in the case of mosquitos) pretty badly in areas I didn’t get enough DEET on. (above my socks, my elbows which apparently are quite tender and tasty) and behind my ears.
And a cute chubby marmot
Of course, no trip to Spray Park is complete without the short side trip down to Spray Falls.
The hike was an 8 mile round trip hike with 2,543 feet of (cumulative) elevation gain on the first day of the heat wave.
We got down about 3:30 PM and stopped in Bonney Lake for Mexican food and margaritas on the patio.
I don’t know what happened to Mazatlan after they moved to their new location, but the drinks, food and service were terrible; seriously, this was the worst Mexican food I’ve ever had, bland, tasteless and the margaritas tasted like grapefruit soda (at least they had a decent alcohol content).
*this margarita was so ashamed of the way it tasted, it had to hide it’ identity
We enjoyed our time on the patio, but from now on, we’ll wait until we’re back in good old Grit City and eat at Taquera El Guadalajara on 6th Ave.
On Monday a friend and I braved the heat and did an early morning run (5:30 AM departure) up to Snow Lake in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness of the Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest up off of Snoqualmie Pass.
I won’t get near that (or any other insanely popular) place on a weekend because I don’t care for crowds, but early on a Monday was nice, quiet and almost cool.
We were mobbed by swarms of mosquitoes in the parking area. (7:00 AM WTF?) but I had gotten better at applying bug spray so I escaped this trip with no angry itchy welts.
The heat didn’t start to hit until we were just cresting the ridge to drop down to the lake, where we were treated to blessed shade. We knew that the hike up and out would be hotter than heck, but we did manage an early enough trip that we’d be out by noon.
We walked around the lake to the junction with the trial that heads over to Gem Lake. This lake was every bit as stunning as I’ve heard.
Along with a BBQ with friends on Saturday and volunteering as a Swim Angel for the Danskin Triathlon on Sunday (that inspirational event will get it’s own post), I couldn’t have asked for a better long weekend.
I’m tired, sore, achy, bug bitten and slightly sunburned. THAT’s the way one should feel after a weekend.
Yesterday started out with a torrential downpour at about 5:00 AM which scared off most of the people from my Boulder River Falls hike (those that hadn’t already been scared off the day before by the forecast) That left three of us; myself, Don and Eric.
My backup plan in case of uber crapy weather was to bag some falls closer to home with hikes which were too short to make a day of in themselves.
We chose three waterfalls in the Snoqualmie Pass corridor: Twin Falls in Ollalie State Park, Franklin Falls in the Denny Creek area and Snoqualmie Falls.
Eric and I headed up I-5 blasting “Born to Be Wild”; uh yeah… we were in a mini van, which makes it that much funnier.
We picked up Don at the Eastgate park & ride, grabbed some coffee and treats at Tully’s and headed for our first target, Twin Falls.
The rain from earlier in the morning had tapered off to a light mist. I didn’t even need the rain cover on my camera bag and Eric didn’t have to play Mary Poppins holding the umbrella for me when I set my camera up on the tripod for slower exposures (to get the movement of the water)
I saw my first Trillium of the season
The falls were STUNNING!
and look, we’re DRY
By the time we were done with the hike, the rain had stopped completely and there were patches of blue sky peeking out.
We observed a moment of silence (followed by proclamations of “Sucks to be You” & peals of laughter) for those who wimped out on the trip because of the weather.
Fall #1 bagged!
After some brief snacking, we hopped into the waterfall mobile and headed over to the Denny Creek area to bag Franklin Falls.
Once again, there was no rain.
There was a bit of compact snow in some areas of the trail, but we didn’t even need Yak Tracks; it was easy hiking.
The falls did not disappoint. There was a lot of spray coming off the falls, so if we got close our lenses got soaked in short order making it difficult to get sharp photos. It was better when we backed off a bit.
We stopped along the way back to the car to take more pictures and it started to lightly rain when we got to the car.
Fall #2 bagged; and once again, we didn’t get rained on.
We weren’t too worried about getting rained on at fall #3 as the main overlook is very close to the parking area and the hike down to the bottom of the falls is only ½ mile
Luckily, my reputation as a “weater witch” held. (I always have good weather or at least better than forecast on my trips) As we drove towards North Bend/Snoqualmie to hit “the big falls” the rain stopped. We got out of the car and it was perfectly dry. (we wondered out loud how much fun the weather wimps were having at home while we were out bagging falls)
We hiked down to the bottom of the falls; it was only ½ mile, but it was quite steep.
Snoqualmie Falls are always impressive and today was no exception.
We finished off the day with well deserved munchies and beverages at the Salish Lodge (more expensive that we usually go for, but so worth it and we deserved it). As we looked out the window of the lounge we noticed that the torrential downpour had begun.
We had some great “debates” on freeway exits, directions and trailhead locations, but we all got the chance to be right at least once.
Yeah baby, we bagged THREE falls and didn’t get rained on.