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post #1 of (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 07:18 PM Thread Starter
High on the Mountain Top
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
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Default Baldwin Lakes

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 for a
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.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 09-16-2017, 12:08 AM
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There are some really great pictures in your set, and somehow the "attached images" aren't just duplicates from the post, but more scenes. It's too bad you seem to think a bit of the quality is lost in the upload process, even I've managed to get some good fall colour photos along the trail. Some of the reds and yellows are so intense even in the raw images, they almost seem a bit fake.


We haven't done our trip to Baldwin Lakes yet this season, I decided to take BC2Skier's advice and try her new access from "Cranberry Creek" to the central part of the range. Cleaning the trail at a slow pace is my preferred method, since there's usually a wasp nest or two in the forest.
It's too bad Needle trail has got so popular, I don't go there on weekends anymore. Any time you can do a hike and not see any others aside from your fellow party members is a bonus.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 09-16-2017, 01:28 AM
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Great pics, looks like an awesome trip for this time of year.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 09-16-2017, 08:57 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elkaholic View Post
somehow the "attached images" aren't just duplicates from the post, but more scenes.
I managed to get around the limit imposed by the uploads per post. I don't see the purpose of attachments when they duplicate photos.
Quote:
Some of the reds and yellows are so intense even in the raw images, they almost seem a bit fake.
I had to reduce the color intensity of some photos.
Quote:
Any time you can do a hike and not see any others aside from your fellow party members is a bonus.
So true and that is the whole purpose of getting away and enjoying some quiet time in the mountains especially when living in a rat race city.

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Originally Posted by treord8 View Post
Great pics, looks like an awesome trip for this time of year.
Thanks; hopefully you can get some fall colors before the weather turns ugly.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 09-17-2017, 12:19 PM
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Very nice!
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 09-25-2017, 09:10 PM
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Absolutely stunning! Thanks for the trip report, I never would have known this place existed. Funny how you mention Needle Peak. Flatiron was my first experience in the Coquihalla Region, which is now my favourite hiking destination. I'll have to schedule this in trail in the future. If you don't mind me asking, what camera/lens are you using? I'm still at the novice point-and-click (Sony W-830) as it's compact enough for me to take anywhere. Eventually I plan to go with either an SLR or mirrorless.


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post #7 of (permalink) Old 09-25-2017, 10:21 PM Thread Starter
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If you don't mind me asking, what camera/lens are you using?
I used the Nikon D800....it's kind of 'overkill' for just posting images on the internet but it has good dynamic range and good at recovering detail in dark shadows when I underexpose to retain highlights like bright clouds. But it weighs too much. I would be happy with the D610 or D750. I used a Sigma fisheye lens....gives 180* perspective with varying degrees of distortion but most can be corrected with software.
I also use a 9 year old 12 MP Nikon D90 and happy with that camera except it has poor shadow recovery and noise creeps in a iso 800.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 09-26-2017, 10:18 AM
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We went back to Illal via "Cranberry Creek" on the 17th. To our surprise there was a group of 11 who had spent the night at Baldwin Lakes and were on their way to Illal meadows. They'd parked within 100 metres of the trailhead then headed off into the cut block and forest. After wandering around and getting attacked by wasp nests for a while they found the trail, and were greatly relieved since they weren't aware of it's existence. Thanks again for the report and photography tips!
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 10-16-2017, 10:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solo75 View Post
I used the Nikon D800....it's kind of 'overkill' for just posting images on the internet but it has good dynamic range and good at recovering detail in dark shadows when I underexpose to retain highlights like bright clouds. But it weighs too much. I would be happy with the D610 or D750. I used a Sigma fisheye lens....gives 180* perspective with varying degrees of distortion but most can be corrected with software.
I also use a 9 year old 12 MP Nikon D90 and happy with that camera except it has poor shadow recovery and noise creeps in a iso 800.
Awesome. I'm a Nikon fan myself, and I keep hearing everyone say awesome things about Sigma. I'll look into this plus some photography lessons. Keep up the great work, I'm looking into Baldwin Lakes myself!


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