7/20 Moonless Night Hike up Northern Presidentials
Last Friday, my friend Alex and I set out to do some night photography and time-lapsing in the alpine zone near Mt. Jefferson. The journey would be a a whole bundle of first time experiences, but it proved to be spectacular trip.
The weather looked great for Friday afternoon and evening, so we set out on Lowe's Path at around 4:30 in the afternoon with the goal of being above tree-line by sunset. This was our first time in this area so it was exciting to see the Log Cabin and Grey Knob shelters. I must say Grey Knob looked very nice and cozy and I later longed for its comforts during the night. Anyways, we made it to Thunderstorm Junction at around 7:45pm and then began our journey down the Gulfside Trail. Once the sun was beginning to dip near the horizon we took our first extended rest, so I could take out my camera and get some good photos of the sunset.
After a stunning sunset, we slowly made our way down to Edmand's Col. We did have some doubts about hiking at night especially with no moonlight, but surprisingly the stars gave just enough light that we could use headlamps sparingly. Since we had covered a lot of ground and elevation, we decided to relax at the trail junction and take our first time-lapse series of the night. This was my first time taking photos at night and my first attempt at doing a time-lapse, so I was pleasantly surprised by the immediate results. My friend and I felt like we had the mountains to ourselves. Absolutely zero wind and clouds, made the whole experience seem like some sort of gigantic Imax theatre for the stars (no wind on washington... I couldn't believe it). Around 1am we made our way up to Monticello Lawn. We basically stayed here for the remainder of the night. We did walk around a little up Jefferson and towards Clay, but both of us were feeling pretty tired by this point.
Finally sunrise came and we made our way down the Caps Ridge Trail. The walk down Jefferson Notch road took longer than expected, but luckily the bugs weren't too bad. In the end it was a great trip and I've already planned the next adventure with all the new knowledge I gained.