[/caption] With its numerous craggy spires, Broken Top is one of my favorite Oregon Cascade mountains to photograph. On any given day you may hear rocks tumbling down either of its sides as the eroded volcanic rocks loosen from the steep terrain. The easiest routes to the the mountain are from either the north or east side since the paved highway is just to the north. The Cascades lakes highway offers several hiking trails that allow you to choose between coming in from the north or east. I took this photo while hiking along the east side of Broken Top on an alpine trailhead. We actually had to drive over 5 miles on a non maintained and very rough road to get to the parking lot. However, you park at about 6,900 feet and you have the choice of either taking the 2 mile trail to Todd Lake or traversing around Broken Top from either the south or north. We chose to hike north and I took this photo just before you get to the trial junction. You get to the parking lot by turning towards Todd Lake but instead of parking at the lake parking lot you want to continue up the rough road, which is Forest Road 370, and continue for about 5 miles. It seems like cheating but it gets you to the higher elevations sooner and we were short on time since it was already in the early afternoon and the sun was going to set around 6:00pm. However, you could start at the Todd Lake trail and continue the entire loop trail around Broken Top if you wanted to make it an all day and very grueling 15 mile hike. This hike is a must if you love the outdoors since you will experience every aspect of being in the high mountains. You will hike over creeks that are partially frozen, tarns, canyons, pumice, lava rock, glaciers, lakes, waterfalls, lava domes as well as some spectacular views. This photo was actually taken from about the 1 mile mark and I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and had the focal length at 28mm. I had the camera mode in Program/Normal and I wasn’t using my tripod since the lighting was descent and we were covering a lot of ground with limited time. I set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -0.7 which caused the aperture to be at F-7 and the shutter speed at 1/125 seconds since I also attached the CIR-PL and warming filter. The sky was fairly saturated and the color was descent but the sun was fairly low and there were some clouds hovering below the sun. I was visiting the area on 10/27/11 and it was probably one of the last days to hike the trail since they close the HWY in October and the snow is just days away. I would put this hike on my short list and visit as soon as the snow melts and the HWY opens.
[/caption] Mt. Washington isn’t the tallest mountain in the Cascades but at 7,794 feet it’s one of the most photogenic. Big lake offers some of the best swimming during the summer months and during winter it completely freezes so you can cross country ski or snow show over the entire lake. There are several hiking trails that traverse the Mt. Washington Wilderness area as well as endless snow-shoeing trails available during winter.