2-16-19: On the Tieton River

Wanted a slow, easy day – no hurry to get anywhere or do anything. Got out at 9:25; 36° and moderate snow. Checked out Mineral Lake first: it was the lake I was looking for last year – can’t imagine why I did not find it then. A small part of it was frozen over on the south end, but most of the lake was not, and there were good trees on the water’s edge, on a steep bank that would make a great photo when snow-covered (with reflections off the lake surface). I could have gotten that photo last week had I known, but I’m just happy to know about it now. I plan to return when conditions are right.

Great light (mostly sunny) on the Tieton (pronounced Titan) River as I drove by, and I should have stopped, I guess, but I was hungry and low on gas, and I really wanted to start on the west end of the river access: there is a road close to Rimrock Lake I want to check out, then stop at all the pullovers I can.

Got fueled up (me and the truck) in town, then back to the Tieten River.

The road I wanted to check out was marked “Authorized Personnel Only,” so I moved on. I stopped at one of four or five places that I could park for river access: most of the highway shoulder has not been plowed, and the snow is 3′ (or more) deep. Snowshoed a ways and got overheated quickly. Had to remove some layers

N 46 40.5759 W 121 4.0274

The river was beautiful, and the light was good, not great: I was shooting upstream mostly, into the sun: not direct sun, but a very bright area in the sky. The extreme constrast made correct exposure a challenge.

At one point I crossed the stream in shallow water (on snowshoes), but my leather boots stayed dry inside. I was careful around the edges of the river, knowing that I could step on a snow bridge that might collapse: moving water will create thin spots in the ice and snow that covers the river, and these places cannot be seen from above. I did not fall or sink into the river, but I did have 3 or 4 times when a snowshoe sank over 1.5′ and once to about 2′. My snowshoes are big: 12″ wide and 36″ long, making them hard to lift out of holes when the snow falls in on top of them.

Shot at two pullouts before light got too low – and there are 2 or 3 more possibilities that I’ll have to shoot later.

Was mostly overcast but not raining or snowing while I was shooting, but got into heavy snow on the drive back to Yakima. About 1.5″ of slush made the road very slippery. (On a previous trip I learned that icy slush is a more risky driving surface than snow.)

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