As my summer as a camp host ended in early September, I took one last day before leaving to explore the area. I never got to do that all summer. One of those cases of "I'll get to it", but then never did. So, the first thing I wanted to do was hike up to Hidden Lake which was above my campground. It was a nice hike from the parking lot. I didn't have time to hike up the old trail from the campground, but was told from many people it was steep and had lots of downed trees to climb over. I needed quick and easy. The hike was worth it. The lake was lovely.
While there, I enjoyed watching dragonflies zoom around me. They were crafty little buggers, never hovering in one place long enough for me to focus in on them. But I did manage a couple of decent photos.
|Can you find the Dragonfly?|
|A little "crab" fungus I spotted on a downed tree along the trail.|
After hiking back to the parking lot, I was off to the other side of the lake in search of those darned Sockeye Salmon. After putting up with the never ending fishing season (which DID by the way close on Labor Day - FINALLY), I felt I needed to treat myself to seeing them "getting it on in their seedy motels and backseats", so I headed to the rivers where their spawning grounds were. On my way, I took a detour where there was a sign that read "Scenic View". Hmmm, had to check that out. Turns out it took me up a mountain at the far end of the lake closest to my campground and boy was it worth it! From my campground, you could only see a small part of the lake. At the state park on the opposite end, you could get a better feel for how big the lake was, but still couldn't see the whole span. From this vantage point it was amazing how big the lake was and the valley it filled. The lake level at the end of the summer was much lower than it was when I arrived in May. After all the snow this winter up in the mountains, I wonder what the level will be this May.
My campground was off to the farthest most right point in this picture
After taking in the view, I headed back down the mountain and up the White River which would be off to the left of this picture, in search of salmon. Unfortunately, almost the entire way up the road was private property, so there were only a few places I could even see the river let alone park and get out to explore. The best place I found was where the river cut right up to the road and I found a very small area to pull over. I didn't realize it until after I'd been there watching and taking pictures that there was a small sign close to the ground that said "Private Property". Oops. Well, I was mostly standing on the road and no one came out with a gun to scare me away. But as you can see below, it was a gorgeous spot and well worth the risk.
|The White River|
|The Pesky Sockeye hanging out in their Seedy Motel.|
You can see that they have changed dramatically in appearance.
They have their bright red middles, green heads and tails and those gnarly hooked mouths.
They would hang out in the deeper areas then swim up over the shallow rocks,
sometimes floating the current back down again.
I read that a female salmon can lay between 1,000 - 17,000 eggs, but with the high mortality rate of salmon throughout their lifecycle, an average of 3 returning to spawn is considered good! WOW!
This is a video of the salmon several miles lower down the White River swimming up to the area where I took the previous pictures. I was about 6-7 feet up above the water on the bank in the shade of trees, yet the fish could see me there. If I made any movements, they would scatter and swim back downstream. I was surprised they could see that far, but glad for them that they were so visually aware of their surroundings and potential threats.
I was SO glad I stayed an extra day and went exploring. It was the highlight of my summer getting to witness this extraordinary event of the Sockeye Salmon. I will never forget it.
Coming up next . . . My belated birthday present to myself.