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Archive for June, 2009

 

Vivid cumulus clouds gathered above Two Ocean Plateau and the Yellowstone River headwaters region in the Thorofare country of Southeastern Yellowstone National Park.  All I felt was a Cecil B. DeMille movie being portrayed before me.

I stood knee deep, with a wide angle lens, in the icy waters crouched low trying to render on film, the drama of river, clouds and the profile of a fine horse and rider galloping through the river just a few feet in front of me.

Racing the Headwaters

Racing the Headwaters

Waters splashing, my butt wet and adrenalin surging I was impressed by the striking rhythm and smoothness both Tom and his horse, Blue, plied as they raced through the river toward me. They worked in unison, a team. I couldn’t tell which liked it more the horse or rider.

With my 20mm lens and motor drive whirring I could feel the horse’s thundering hoofs vibrate on the river bottom as they blew past me like an energy wave. I got soaked. How excellent to feel so alive.

With a location like the Thorofare this backcountry adventure was even more extraordinary. We were the farthest from a paved road you can get in the lower forty-eight states.

Medicine Lake Outfitters and the Yellowstone

Medicine Lake Outfitters and the Yellowstone

My two week horseback trip with Medicine Lake Outfitters covered more than 150 miles deep into Yellowstone. We trailed through Heart Lake basin, climbed along the Continental Divide and crossed the famed Snake River several times. We bathed in its thermal regions and camped near the headwaters of the longest wild and free flowing river in North America. www.medicinelakeoutfitters.com

At camp that afternoon we built a sweat lodge with canvas tarps. We placed heated rocks into the enclosure and crawled in. After a cleansing of body pours and brain cells we ran laughing and hollering, jumping into a small tributary pool chest deep in waters that took our breath away.

The air was sweet and fresh that night. The campfire warm with rising sparks blending into the night stars above. We were isolated. The world was quiet. All was good.

For similar entries please read:
https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/03/28/yellowstone-national-park/
https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/crown-of-the-continent-glacier-national-park/
https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/05/08/salty-legs-and-mountain-goats/
https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/03/14/absaroka-beartooth-wilderness
https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/02/28/lee-metcalf-wilderness/

All images used in this entry are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography. 2009, All Rights Reserved. They may not be copied or reproduced in any manner without the written permission of Wayne Scherr., Range of Vision Photos. For lease or reproduction rights contact: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

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It is ten miles long, one mile wide and a little more than 3,500 feet deep. Kauai’s Waimea Canyon is spectacular. Waimea is exotic as hell with every shade of tropical greens and lava reds you can imagine, against the Pacific’s blue sky. I wanted to explore it all.

Noted as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, Waimea, which means “red waters”, was carved and eroded by thousands of years of flooding rains rushing down from Wai’ale’ale’s summit, the wettest spot on earth.

View from Pu'u Ka Pele lookout

View from Pu'u Ka Pele lookout

It was hard not to spot Waipo’o Falls when standing at the Pu’u Ka Pele lookout along highway 550 near Koke’e State Park in Northwest Kauai.  The eye catching falls is actually a set of two tiers that descend about 800 feet into the Canyon below.

We were interested in a hike to some fresh water pools for sunning and wading. Waipo’o had the look and we were off into the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Even though there had been no rainfall during the past few days the falls were running with a steady flow. I figured it would be a good photographic opportunity and a chance to grasp a bit of paradise.

Waipo'o Falls

Waipo'o Falls

I had a fantasy of peering over the edge of an 800 foot precipice with camera in hand.

We hit the Canyon trail which takes hikers to the top of Waipo’o Falls. It is one of the best hikes on Kauai with unbelievable vistas in every direction. We traversed switchbacks through the Pu’u Ka Pele Forest winding through volcanic boulders to a balding knob with outstanding views. I remember the Ohia trees clinging to the steep sides of the canyon walls.

Ohia lehua trees are my Hawaiian favorite. It ranges throughout the islands and grows from small shrubs to 30 foot tall icons attracting native birds like the Apapane and I’iwi that feed on the nectar from the powder puff, usually scarlet blossoms. I had spent a few years trying to cultivate Ohia’s as bonsai back in Montana so I had a special connection to these magnificent hardwood trees.

Kokee Stream above the falls

Kokee Stream above the falls

The eight mile round trip trail was coated with colorful multi-hued lantana, blackberry and passion flower vines. The ascent and descent elevation ranged about 1,720 feet, even though the hike wasn’t that strenuous. A wet trail would have made it much more difficult.

Reaching the upper cascades and pools was exciting. Clear cold water and hot tropical sun was quite the reward for the effort. The disappointing part was that you cannot make it to the drop off of the falls. So much for my fantasy. It didn’t really matter though the views were outstanding and the pools gave us that South Pacific feel we craved.

Other related posts regarding Hawaii:
https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/05/31/lost-valleys-and-the-wettest-spot-on-earth
https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/02/14/napali-coast
https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/02/21/house-of-the-sun

 Images used in this post are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography, 2009, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited without the written permission of Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography. Contact: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

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