Morning walk about
I woke up and looked out the tent door. We got here last night and were so busy setting up and cooking food I never got to really take in my surroundings. My first impressions the night before was that it felt like we were camping in the Butte Pit. And this morning I can confirm that observation.
Suddenly I needed to take care of morning business. Standing in a light breeze reliving myself it came to me that there were a bunch of waterfalls just waiting like super models. I grabbed my camera and scrambled to a vista to plan my attack.
I decided to just walk down the trail that we came up the night before. Rock Lake is a weird lake. It seems as though it gets drained in a un-natural way. There is no history of it anywhere yet when you arrive you notice extensive discarded equipment. The stuff, if I were to guess, was to mine or control the lake. Really weird stuff like the pulley wheel contraption I was holding up the day before. And just as weird the first waterfall may have been the result of a shaft being blasted through the saddle and into the lake. The water exited this tunnel or shaft and fell down the remaining rock face that made up the last pitch to the lake.
Walking a bit further down is a more natural waterfall. That is if this lake was really meant to drain. Wider and more cascades.
I love the morning hours. The sun is not up and all the lighting is flat. Perfect for those waterfall photos. But the problem within is that every step I find another cool angle, another cool shot. Many times I get interrupted by the sun coming up. So I was racing from spot to spot taking photos not taking any notes on how far from camp I was getting.
When you open your lens for more than 1/1000 of a second you capture a longer amount of time. Sometimes I will open it for like 3 to 6 seconds. This results in the water looking like silk in a photo. To me it shows movement … life … when looking at it from outside a split second shows beauty and resilience. Some things change and flow while the others stay the same. This is comforting because I know I can always come back.
Speaking, well writing, of coming back I realized that I should get back to camp. But not to early because it was still “Bill Time”. So I looked up … which way to make my way back to camp?
I decided upon a scree filled couloir. Not one of the scary ice filled ones, just a delightful little thousand feet of climbing one. One that would afford me a great view of the lake. It looked doable enough.
My general rule to avoid getting into a “situation” that would become traumatizing is to go with the one hand free model. It goes something like … if you can hold a cup of coffee or your camera in one hand and still hike it is good. Once you need to use both hands to climb (mountain freaks call it scrambling) it is too much for me. Half way up everything is good.
Then I fall into the “trap”. A situation where you go more than half way on a projected course. You feel like you “Cant go back now”. Sometimes this thought is powerful enough so that you forget the safety model of “one hand mode”. Slipping and then dropping the camera to save my life brought me back to reality.
The camera turned out to be and I did indeed save my life. I stood, no clung, there attached to a rock just 4 feet from the top. So I “scrambled” and finished the climb. How do I get my self into these situations anyway? It was all behind me now so I walked across the flat saddle to the awaiting Cirque.
The Rock lake basin was ringed by a crown of rocky peaks and ridges. And the sun just started to leak over the rim of the crown as I sat down for a breather. And to collect myself after the harrowing climb.
I wonder how long this perm-a-snow has been here. I do know there were once glaciers here and some still exist in the Crazies to this day. Sometimes I feel like one of these. I hang out in the mountains but soon enough I will be gone. And this place certainly puts it all in perspective. I feel small and insignificant.
I started scrambling back down to camp keeping in mind the “one hand mode”. By the time I approached camp I could see a tiny spec wondering around. As I got closer and the spec became my partner I paused on a cliff to wave. She spotted me and waved back.
“How was Bill TIme”, she asked as I stumbled across some rocks to where we had set up camp.
“Well it all started …”