Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A foggy day at Saddle Mt

Well, after many a failed attempt, I finally got out to hike the Saddle Mt trail near the Oregon Coast last weekend. Weather and free time always seemed to be an issue, but last weekend it all worked out.

While I did want to see the view offered from the summit, I was just as interested in shooting the forest, flowers and trails as well. So a simple clear and sunny day was not what I had in mind.
So, keeping a close eye on the forecast, I headed out on a free Sunday when the forecast was for fog and clouds in the morning and sun breaks in the afternoon.

Ya, I know its the NW, so good luck with that right! But hay, it's kinda like the lottery. If you don't by a ticket, you got no chance to win.

So like usual, dark and early, I was loaded up with my rain gear and camera and headed towards the coast.

As luck would have it, the weather turned out about perfect. It never really rained on me the whole day, and while it never totally cleared off, I did get a few peaks of the coast through the quickly changing mist and fog.

The hike up is pretty steep, gaining about 1,700 feet elevation in under 3 miles, and really slippery in lots of places. If you have them, bring along some trek poles. I brought mine and am really glad I did! Just walking with a totally rebuilt right side is hard enough some days, but hiking up a steep and slippery trail with a load of camera gear would have been brutal for me without trek poles.

Once on the trail, the mist and
fog was really nice. It added such
a great mood to the forest.

At about the half way point, you come out of the trees and hit some really nice open hillsides, which i'm sure, on clear days would offer spectacular views. I was loving the look of the fog so I wasn't to worried about the view, and just kept shooting as I slowly moved my way up the Mt.

As you get higher up, there are some neat old sections of trail that they route you around, and they offered some great photo ops.

I liked having something man made up there to incorporate into the photograph.
It offered a little variety from the usual scenic shot.

As you near the top, the landscape offers a little of everything. There are lots of wild flowers, grassy hills, open views and big cliff drop offs. 
A tip for those that are afraid of highs, you may want to forget this hike. While not to bad, there are a few places that could freak someone out. 

When I reached the summit, the mist cleared off for a few minutes and I was able to see to the coast. And while i'm happy it did, i'm also glad it only lasted a few minutes, because when it cleared up, the area lost all it's mystery. I had really liked not knowing what was out there and felt the images would be more powerful if they held that mystery as well. So, I was really pleased when the mist rolled back in thicker than ever. It just gave the area this quality of drama that a clear sky never could. 

How to get there.....

Saddle Mt is located near Cannon Beach, about 1 1/2 hr west of Portland OR,
off of HWY 26. Take lots of water and trek polls if you have them. And unless your in great shape, pack light on the camera gear.

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