Friday, April 27, 2012

Amazing Steens

My recent trail running adventure on the east side of Steens Mountain in southeast Oregon. It's hard to believe the Secretary of the Interior recently approved a plan allowing a developer to build up to 70 wind turbines and a high-capacity transmission line not very far from this beautiful place. It makes my heart sink to think about it. The Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) and the Audubon Society of Portland are challenging the decision.

An amazing view looking into the glacially carved interior of Steens Mountain, as seen from a ridge high above the Alvord Desert. As a storm approached from the west, small lenticular clouds began spinning off the main front and floating over the snowcapped summit to my north. To give the scene some scale I set my camera to a 10 second timer and scrambled as fast as I could to this large rock. Olympus E-PM1, Olympus M.14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II R @ 14mm, F11, 1/1320 sec, ISO 200  ©Tyson Fisher

An amazing view looking into the glacially carved interior of Steens Mountain, as seen from a ridge high above the Alvord Desert. As a storm approached from the west, small lenticular clouds began spinning off the main front and floating over the snowcapped summit to my north. Olympus E-PM1, Olympus M.14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II R @ 24mm, F8, 1/1500 sec, ISO 200  ©Tyson Fisher
On my descent this small disc shaped lenticular cloud drifted over the distant playa lake bed near Mickey Basin. To me it almost appeared as though the cloud was rising up out of the lake. I was running with my camera in hand and was able to quickly snap this image before the cloud lost some of its form as it drifted on. Olympus E-PM1, Olympus M.14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II R @ 35mm, F8, 1/1500 sec, ISO 200  ©Tyson Fisher
On my descent I stopped to shoot this scene as sunset cast a warm glow on the ridgeline east of the Alvord Desert. Olympus E-PM1, Olympus M.14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II R @ 42mm, F8, 1/60 sec, ISO 200  ©Tyson Fisher
Coffee on the Playa, Alvord Desert, Oregon Olympus E-PM1, Olympus M.14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II R @ 14mm, F10, 1/640 sec, ISO 200  ©Tyson Fisher

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Peterson Ridge Rumble

Photo By Michael Lebowitz
 Last weekend I participated in the Peterson Ridge Rumble 40 miler, outside Sisters, Oregon. It turned out to be a perfect day for trail running. Temps were in the upper 40's starting out and then gradually warmed to almost 60 degrees. After taking almost 2 months off from late January to early March due to a pretty severe injury to both my feet I was happy to have even finished the race. It was my longest run to date by about 3 miles. To be honest, it was probably a little too much too soon, but I'm still glad I ran the race. It gave me a taste of what to expect later this summer when I run the White River 50 mile. I'm very accustomed to spending many hours at a time out running in the mountains; however these runs are much more relaxed. I like to take pictures; rest at the best viewpoints and springs; and really just soak in the beauty of my surroundings. Racing for several hours is so very different. It requires an enormous amount of strength and mental toughness to maintain pace and form when the body starts hurting later in the race. I feel I had a good race - I didn't bonk at least. I managed to finish in 4th place, about 13 minutes behind the winner, Max King. Max seems to win just about every race he enters. In 2011, he added to an already impressive resume by winning the world mountain running championships. It seemed that at each aid station he would wait for us to refuel before setting off again. He finally began joking with us saying we were the slowest people he'd ever seen at an aid station. He was using a small hydration pack, while 90 percent of the other runners, including myself used a small water bottle. After running with Max and Zack, the second place finisher, for about 20 miles they opened up a small lead. We turned off a dirt road and onto singletrack that paralleled a small creek. I was so focused on the creek that I missed a turn to the right and ran at least 1/4 mile in the wrong direction. Damn. I retraced my steps and got back on course. The course had been relatively mellow up until this point. It then began climbing very steadily for 3 miles to the 26 mile aid station. I had to stop halfway into the climb and dry heave repeatedly. This has never happened to me. Although I seldom eat gels, I had one at almost every aid station. I'm pretty sure they were the culprit. I spent the rest of the race with an annoying side stitch on my right side. I don't think it slowed me down that much but it didn't make the rest of the race very fun.

Mount Jefferson from the course high point. Photo by Michael Lebowitz
When the course topped out at around 4200' the views were spectacular. The snowy mantles of Broken Top, the Sisters, Mount Jefferson and Three Fingered Jack were all visible. The race finished up after one loop around the track at Sisters Middle School. There was a great feast afterward of salmon, burritos and desserts catered by Longboard Louie's and Nancy P's. Sean Meissner organized the race which benefits the Sisters Cross Country team. Thanks to all the volunteers and sponsors for making the race such a success. I'm really glad I took part.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Mount St.Helens Climb

One of my first trips into the backcountry after an injury left me housebound for 2 months. It was about a 3.5 hr climb through swirling snow, clouds and filtered sunshine to the frigid summit rim. By sunset I was on top watching the clouds fade away as the moon rose over Mount Adams. It was a beautiful hike down under the light of the full moon.

Clouds roll over Monitor Ridge on the southern aspect of Mount St.Helens. Olympus E-PM1, Olympus M.14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II R @ 14mm, F11, 1/1250 sec, ISO 200  ©Tyson Fisher
   





Although it's difficult to tell if these tracks lead up or down amidst the clouds and diffused light, they do in fact lead down. I turned around and snapped this image of my snowshoe tracks 1000ft below the summit. Olympus E-PM1, Olympus M.14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II R @ 14mm, F11, 1/1250 sec, ISO 200  ©Tyson Fisher  
   
Falling snow near the summit of Mount St. Helens almost resembles a starry night sky as it catches the diffused glow of the late afternoon sun. Olympus E-PM1, Olympus M.14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II R @ 42mm, F11, 1/800 sec, ISO 200.  ©Tyson Fisher       
A very feint spectre and glory - a phenomenon caused by the diffraction of light when the sun shines from behind the observer casting his/her s shadow forward onto a cloud bank - briefly appeared while awaiting sunset on the summit rim. Olympus E-PM1, Olympus M.14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II R @ 14mm, F9, 1/250 sec, ISO 200  ©Tyson Fisher 
A very feint spectre and glory - a phenomenon caused by the diffraction of light when the sun shines from behind the observer casting his/her s shadow forward onto a cloud bank - briefly appeared while awaiting sunset on the summit rim. Although one of the less intense spectres I've seen, I felt the soft light, curving lines of light and shadow and the rising moon made for a compelling photograph. Olympus E-PM1, Olympus M.14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II R @ 14mm, F9, 1/250 sec, ISO 200  ©Tyson Fisher

Looking north across the crater of Mount St.Helens towards Mount Rainier.  Olympus E-PM1, Olympus M.14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II R @ 35mm, F11, 1/40 sec, ISO 200  ©Tyson Fisher
Last light on Mount Adams as seen from the summit rim of Mount St.Helens. Olympus E-PM1, Olympus M.14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II R @ 28mm, F10, 1/40 sec, ISO 200  ©Tyson Fisher
Moonrise over Mount Adams at sunset as seen from the summit rim of Mount St.Helens.  Olympus E-PM1, Olympus M.14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II R @ 14mm, F8, 1/40 sec, ISO 200  ©Tyson Fisher