Saturday, October 3, 2015

Trail of the Shadows

Mt. Rainier National Park

This trail is very aptly named.  Shadows ripple across the boardwalk, rocks and ferns.  Sunlight dances between the long-limbed trees and struggles to penetrate the canopy above.  It is a magical world, and we spent so much time here that we only covered 25 miles on our first day.

My kind of travel!
In science-speak, this area around Longmire is known as an "edge environment".  It is where a meadow and a forest meet.  Usually the plants and animals are very different in each of these environments, but here they overlap and support each other.  For example, fallen trees along the edge provide growing platforms for forest plants, but also act as retaining walls for water from the meadow.

It's confusing.  But ever so enchanting.  Beaver-gnawed trees, mossy hillocks, tall meadow grass, bubbling hot springs and giant old growth firs all co-exist.

For a nature photographer, the shadow-play provides an endless inventory of possibilities.  Shooting a good picture of Mt. Rainier is easy, but capturing that patchwork pattern of sunlight and shadow is tricky.

My kind of challenge!

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