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Craig Goodwin
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When hiking in Mt. Rainier NP and the central Cascades, how high up can we go before running into snow? Our hike to Crystal Lakes on Wednesday offers at least one current point of reference. Best estimate - about 5,200 feet. This is up from 3,000 feet just 4 to 5 weeks ago. Here's a photo of Lower Crystal Lake elevation 5,400. A little snow in shaded areas. Upper Crystal Lake at 5,800 feet, however, is still mostly covered and the last 1/2 mile of trail has significant snow, though still navigable in boots. Following is a panorama from the... Continue reading
Posted 16 hours ago at Black Diamond NOW
Though Judy and I have hiked the 93 mile Wonderland Trail and been to Camp Muir several times, we have yet to make it to the summit of Mt. Rainier. Never say never but I expect we will gain plenty of satisfaction these days from observing the exploits of others, and there are plenty of them. In 2015, the park service reported that 10,025 people attempted to get to the summit, of which less than half or 4,888 actually made it. That's still a lot of people making the climb. Is it safe? There remain plenty of rescues and even... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Black Diamond NOW
As noted in previous posts, Sunday was often picture day at logging camps. Photographers would travel from camp to camp, taking photos in hopes of selling them back to loggers and their families being photographed. When posing, they would go to great lengths to "show off". If prizes were offered for the most spectacular image, the following photo from Washington State Digital Archives would have to be included in the top tier. Photo courtesy Washington State Digital Archives, circa 1920 The above photo shows the Simpson Logging Company Camp #5 crew and the stump from what is labeled the largest... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Black Diamond NOW
Looking for an early season hike with moderate elevation and great views. Try hiking to Packwood Lake. The trails off White Pass are new to us and well worth exploring, so off to snow free Packwood Lake we went this last week hoping to see some early season wildflowers. We were not disappointed catching sight of our first Bear Grass blooms of the year. There's something very special about these blooms just now opening up. The trail to the lake is well maintained, 4 1/2 miles to the lake (9+ miles roundtrip) with only 600 ft. of elevation gain. Following... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Black Diamond NOW
Time to celebrate! Chinook Pass is open again - just a month later than last year. Of course I had to get up to Tipsoo Lake as soon as possible and last Sunday morning was perfect. My 5 weather apps and clear sky chart readings were all telling me it would be a great morning for sunrise pics, but as I drove up into the clouds I had reason to doubt. Fortunately, I eluded this cloud monster just before reaching the summit. This was at about 4 am and the moon was shining bright while the clouds pushed in. Always... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
How many lakes do we have in our backyard here in Black Diamond? Draw a 10 mile circle around Lake Sawyer and you'll find a lot. Following is a list of nearby lakes - a few with parks and several with public boat launches for spring and summer fishing. Of 31 lakes, 12 have public access with boat launches. My tip for the least known waiting for you to explore? Try Walker Lake. They are all beautiful, particularly at sunset and sunrise. Following is one of my favorite photos from Nolte State Park/Deep Lake at sunset. Happy exploring! Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
With school out at the end of the week, it's time for vacation. It can also be a time of doldrums for fund raising and support for important community service organizations like Vine Maple Place and the Black Diamond Community Center. Yet the demand for their services continues unabated. One way I hope to continue providing support year round is through sale of my photographs. We have recently been fortunate to have a new business by the name of Choc Elan open at Four Corners Square and share a desire for supporting our local community. They now display several of... Continue reading
Posted Jun 13, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
Believe it or not, not all aspects of logging were always so difficult. If you could fall these monster trees, buck them to length, load them onto a railcar or log truck, and transport them to a mill storage/sorting area, then you had it made. All you had to do was dump them off the railcar or truck onto the ground or preferably into a mill pond. Gravity was on your side all the way. Photo courtesy University of Washington Libraries, CKK0065, Clark Kinsey photographer, circa 1921 The above log unloading station for the Coal Creek Lumber Co. shows how... Continue reading
