Cougar Lakes Basin, Episode 5, Frank Church Wilderness, Idaho

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Earlier in day three I had put the proverbial bug in everyone’s ear that we should hike up to the top of Cougar Peak after dinner and camp at the top of the mountain. I had mined out the astrological photography in our little lake basin and hoped to get an unobstructed view of the night sky. Little did I know that it would eventually result in an actual bug in their ear. Pictured here is the late evening shadow of Cougar Peak with us standing on the summit. If I had a telephoto lens, you would see our shadows. Here is a link to John’s trip report:

With the lure of seeing the Comet Neowise and Milky Way from the top of a peak in one of the darkest places in the world, the boys reluctantly agreed. After dinner with full stomachs and full packs, we hauled our now quite fatigued bodies up the 1000′ climb to the top of Cougar Peak, set up camp and started waiting for sunset and dark. Luckily the peak had a broad summit perfect for a mountain top camp.

Recall the snow bank from a couple days ago? In part our decision to leave our base camp at Ursa Minor and spend the night at the summit of Cougar Peak was to escape the bugs. Well, no luck, the mosquitoes were horrible!

As the shadows got longer, we were headed for our tents to escape the constant hum of bugs. If you click on the image and zoom in you can see our tents.

I jumped out of bed just as sunset hit to shoot this image and within 30 seconds was bit several times.

After a couple hours and maybe 30 minutes of sleep later, I was up to shoot twilight and eventually nighttime stars and the comet.

The bugs were better but still around as the final rays of sunlight disappeared. The comet was not as brilliant as my photo shoot a week ago and I didn’t have my zoom lens but non the less, it was spectacular!

I spent the next couple hours shooting all kinds of angles and objects.

The stars were so clear it was as if we were floating in space.

Time to capture the boys as well. We all agreed that it was worth the effort to climb the peak.

Earlier in the evening, Salmon Jeff requested a silhouette image, voila! (lower left hand corner, it is quite dark)

You can see in the photograph progression to full darkness.

After 2 hours of shooting, it was back to bed for a couple hours then up for the sunrise shoot. See y’all tomorrow for the exciting finale of the Cougar Lakes Basin!

2 Replies to “Cougar Lakes Basin, Episode 5, Frank Church Wilderness, Idaho”

    1. Thanks Don! It’s hard to capture images of how truly spectacular it was!!!! A great experience! I’m enjoying your pictures of Europe and miss it very much. It’s not looking like I will be able to travel there in 2020 which is heartbreaking for me. Keep the European images coming! Dave

      Liked by 1 person

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