Upper Conrad Basin, end of August 2009 (pictures added)

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rjlittlefield
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Upper Conrad Basin, end of August 2009 (pictures added)

Post by rjlittlefield »

Image

I've shown you bits and pieces of this area before (HERE and HERE), but not exactly at this place.

At the moment, the following link will give you a topographic map of the area:
http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie=UT ... 65403&z=14

On the map, the picture above was shot looking from right to left across the creek that runs south to north across the middle of the map. The creek is a branch of Conrad Creek, and the sharp mountain in the distance is Gilbert Peak. The line of reddish bluffs just across the creek are the outer face of a moraine formed by the glacier that used to run down off the peak and spill down into the valley off to the right of the picture.

The remainder of the pictures in this post are taken from just behind those reddish bluffs, up on the plain of rocks left over after the glacier receded. In terms of the Google map, that's on the flat area just to the left of map center.

First, you'll want to look back at the first picture and spot the waterfall coming out of the red bluffs, just right of image center.

Now, here is what that waterfall looks like from up top. The creek enters from the right and drops precipitously into a narrow cleft in the rocks. At one point the sides are probably 100 vertical feet, with five feet between at the bottom. This would not be a good place to be careless.

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From the falls, walking a few hundred feet to the left gets you to this place where a bit of water from higher on the hill collects and trickles down into the valley. It was near this place that I shot the lovely moss and monkey-flowers shown HERE

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Here's a view of the same area, shot from a few hundred yards up the valley. (That's toward the snowfields in the background of the first picture.)

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Backing even farther away, this time from nearer the edges of the bluffs on the edge of moraine, you can start to get a good feel for how quickly the terrain changes from bedrock outcrops to talus slopes to piles of crushed rock pushed around by the glaciers, to the lush floors of valleys and the wildflower displays that I've shown you before.

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Even in the middle of crushed rock, a few plants manage to find footholds. This stonecrop (some kind of Sedum) can be seen more closely over in the close-up forum, HERE.

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I hope you enjoy these pictures. It was a lovely backpacking trip, August 19-21, 2009. :D

All images shot with Canon A710 IS compact digital camera. Images 1, 2, and 5 are multi-frame panoramas assembled by PTgui. Ordinary wide-angle lenses and settings are not even close to wide enough to capture this landscape!

--Rik

Edit: change title for pictures added
Last edited by rjlittlefield on Mon Aug 31, 2009 8:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Ken Ramos
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Post by Ken Ramos »

This is the kind of country I could sink my teeth into. :D My retirement years are coming up (again, once from the service) and the northwest is on my list of places to hopefully visit at least once. As for that waterfall, yeah we have a few places like that around here and every spring, summer, and fall, people keep falling off them. Unfortunately they do so only once. Great shots there Rik. :D

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Yes, it's a lovely place, Ken. A bit strenuous to get to. This trip took me about 7 hours hiking up, and I think I'd have been happier if I'd allowed 8. But worth the effort, well worth the effort!

I know you're interested in the geology of this area, so here are a few more shots that may give a feel for that.

First, we have the view just looking up the creek from my campsite. In image center, you're looking at a couple of permanent snowfields and a tiny moraine left over from the last glaciation. At upper right are some crags left over (I think) from eroding away some volcanic residues. We'll be taking a closer look, in stereo, at the moraine and at the crags.

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Here are the crags. This is long baseline stereo -- maybe 100 feet between camera positions -- so the depth pops pretty well. Crossed-eye, of course.

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And here's an even tighter crop of the crags.

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I haven't exactly taken a direct measurement of how high those crags are. (It's that "falling off" thing again, you know?)

But working from the maps and the images, the tallest crag in the second stereo pair seems about 100 feet from its peak to its own base.

This last pair is that little moraine. Again I'm not quite sure how high that is, but maybe 50 feet vertical from the ridgeline that sticks out toward the screen down to where the fallen rock meets the more gentle slope with plants on it.

I did walk the ridge of that moraine up to where the snow cracks next to that big rock. No problem getting there, but after that the slope is steeper and the footing isn't so good, so I decided to go wander someplace else a little more comfortable.

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Hope you find this interesting.

--Rik

Ken Ramos
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Post by Ken Ramos »

Those crags are interesting indeed there Rik, the stereo images really help in getting a good idea of their size or height. In all that loose rock and gravel, being sure footed is probably of the utmost importance, a fall in one of those areas could be quite nasty to say the least. That sure is some beautiful country, the carving left behind by the glaciers is always an awesome display of the dynamic forces of nature. I must say that I am just a bit envious, as I could spend the greater majority of my time not a home but high in those mountains. Looking at your photos gives one even more of an incentive to venture into the northwest.

Thanks :D

Planapo
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Post by Planapo »

One beautiful alpine landscape, I was marveling at it when you posted the earlier pictures of it back then. To some degree it reminds of some places in our European Alps, but then to me some of your American coniferous trees always appear a bit more slender and this makes it look different. I must say, Washington has quite a lot to offer: The great Pacific Ocean with its coast, the coastal rainforests, the dry inner steppe landscape and then these beautiful mountainous regions.

The stereo photographs work great. These crags and the little trees in the background are sticking out fantastically, definitely worth squinting at them! :smt101

Rik, in that first posting about Conrad Basin you write of a tent and that you were prepared to be snowbound a few days, if it came to that. Does this mean you go there, then leave the car having a tent in your rucksack and sleep rough in the tent for the time your hiking trip takes? Are there camping grounds, or can you choose to put up your tent where you like? And are there bears in the area? I mean I love bears, they fascinate me, but I guess I wouldn't close an eye during a night out in the tent knowing there was only thin fabric between me and a bear out in the dark? :smt087

Thanks for showing!

--Betty

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Betty, thanks for stopping by.

Yes, Washington has a huge variety of landscapes and eco-zones. The state ranges from sea level up to Mount Rainier at 4,392 meters (14,410 feet) and in precipitation from the Hoh Rain Forest at 360 to 420 cm (141 to 165 inches) per year down to only 18.1 cm (7.1 inches) where I live. We have miles of sand dunes, fertile soil, bare rock, seashore, moss, trees, grassland, and everything in between. A day's drive will get you to any of it.

Yes, these hikes are overnight in a tent. It is too far to hike in and out in one day and expect to have any fun. In the Conrad Basin there are no developed campsites, only a few places that have been worn bare by many tents. Sometimes I use those, sometimes I sleep where there aren't any. Yes, there are bears, but they are rarely seen and even more rarely a problem in this area. That varies a lot from place to place in the mountains. I have seen one valley farther north described as having "more bears than Lutherans", despite the presence of a Lutheran retreat center there. In that area, it is required to be very careful, hang all food out of reach, and so on.

--Rik

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