Posted Jun 12, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
Earlier in the week, I did a post about Milky Way Magic and included several photos of the Milky Way as it made its way across the night skies, approaching Mt. Rainier. Included were several photos showing the position of the Milky Way and stars at the beginning and end of two time lapse sequences. Following is a video of the first time lapse sequence taken last Sunday from Suntop Lookout using my Canon 5D Mark III and Rokinon 14mm ultra wide angle lens. For those interested in these things, my settings were 25 second exposure, f2.8 and 5,000 ISO.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
If you were to identify the part of your home that has changed the most since the early 1900's, what would it be? The kitchen of course and thank goodness. Wood stoves were the norm in 1900 but electric appliances were beginning to make their mark. The following photo taken in 1914 shows the electric kitchen at the Stavis residence in Seattle. It represents state of the art and part of a testing program conducted by the Seattle Lighting Department. Could all of these appliances function in the same kitchen at the same time? Photo courtesy Museum of History &... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
Although the American steamship Wyoming (and the Ark of biblical times) hold sway as the two largest known wooden vessels ever launched, the steamer "Snoqualmie" built in Seattle at the Puget Sound Bridge and Dredging Company shipyard in 1919 ranks right up there. Photo courtesy Museum of History & Industry, 1995., Frank Nowell photographer, circa 1919 I see photos of the deep draft ships built during this period and I marvel that they don't fall over. How could they stay upright in a storm without sinking? The goal, however, was speed and with this waterline, they got it. The Snoqualmie... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
Thanks Mary Jane.
1 reply
I'm certainly no expert Evelyn, but from what I understand, continued improvements to batteries/storage capacity allow for greater use during peak wind conditions - otherwise wasted. Also, continued improvements to turbines and building bigger/taller structures offshore.
1 reply
Looking for a job opportunity to get in on the ground floor with nowhere to go but up? Try working as a "gandy dancer". Like many entry level backbreaking jobs with long hours in the late 1800's, this one working for the railroads was reserved for immigrants and in the south, former slaves. Recently arrived Irish immigrants played a big role in the Midwest building and maintaining the transcontinental railroads. In the northeast, it was Italian and eastern European immigrants, Hispanic immigrants in the southwest and imported Chinese workers in the northwest. What is a gandy dancer and what did... Continue reading
Posted Jun 5, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
With a few nights of clear skies and limited moon appearance, the past two weeks have been a great time for photographing the Milky Way. The earth rotates a whole lot during a period as short as 3 or 4 hours, which is the narrow window of time we have for good night photography this time of year. From 11:30 pm to 3:30 am is about it and will get even shorter by June 21. In this narrow window, the Milky Way can appear to move nearly 90 degrees to the west and rise from almost flat to nearly vertical.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
Despite our love of SUV's and pickups, average vehicle fuel economy in the U.S. reached an all time high in 2016. Following is a breakdown by vehicle type. Source: Energy.Gov These trends are particularly interesting given our recent period of lower gas prices and increased sales of SUV's. Since 1975, fuel efficiency gains for SUV's alone have grown by 131%. How can this be? A lot of factors, no doubt, but one that I hadn't thought of before was changes in vehicle transmissions. Long gone are the days of 3 speed transmissions that I grew up with. Now we even... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
If you were asked to name the world's oldest technology still in use today (albeit updated in it's current form), what would that technology be? We have ancient Greeks and Romans to thank for this invention first introduced by them during the Hellenistic period. This technology played a particularly critical role in the development of Washington State during the late 1800's and early 1900's and is still being used in King County as we speak. Any guesses? Following is a photo taken in 1900 of a facility in Snoqualmie. Photo courtesy University of Washington Library, WWDL0444, circa 1900 The technology,... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
