There is a cluster of beautiful subalpine lakes, small tarns and meadows situated on a plateau east of Needle Peak and accessed off the Tulameen Forest Service Road. A trail which provides direct access to this area was built by the effort of Elkaholic but the approach involves crossing a marsh and is normally tricky since tall grass hides deep channels of water and there are sometimes frogs to watch that you don't step on however the dry summer had made the crossing less challenging.
I hadn't visited Baldwin Lakes in about 8 years and I was pleasantly surprised to see the trail in relatively good shape although areas of debris made the trail indistinct in places but I enjoy the primitive nature of the trail; not too intrusive on the environment.
The path follows up and along a forested ridge which gave way to bush and rocky outcrops where splashes of autumn colors were observed. When back-lit by the sun, the reds and yellows glowed brilliantly.
The photographs are a culmination of two separate day trips (2 weeks apart) since I wanted to capture the autumn colors and this sometimes entails a lot of waiting for the light when the weather calls fo
sun and clouds. In this case I had to wait for clouds to drift by and temporarily obscure the sun then I watched the fleeting light sweep over the landscape before pressing the shutter. The light comes and goes quickly and sometimes catches me unprepared when I tried to race to another vantage point to photograph. When the weather is completely sunny, it is just a matter of getting up to the area and photographing the landscape at right angles to the sun to take advantage of the polarizing filter. Autumn leaves only seem to radiate their brilliant colors when back-lit by the sun so this meant shooting directly towards the sun but lens flare is a problem so this means waiting until the sun is high in the sky and also shielding the lens with my hands.
Plump ripe blueberries grew in abundance everywhere and the bushes are low lying, close to the ground. I'm always amazed how only two blueberry leaves which emerged from the ground can produce a couple of berries. Equally surprising was the amount of blueberries despite the dry season. On my second trip, blueberries were still abundant but a lot showed signs of shriveling up. Seems like a waste.
I didn't see any signs of bears but I did spot bear droppings and deer prints. I also heard an eagle, saw a chipmunk, scared a grouse, spotted a marmot after it gave a warning whistle and saw a snowshoe hare; couldn't believe it at first.
During my two visits at Baldwin Lakes, the weather was chilly to the point of ground frost on my second visit and a gusty cold wind on both hikes. This year has been a dry summer and there were quite a few small tarns which had completely dried. One mostly dried tarn had cracked soil which made a nice pattern to photograph.
When I looked at Google map, one large lake and several small tarns fell within the Coquihalla Summit Rec. Area. I was able to get cell coverage just in that particular area only.
I've never come across anyone else whenever I've hiked here. I suspect this area doesn't get visited much which is a good thing; at least I didn't see any fire-pits and the environment doesn't suffer the erosion that is evident on the Needle Peak Trail.
Note that the photographs appear slightly less vibrant and not as sharp when posted on this website.