Dreaming Tracks

Reflections on the Endless Journey

Carl Safina’s TED Talk about the Oil Spill
Sunday, July 18th, 2010 | Posted by Rakesh | Comments (0)

Glacier Peak

This video is worth watching — and sharing. It’s not at all cheerful, but it’s honest.

The image above is certainly more cheerful — it’s a view of Glacier Peak from the ridge above Blanca Lake.

Crystal Lake and Three-Way Mountain
Saturday, July 17th, 2010 | Posted by Rakesh | Comments (0)

Upper Crystal Lake
On a beautiful July 4th weekend, I took a trip up to Crystal Lake, Mount Rainier National Park, with a friend. Although the snow at lower Crystal Lake was almost completely melted off, the upper lake was still frozen over and surrounded by snow. The reflections in the melting snow atop the lake made a good foreground for this shot.

It was hard to get the reflections just right, because I was standing just about at the edge of the lake (which was hard to find under the snow), and I ended up shooting from a fairly high angle in order to shoot over the reeds in the foreground.

The combination of black basalt, snow, and pines against a cloudless sky made the scene almost completely monochromatic to begin with, so I used Ilford Delta to get this black and white image.

Hike-a-Thon: Blanca Lake
Thursday, July 15th, 2010 | Posted by Rakesh | Comments (1)


Over the weekend, I led my first Sierra Club hike for the Club’s 2nd Hike-a-Thon. The hike I lead was to Blanca Lake, in the Henry M. Jackson Wilderness.

The hike begins with a brisk walk through a second growth forest, until a short distance past the Wild Sky Wilderness boundary. From there, the switchbacks begin, grueling and relentless.

We split the group into two, with co-lead David Porter taking the faster group, and I the slower; the three young ladies in my group had never hiked before, and we were concerned that they would not make it to the lake.

They didn’t give up.

Three and a half miles in, we reached the snow-covered ridge above the tiny upper lake. Torn between watching our footing and gazing at majestic Glacier Peak, we scrambled and slid down the snowy hillside, pausing for lunch on a log above the small lake.

From there we descended 600 feet to the cirque, containing the lake. After all the toil, we finally got to see beautiful Blanca Lake.

We made it. In spite of the steep climb, inexperience, and inappropriate gear (Shirley was in tennis shoes, not ideal for snow), we made it.

A few of us descended to the lake shore to get some water, the rest of the group waiting up on the bluff above. David, having sent his group onward, returned to begin the trip back with us.

After too short a pause to enjoy the beauty of the cirque, with the collection of waterfalls coursing into the lake, we began the trip back up to the ridge. Climbing the snowbank was interesting, especially for the beginners who were not confident about their ability to slog through the snow without slipping. In the top picture, Marya and Darian are helping Shirley complete the ascent, while I paused to photograph it. I don’t normally carry my digital SLR when hiking these days, but this is one time I’m glad that I did.

On the way back, Shirley commented that this was the most worthwhile thing that she’d ever done.