Summer is approaching and time to make a mess of our highway system again. Road construction season can be short so gotta git er done now. Paradoxically, we seem to have more lane closures and other traffic constraints just as traffic volumes reach their peak. Anyone try to get across Snoqualmie Pass this weekend? This was not always the case as this photo taken in 1925 will attest. Photo courtesy Washington State Digital Archives, Asahel Curtis photographer, circa 1925 It didn't realize that they built rural roads this good. This one led to Mt. Rainier National Park. But even in... Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
This time of year is special for wildlife lovers. Lot's of new youngsters, a few birds like Caspian Terns migrating north to Alaska and our own family of Lake Sawyer bald eagles on display. Little Marmot kids are really cute. Even youngsters need to take a stretch and yawn as the sun comes out. This family of Marmots was photographed at Pearrygin Lake State Park near Winthrop. Caspian Terns are serious divers - straight down and submerged. So elegant too. These terns were photographed at the Nisqually NWR. Our Lake Sawyer bald eagle family appears to be practicing their Fourth... Continue reading
Posted May 29, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
Photographing sunrise and sunset in the mountains above the Methow Valley is a treat that keeps on giving. Clouds that form and hang just above North Cascade peaks make sunset very special. We are talking serious color here. Following is a sampling of photos taken from our room's deck this past week at Sun Mountain Lodge near Winthrop. Monster clouds taking flight? One tip - the best colors often show up after the sun goes down, so be patient and keep taking pics for at least 1/2 hour after official sunset. High clouds pick up the sun's rays as it... Continue reading
Posted May 28, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
Although bald eagles rule the roost at Lake Sawyer, Osprey are not afraid to stake out their claims to territory. As a pure fisherman, Osprey will beat an eagle any day of the week. They are faster and dive deeper. Following are a few of my recent Osprey shots. I call this one On Patrol. Note how big the talons are for his/her size. Before diving, they often flutter above their intended prey, taking calibrated aim. For their size, they have a huge wing span and very skinny legs. I call this guy Skinny. For those on the lake, it's... Continue reading
Posted May 24, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
The early 1900's were boom times for building hydroelectric dams in Washington State. Locally, we had dams and power plants built at Electron, Lake Tapps/Dieringer, Snoqualmie and the Masonry dam on the Cedar River near North Bend. The Puget Sound region was growing exponentially and in dire need of electrical generating capacity. The same can be said for the Olympic Peninsula where Port Angeles was emerging as a hub for both forest products manufacturing and shipping. To supply power meant building a dam 7 miles upstream on the Elwha River. Dam construction began in 1910 and opened in 1913. Construction... Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
The Cascade Red Fox is a rare subspecies of Red Fox that lives only at high elevations in the Cascade Range of Washington State, specifically in Mount Rainier National Park. They are small, weighing between 8-15 pounds. Though some have a bright red coat, they can also be tan, silver, and black in coloring. Regardless of the dominant color, the tips of their large bushy tails are always white, while the forelegs are black. What beautiful animals they are. According to park staff, Foxes are opportunistic hunters, pouncing or ambushing small rodents, birds, and rabbits. They will also eat berries,... Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
Most of us are familiar with the terms "skid road" and "corduroy road" used to describe roads made of logs. Early loggers in the northwest had to rely on teams of oxen and horses to literally drag harvested timber out of the woods. Logs were placed crosswise in their path to reduce friction and keep from getting bogged down (see previous posts Skid Road and Hauling Logs on a Skid Road). But what is a "pole road" and how is it different than a skid road? A railroad made of logs? Photo courtesy University of Washington Libraries, LAR031, Frank La... Continue reading
Posted May 19, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
Seeking sunshine, stars and warm weather, I decided to head to the Columbia River near Vantage. Though I have always looked passed here as an area to explore, I wanted to get a moon shot as it rose over the Wild Horses Monument. It turned out to be a good choice. Warm weather, funky clouds and a fun time exploring the basalt rock formations of Frenchman Coulee. Though normally dry by now, the waterfalls were worth the hike by itself. Even a little green grass and moss growing. I've always wondered what a coulee is. Is this a coulee? According... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW