Wednesday, May 29, 2013

jackson hole photographer | canoe camping on leigh lake.

Last weekend was so amazing! The weather has been pretty bad here lately and getting outside hasn't been very feasible other than a little hike up Snow King here and there. I've been dying to go camping again and Memorial Day weekend seemed like the right time as David and I actually had two days off in a row together. How rare! After contemplating backpacking to Leigh or Bearpaw Lake for some low-elevation camping our friend Kyle's face lit up with "We should go canoe camping!". I lit up as well as I'd never done canoe camping before (due to lack of canoe) and we planned it out. I reluctantly got up early Sunday morning to drive up to the Visitor's Center to get my permit for Leigh Lake. There are several campsites to choose from but I'm convinced ours was the best. And no, I'm not telling you which one it was! The best part? There are no trails to the campsites so you don't see any people other than the occasional kayaker paddling by. You can only get there via the water which was so exciting to me.

String Lake.

Our day starting out perfectly with the sun finally coming out as we unloaded the canoe from my truck. Kyle and David put it into String Lake and started paddling down the narrow sliver of a lake. It was only a foot deep which felt pretty funny. After reaching the north end of String Lake we had to portage to Leigh Lake which wasn't really a big deal. I've been to Leigh Lake many times and I've always thought it was one of the most beautiful in the Park. Mount Moran reflects off of the water and there are these little beaches to hang out at on the shores. About halfway to our destination the wind started whipping through the canyons and the clouds were cresting over the mountains. Uh oh. The water got pretty rocky but luckily not enough to flip us. It sprinkled on us a bit but it sure wasn't enough to deter us.

Paddling Leigh Lake.

Leigh Canyon.

Finally we reached our campsite and realized instantly that we were going to have an awesome time. There was an iron fire pit and a much welcome bear box, as it is definitely grizzly territory up there. We had bear spray too, but the boxes are awesome to put your smelly stuff in. Don't want to be attracting those things!

David and Kyle pulling the canoe onto shore.

View from our campsite.

After setting up, gathering firewood and changing into warmer clothes we hit the lake again around sunset. It was so beautiful watching the sun poke through Leigh Canyon. We also met a few other local people camping nearby and hung out with them for a bit.

As it started getting dark we headed back to camp and started the fire to make dinner. It was a very pleasant night to sit around a campfire. Only a little cold. Later in the night we started feeling rain drops and a crack of lightning lit up the sky. Yikes! It's always a little unsettling to be in the backcountry for thunderstorms but there really isn't much you can do about it -- just hope that the forest protects you! Luckily the lightning didn't last long and we crawled into our tents to sleep. It rained on and off all night but I was snuggled up warm and dry in my sleeping bag. At first light, I peeked out the tent and was stunned by the view.

To top it off, a double rainbow!

I love the way the clouds came through to cover the sunrise. It was stunning!

After everyone woke up the weather finally started to clear again. We made breakfast and packed up for our paddle back to the car.

David and I with Leigh Lake and Mount Moran in the background.

I have to say that I'm totally in love with this type of camping! It just feels so good to be out in the wilderness. Until next time...

Friday, May 10, 2013

birthday camping trip.

The spring weather has fully kicked in here with pleasant temperatures and afternoon rainstorms. It seems so pretty but the summer activities haven't fully developed quite yet. Teton Park road is open but most of the campsites are not, and trails are mostly snow-covered. Not to mention they are closing my beloved "lunch break hike" up High School Butte because it's privately owned and the family wants to revegitate it. Sad! Anyway, my birthday rolled around a few days ago and I was trying to think of something fun to do that didn't involve meeting up with a bunch of friends at a bar. Most of my friends are out of town for off-season right now, so doing something simple with David sounded like the perfect option. I called around to the National Forest offices and Teton Park office and found it difficult to find any campsites that were open. Settling for the semi-boring and $20/night Gros Ventre Campground off of the road to Kelly seemed like what we should do. We drove out there, noticing a stash of RVs parked along the river. Ugh. With some bad weather rolling through, we decided to check out the road up Shadow Mountain and see if it really was "snowed in." When we reached the base we laughed as we watched a car trying to navigate through a heard of bison (they were EVERYWHERE!) to get to its driveway. The base of the mountain had three open campsites which all stared the Tetons straight in the face. There was a closed sign for the road up the mountain, but what we were looking at seemed perfect! The rain stopped and the sun peeked through the abundance of fluffy clouds. We enjoyed an amazing dinner of salmon pesto pasta (made on our camp stove) and dessert -- mocha tres leches cake -- which David made from scratch. (I'm so impressed!) It was such a beautiful evening and I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else to celebrate my birthday.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

winter in film.

I recently got back a roll of Fuji Pro 400H film that was developed by Indie Film Lab. Most of the images are from a drive I took down to Pinedale for Jon & Cara's engagement session. I was so totally inspired by the mountains and the vastness of the Wyoming landscape near Bonderant. I'm still amazed at how well the Canon AE-1 Program works, as it was a gift that my mom got for my dad for their wedding that she has since passed down to me. Enjoy the photos!

Cache Creek walkway.

Taggart Lake trailhead.

Hoback River.


Fremont Lake in Pinedale.

Pine Creek in Pinedale.

The amazing Wind River Range.

Back home in the Tetons.