Thursday, November 10, 2011

Up Around Tenaya Lodge

Had to take my son to Oakhurst yesterday so we thought we'd go up 41 and see how the Dogwoods were doing. They seem to be on the verge of changing color but not quite reaching the wonderful pink hues we love to see.

Since we drove all the way to Tenaya Lodge it seemed worth checking out this little waterfall that Diane and Jaunita told be about on one of our excursions to Big Sandy via Jackson dirt road. It's the road right before turning into the lodge and passes by the horse stables about a mile in.

This is one of those bumpy dirt roads that one takes very slowly in spring and summer. This was the first time I'd been on it covered in snow.  We're talking a road definitely less traveled. My Subaru Outback fortunately has all will drive and seemed to have no problem with the road. We just kept it real slow.

It's not a wide road and travels along some fairly steep drops at times. There are a few spectacular views worth stopping to take pics. It follows along Big Creek for most of it. Never saw it covered in snow.With some of the trees and bushes still holding on to their Fall color in made for some nice scenes.

The trail is fairly flat and gets pretty interesting when you start walking along the old flume levy. It's not a very wide trail but wide enough to where we didn't feel nervous about falling down the hill or into the dike. You can see a hint of it looking back in this pic with the young Dogwood.

It was pretty magical area and made for a really nice short hike. Definitely a walk I will have to share with others.

We passed a couple and their energetic dog on the road coming up who eventually caught up with us as we were taking photos. It's a bit dicey passing folks on this Levy because of it's size so we had to gingerly step off of it to let them pass. That was the only time I felt a bit nervous. Because you can't see what your stepping on under the snow. Had to use the tripod to check for stability.

There was a lot to look at inside the levied area. You could see Big Creek down the hill through the trees but it was too steep and covered in snow to risk scrambling down.

The contrast of the fall leaves on top of the white snow made for some interesting shots. The brightness of the show was quite a challenge to adjust for. I did a lot of bracketing figuring I'd have to combine photos to capture what we were seeing.

I suppose I could pull up the rock textures in this one but I kind of like the look of dark holes they created.
The stream had areas that we just beginning to frost over.

Some sections that didn't get any light had these cool icicles dripping down the moss and snow covered rocks. I could have spent most of my time just trying to capture them. Being a native Californian I've not often seen icicles so these really caught attention. Some areas the snow on top of the rocks seemed like clouds dripping ice. Again it was challenging trying to capture both the snow texture and the moss covered rocks. I had to combine two shots to make this wrk and it still doesn't quite capture what I saw. It's moments like these when I really wish I was working with a higher end digital SLR.

It can be hard to even match what the camera image is showing me. I can't always easily decide which image I like best. One where the rocks and moss stand out or one where the snow and ice are the main focus. I want both and should probably work this shot a bit more.

The trail ends at the falls and where the damn for the levy starts. It's not a huge water fall but it was rewarding never the less. With some of the wild grapes and various bushes still in fall color it made for a very interesting scene surrounded by snow. This was another one where I had to combine shots from different exposures.

After seeing the shots of the road my wife said we were crazy to take that road in those conditions. I have to admit on the way back down we did hit an icy area were we lost traction, slid, and fish tailed a wee bit. That gets your heart going, but we were going fairly slow so it wasn't to hard to correct and not go over the bank or into the mountain. We crawled down a little slower after that.

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