Split Rock Light House
Yes, yes, I know, I’m behind again. I am not sure how this happens, I really don’t. Okay, maybe I do, I just can’t stay home. When I’m not shooting portraits or real estate, I tend to wander, a lot. This past week my travels brought me first to the North Shore of Lake Superior, for the lighting of Split Rock Light house.
The Lighthouse, just North of Two Harbors Minnesota, lights the beacon every year on November 10th in honor of the wreck of the Edmunds Fitzgerald and all of the other vessels lost on the Great Lakes. How many of you are currently hearing the voice of Gordon Lightfoot in your head now?
“The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy…”
(you can hear the whole song at: The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" - Gordon Lightfoot)
They do a really nice ceremony at the foot of the lighthouse, before they light it. Dressed in period costumes, the Naval Hymn is played and the name of the twenty-nine crew members are read as the ships bell is rung and then the lighthouse beacon is lit. It really is quite a nice ceremony. Depending on the weather you can have several hundred people there enjoying the ceremony with you, but it’s a great experience. You can view the ceremony from 2014 on youtube.
I went up with five other photographers, and as you could imagine we had a little bit of fun traipsing around the great white north. We made several stops as were playing a little bit of tour guide to a fellow photog from North Carolina. We took her to the usual spots like the lift bridge and Gooseberry Falls on our way up to the lighthouse. She handled the cold extremely well, though it wasn’t terribly cold, at least for us hardy Minnesotan’s.
Amnicon Falls Wisconsin
I was up there from Thursday through Sunday evening, at which point I came home, repacked my camera gear, double checked my suitcase, and crawled into bed in order to be up by 4:30 A.M. Why so early you ask? Because I was catching a plane to Seattle Washington. Yep, trip two was less than twelve hours away.
The flight was good up to the landing point, upon which time the plane bumped and rocked all the way to the landing strip. I was very grateful when my feet finally hit solid earth, though I heard that later flights had to go around again as the winds were so bad upon their arrival. So grateful that wasn’t us. I hate flying and really have to focus on the destination and not the journey in order to get me there. I guess that’s why I try to drive everywhere I go. But we made it and we were ready to have some fun.
We grabbed out bags and shuffled our way to the shuttle bus, which took us to the rental car company. They gave us a sporty red Camaro that barely held our measly amount of luggage. Good thing I didn’t bring all my photo gear! Definitely nice to drive in all of the Seattle traffic, lane changes took on a whole new meaning, though I must say I would have rather had four-wheel drive for my adventures into the country side. Another surprising thing was the fact the it is still fall in Washington. They still had leaves on the trees.
We checked into our hotel and then drove downtown to see the space needle and visit Pikes Market. What we go was a soggy selfie of us below the space needle, a ride on the train, a nice dinner, a closed market and a $45.00 parking ticket because our ticket was “improperly displayed”. That was more that it cost to park in the lot! Not happy on our first day in Seattle.
Day two went a little bit better. I dropped hubby off at his seminar and promptly headed out of town. Mt. Rainier here I come. Plugged the info into the GPS, struggled through traffic and ended up in Carbonate Canyon. While not the desired location, it was still beautiful. I walked around a bit as the rain started to fall, took a few quick pictures, adjusted the GPS and headed off once again to Mt. Rainier.
I made it this time only to hit a road block. They had eighteen inches of snow overnight and the road was closed. They were trying to get the road cleared, I could try again tomorrow, they said. Nope. I would be off to a new destination tomorrow, I told the ranger.
“Where?” she asked.
“North Cascades.” I replied.
Laughing she said, “We just closed that road for the season because we got too much snow.”
Olympic National Park it is! But for now, I will enjoy the six open miles of Mt. Rainier and oh, yeah, it’s still snowing up there and I can’t see the mountain. I got in a couple of short little hikes and found this cute little waterfall. It’s still raining, but that’s okay because this girl pretty much has the whole park to herself.
Day three, checked the Olympic parks website, roads look open, drop off hubby at his conference and brave the traffic to the Kingston Ferry, which will take me across the water cutting off some mileage to Olympic National Park. I checked the website, only a couple of roads are closed so I should be good. Right?
The ferry was pretty cool, super easy to manage. There was a huge lounge on one of the upper decks, and of course there was an outside viewing deck. I was the only crazy person out on the viewing deck enjoying the wind and rain. I’ve only taken the ferry out of Bayfield, WI to Madeline Island before, this was a much bigger boat, you couldn’t even tell you were really moving.
Shortly after I left the ferry I drove into wonderful, warm sunshine. YAY! I final made it to the ranger station to get a map and see where the best place to go was. Yet another ranger dashed my hopes of a few nice hikes. They hadn’t updated the website before I left so there was some flooding and four feet of snow. Yep, you read that right four feet of snow which closed the roads. I could get to Marymere Falls, which I did. Of course, I hadn’t made it a block when the skies opened up and the rain began to fall. No matter I was here and ready to hike.
The falls were very pretty and so was the trail. I found a huge tree covered in moss with ferns growing out of the moss. Super cool. I knew Washington was partly covered in rainforest but until you are standing amongst the trees it is really hard to comprehend how large the trees are or how bright the moss is. In a way it reminded me of the moss that covered the ground in Iceland. The cloudy skies really made the moss pop, giving the landscape a very fairy like appearance.
The trail paralleled the road when you got close to the parking lot and when I was a few blocks away I noticed that there was a line of cars in the direction I would be traveling when I left to return to Seattle. Then I noticed that there was a truck coming from the opposite direction, with a big sign that said pace car. Oooo, I had to hurry if I wanted to get in the line and make it back to Seattle to pick up the hubby. I ran the las couple of blocks to the car, threw all my soggy gear into the passenger seat and headed towards the road. A nice man let me in so I only had to wait behind about half of the cars which probably stretched a good half mile. Then we proceeded to go through a single lane, while the other lane was being cleared of rocks, trees and other debris that had fallen. Quite an adventure.
A quick stop at Starbucks and back to the ferry. I made it with about twenty minutes to spare. I arrived back in Seattle only to face rush hour traffic, and yes, I was an hour late picking him up. Sorry honey. We went to dinner at this little burger joint in Bellevue called Broiler Bay. It was one of those places you would call a dive, but the reviews were good and the guys running the place were great and they didn’t look at me funny when I said “No bun please.” Sometimes being gluten-free isn’t very fun. Besides we like to sample local fare and find places that the locals eat. It still didn’t compare to the Corner Bar in Bemidji, Minnesota, but it was good after a long day on the road.
Day four was back home to Minnesota. While the weather didn’t cooperate, I must say that the parts of Washington are truly beautiful and I would love to come back when the weather is better and do some exploring. If you like cities, I would also say that Seattle has a lot to offer and worth exploring but be prepared for the traffic. It takes a while to get anywhere even in what I would consider the off time. Next time I would skip the space needle and just try to get a nice view of it from across the water, at night all lit up, without the rain. But as a Seattle-an would say. “I got the whole Seattle experience.”
To view more images from these two exciting trips visit:Whirl Wind Trips
More images will be added over the next few days so stop back often.
Until next Time. Adventure on!