Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hiking Along the North Fork of the American River

Ever since we moved up into the foothills a few months ago, I've been itching to get out and explore a bit. While we've puttered along the banks of the Bear River near our house, today was our first official hike of the summer.

Recently, Brian's friend, Sten, told him about this really cool website that lists hikes that lead to waterfalls in the United States and Canada. It was super easy to narrow our search down to Gold Country, CA and then select a hike that we felt we could handle.

We chose the Codfish Creek Falls hike, a jaunt rated "easy," which followed the North Fork of the American River. We parked our truck right where this picture was taken. As you can see, the river was a gorgeous emerald green color and so-o-o clear!

As we walked the trail, I stopped to look at some interesting-looking trees and plants.

This tree caught my eye. I love the layering of the dark brown bark, the lighter brown bark and the green skin underneath. It reminds me of peeling an onion.

I didn't have the foggiest clue what this strangely-barked specimen was called, so Brian grabbed a leaf and looked it up in our Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada. I know you're waiting on bated is a Pacific Madrone tree.

While I was drawn to the Pacific Madrone tree, I was steering clear of this--what I'm pretty sure is poison oak.

After approximately 1 mile of hiking, we arrived at the waterfall. I wasn't convinced there would be a waterfall considering it's mid-July, but it was there. To show the water cascading down onto the rocks, I decreased my shutter speed. I set my camera to shutter speed 1/15s with an f-stop of 25. My ISO was set at 200 and for white balance, I selected direct sunlight.

After shooting for awhile, I relaxed on a rock nearby with my hubby. Boy was I a bit warm; see my glowing face!

After munching on some dried fruit and nuts, we headed back the way we came. As we neared the river, we walked down along the edge and Brian spotted a perfect place to sit on the rocks and dangle our feet in the water. felt good to put my feet in the cold water at the end of our hike!

Just to the right of where we were sitting was a spot between two rocks where the river water was being churned around creating a mass of air bubbles. It's hard to see in this small photo, but the water looked like just broken glass. Instead of blurring the water like in the waterfall shot, I wanted to stop the water, so I could see the individual bubbles. To do so, I increased my shutter speed. I set my camera to shutter speed 1/3200s with an f-stop of 5.3. My ISO was set at 200 and for white balance, I selected direct sunlight.

I thought it might also be fun to bring my shutter speed down to 1/40s with an f-stop of 36 and here you can see the results. Brian actually prefers this shot to the one above, but I think I still like the original one.

How fun it was today to spend time outside, hike with my husband, and take photographs. Here's to more outdoor local adventures in the future.


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