Sunny Deception Creek

Last winter I visited the Deception Creek Trail in hopes of reaching a particular waterfall in order to capture it in a winter setting. That attempt ended prematurely due to time constraints. This winter I never really had the chance to try again until this past week. I didn’t have high hopes since our weather has finally shifted away from full-time snow & rain to a more transitional phase. I parked near the Deception Falls picnic area and started my hike up to the trailhead. It’s always a bit dangerous to be walking along a road with a 60mph speed limit but drivers are considerate for the most part.

The hardest part is also the most hilarious- ascending and crossing the snowbank created by the highway snowplows. This year, that equates to climbing up onto a four foot high bank consisting solely of unconsolidated snow with the consistency of sugar. Once atop the bank, I donned my snowshoes and took two steps. And quickly sank down to my waist. Whoops. While one snowshoe was outside of my little burrow, my other snowshoe was buried by backfilled snow and became an impromptu deadman anchor.

Deception Creek breaking free of winter
Waterfall on Deception Creek
Sunlight dappled rapids along Deception Creek
I spent the next 5-10 minutes digging out my foot by hand in the glorious sunshine. Having freed my foot and retrieved my snowshoe from the black hole of snow, I regrouped and mushed forward to the trailhead. There was about 3 feet of snow out in the open but that diminished slightly to about 2 feet once I was in the forest. Due to the snow filled access and limited parking, I was assured of a solitary experience. The skies above were partly cloudy so sunshine would beam through the old growth forest from time to time.

I followed some old snowshoe tracks along the official trail and made my way deeper into the forest. In short order, I passed the spot I turned back from last winter. Sure enough, the spot I coveted was only a short distance further. Doh! I climbed up into position and began to fire away. As anticipated, the snowpack was “spring dirty” with fir needles and cones. The wide shots will have to wait until next winter so I focused more on isolating little scenes throughout the area.

Rapids along Deception Creek
Deception Creek waterfall detail
Deception Creek detail
As I finished up, a very quick snow squall drifted through while the sun continued to shine. A great, fun day but it was time to head back. Once back at my truck, I thought about making another stop just a bit further east but talked myself out of it. On the drive back to town, The summit ridge of Mount Index was knifing through some passing white clouds. I pulled over and took some shots thinking they might make some nice black & white photos. Behind me, the summit of Baring Mountain was doing the same thing.

I was more than happy with the day so I packed up and called it good. Just another great day in the Cascades!..

North Peak of Mount Index and clouds
Impressive north face of Mount Index
Clouds swelling above the summit of Baring Mountain
Mount Index and clouds