[/caption] Another day in Paradise in the Pacific Northwest. This is one of the views you get when you hike to the summit of 4,971 foot East Zig Zag mountain. The hike is a grueling 9.6 mile round trip hike and provides 2,370 feet of elevation gain. However, you will encounter a pristine wilderness, raging waterfall, dozens of creek and stream crossings to cool off in, a picture perfect alpine lake and last but not least you will have endless views of Mt. Hood, Jefferson, Adams, Rainier and Mt. St. Helen’s. You may even spot some wildlife along the way. There are several spots where you can rest along the top of the mountain and rest beneath some trees and nap in the shade. During mid summer, the wildflowers come out in droves and the butterflies are everywhere. there are also several marked campgrounds near Burnt Lake, which I’m sure can get pretty busy during the summer weekends. I just finished this hike on a weekday and I didn’t see a single hiker the entire day or even see a car parked at the trailhead parking lot. I did encounter quite a bit of snow above Burnt Lake, 4,100 feet, but I was able to navigate the trail without much trouble.
[/caption] Burnt Lake is located within the Mt. Hood National Forest and offers great photo opportunities. The entire 6.8 mile round trip hike to Burnt Lake offers spectacular views throughout the entire hike. Plan on keeping your camera close at hand since the forest is teeming with great opportunities to capture an amazing forest scene with the fast moving Burnt Lake Creek following you almost the entire way. You many want to bring your tripod and photograph Lost Creek Falls as well. views of Mt. Hood are at about the 3 mile mark, with the forest surrounding the entire area. Burnt Lake is truly a photographers dream, with Mt. Hood seeming within touching distance and wild trout fishing for insects. There isn’t a beach to set up for your shots but there are some spots along the lakes edge that offer great opportunities. I took this particular shot near one of the few campsites that dot the lake. Mt. Hood is directly east of the lake so you want to be on the west side of the lake. The trail takes you around the small lake but parts of the trail are either too muddy or boggy if the water level is too high. The quickest way to get to the trailhead is by turning left, from Portland, at East Lolo Pass Road and then turning right at FS 1825. Take a right to cross the Sandy River bridge and then follow the signs to the Lost Creek campground. The trail then heads left on a 1.4 mile gravel road to the end. The hike is 6.8 miles roundtrip and the elevation gain is 1500 feet. It’s actually a pretty easy hike with hundreds of places to rest in the forest or along the creek. The quick hike to Lost Creek Falls is worth the extra 10 minute hike in the opposite direction of the trail. I decided not to bring my tripod with me since I knew that I wasn’t going to worry about photographing the waterfall and the sunlight was pretty good. However, I now regret not getting some great photos of the waterfall. In order to get the reflection of the mountain in the lake I just waited for the wind to die down and then kept a steady hand. I turned on the OS on my Sigma 17-70mm lens and made sure to attach my CIR-PL and warming filter. I was able to keep the ISO at 100 and then just played around with the white balance. The clouds were a little washed out so I did have to saturate the colors and darken the highlights using Adobe Photoshop.