US Highway 2: Near Mt. Index and Gold Bar

With some nice spring weather on hand, I decided to take a short drive up Highway 2 towards Stevens Pass. I had taken the same drive a few weeks previously but didn’t have time to stop and take photos, and since my Friday schedule was clear and the weather was too, it seemed like a good idea.  I had forgotten how short the drive is from Lake Stevens; in about 20 minutes, I was already well past Monroe and Sultan and entering Gold Bar.

Even though it was sunny, it was still chilly and there were still several inches of snow on the ground. I pulled off the south side of the Highway onto a logging road and made it up and started driving up through a clearcut area. There was a great view of Mt. Index, but it was mid-afternoon, and the light was boring, so I decided that I’d take a look around down by the river and then come back later towards evening.

icewaterUnfortunately, I found that it was still too early in the season for the river to have picked up the bright sea-green hue that results from the Spring runoff, so I started looking along the banks for anything interesting. In the shade of a large stand of trees, there was a small, semi-frozen inlet that had some interesting ice, which I spent a few minutes trying to capture.

After walking up the river for an hour or so, I found that my path was blocked by a tributary. I briefly considered hopping across the icy rocks to get to the other side, but decided I’d better not risk my equipment and headed back to the car.

I decided that my best course of action was to head back up towards Mt. Index early enough to stake out a good composition and then wait for the light.  It was still only about 4:00pm, but that gave me plenty of time to find a good spot.

After parking my car about a mile up the logging road, I started hiking up a gated road. The snow made it slow going, but the extra work helped keep me warm. Around 5:00, the light started getting warm and I snapped a few photos as I walked, but I knew that the sun wouldn’t set for another hour and a half, so I kept hiking.

And then the clouds started to drift in. Not interesting clouds. Not storm heads or wisps that would reflect nicely in the setting sun. Just hazy, increasingly thick blanket from the west. I found a nice spot anyway and waited for a while, but it quickly became obvious that there wasn’t going to be any beautiful evening light, or even a proper sunset. It just started getting darker. So, I packed up and went home, and will return another day. This is one of the photos from my walk, taken around 5:00pm.

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