Snowshoe Trip into Reflection Lakes, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington, 2017

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A panoramic black and white landscape photograph of a snow covered Reflection Lake below Mount Rainier along the Stevens Canyon Road at Mount Rainier National Park, Washington.
“Snow Covered Reflection Lake, Mount Rainier, Washington, 2017”
–Purchase Print–

Most people visit Reflection Lakes at Mount Rainier National Park, Washington after the snow melts and one can drive and park right along the shoreline of the lakes. The view of Mount Rainier from the lakes is very beautiful, especially on a clear sunny day. If you arrive early in the morning, chances are the water on the lake will be as smooth as glass. With carefully choosing the right perspective, the reflection of Mount Rainier in the waters of the lake can make for spectacular photos.

Since this area of Mount Rainier National Park is accessible year-round, it’s about a 7-mile round trip cross country ski or snowshoe trip in during the winter.

By the time I left work that morning, the temperatures were in the teens, unusually cold for the south Puget Sound lowlands. The closer I got to the national park entrance, the temperatures hovered near the single digit temperature range. Very cold indeed.

A black and white landscape photograph of a snow covered Inspiration Point at Mount Rainier National Park, Washington.
“Winter, Inspiration Point, Mount Rainier, Washington, 2017”
–Purchase Print–

I arrived at the Narada Falls parking lot around Noon on a beautiful, clear and cold day. I checked the avalanche reports before I left and the danger level was moderate, especially on the South-Southwest exposures. It just happened that one route of the trail into Reflection Lakes passed the same aspect. Luckily, there is an alternate, low avalanche route up and over Mazama Ridge.

As is common at this time of the year at Mount Rainier, there was probably about five feet of snow on the ground, perfect for a snowshoe or cross country ski adventure.

Since most of the hike was in the trees, and because of my late start I had limited daylight, I waited until I got to Reflection Lake before breaking out my camera and tripod for a few snowy landscape photographs.

There is something special to me about a monochromatic snow covered landscape photograph. With this in mind, I captured these photos to be processed and presented as black and white images.

A black and white landscape photograph of Mount Rainier as viewed from a snow covered Reflection Lake at Mount Rainier National Park, Washington.
“Winter at Mount Rainier, Washington, 2017”
–Purchase Print–

I had just enough time to make the snowshoe hike to the lake, eat my lunch, and catch a few photos before heading back to the car. I would have preferred to stay until the last light on the mountain, but in the wintertime, the gate to Paradise closes at 5:00 PM and I had a time limit. I also wanted to have enough time to catch a few shots of Mount Rainier on my way out with nice golden light as the sun was setting.

When I got back to my car, I could definitely tell that the temperatures were quickly dropping. I pulled off my gaitors and they had frost on the inside. As I changed out of my winter boots and socks, I thought I could let my feet breathe for a minute or so, but that didn’t last long because the moisture on my bare feet started to freeze immediately.

This was my first snowshoe trip of the winter. It was a great first trip to get organized and figure out what I need to take with me (more so what to leave behind). I hope to be doing a lot more snowshoeing and shooting photos up in the snow this winter.