Saturday, September 29, 2012

Leaving Stehekin for the season

Once again the season has come to an end and the time has come for us to leave Stehekin.  Here are a few last pictures of our season there and our way out.  Our view from our apartment there will always be unforgettable:

Playing around with an infrared filter, I had fun taking a few pictures, including this one of the Harlequin bridge, near where we lived last year:
When the Stehekin School came back into session for the fall, Kate and I put together some presentations for the kids.  First, we told about our time in Nicaragua and showed a video we made with the kids in El Jocote.  We also showed them pictures of us showing the el Jocote kids pictures of the Stehekin kids.
We also did an astronomy program with the kids.   Here we are with the solar telescope outside of the school:
There was a big lightning storm that I watched and photographed one night.  That red glow behind the mountains is a forest fire from some previous strikes.
That storm started over 100 forest fires that night.  A handfull of them turned into monster fires, burning tens of thousands of acres of forest around Wenatchee and Chelan.  We didn't see any of the fires, but the air in Stehekin was full of smoke our last couple weeks.  It made for interesting colors in the sky, though.
One of our friends and co-workers, Sonya, got married a couple days before we left.  Kate helped out by planning much of the ceremony and we all attended that beautiful day in the orchard:
For our departure, we decided to hike out to Highway 20, since we had never had the chance to do that before.  We took one of the longer routes, Park Creek Pass and Thunder Basin, about 32 miles total.  As we left Stehekin by foot, we ascended through smoky autumn hillsides:
And near the pass we hiked right up and out of the smoke:
Only the view back down the Park Creek basin towards Lake Chelan reminded us of the fires we were leaving behind:
The fall colors near the pass were incredible.  Kate's red backpack complimented the colors well as she hikes past Storm King mountain through a field of blueberries and mountain ash:
In the meadows near the pass, a bear came lumbering down the trail towards us.  We turned around temporarily and then had to yell and drop boulders in the streambed to scare it off of the path straight towards us. 
The larch trees, some of the few coniferous trees that lose their leaves in the winter,  were just starting to turn golden yellow:

The summit of our hike was a rocky and snowy U-shaped pass where we got our first glimpse of more  endless mountain ranges, this time on the west side of the divide:
Finally, we descended back into the temperate woods.  The ground was covered in moss, a sight we hadn't seen for a long time since living on the dry side:
Our last morning of the hike, we woke up to clouds hanging onto the slopes of Tricouni peak:

And near the end of the trail, at the head of Diablo Lake, we walked through an incredible grove of giant cedar trees.  Kate took a panorama shot up into the canopy with me next to the tree for scale.  The shot didn't stitch together perfectly, but you get the idea.  We'll leave it at that for now, but we are back home safe, visiting friends and family and getting ready for our next trip down to Central and South America.  And here's the tree, you'll have to scrroll down.  Adios!