Sometimes unforeseen circumstances come crushing down and put an end to something we may have planned for a while. There are two ways to deal with them. Either we give up in disappointment or we turn ourselves around, improvise and make the best out of the new situation. I believe creative people would have an easy choice. They are improvising all the time, looking for possibilities, rather than limitations. Being creative means creating something new out of whatever is available.
The week before last, my love one and I were supposed to go for a six days backpacking trip along the Pacific Crest Trail. It’s a trail that follows the mountain range along the west coast of the Americas, from Canada into Mexico. The whole trail obviously isn’t possible to do in six days (we would rather talk about months then), but we were heading for a minor part of the trail along the Cascades just east of Seattle.
Or so we thought. When we passed by the ranger station nearby our trail head to get some final information before heading out in the wilderness we were startled by what they could tell us. The whole area was closed down because of a big wildfire. There was simply no way we could proceed with our plan.
After the initial moment of feeling paralyzed, we started to look at maps and books we could find at the ranger station to search for alternatives that could be just as enticing as the trip we had planned. After some back and forth we ended up choosing an area close to Mount Baker, one of the most characteristic mountains in the state of Washington.
It was another three to four ours drive to get from where we were. So when we finally reached the nearest small town, Glacier, the day was more or less gone—we had already lost the first day of what was suppose to be our six days hiking trip in the mountain. More so, we found out next day, we would have to wait even one more day before we could hit the new trail. We wanted to do something called the Copper Ridge loop. The problem is, it’s very popular and it’s situated within North Cascades National Park. The latter means all camp sites are strictly regulated and you need a permit to camp anywhere in the park—a specific permit for each camp site and the date. Nothing was available before the second day. So what should have been a six days backpacking trip finally ended up being only four days.
However—and of course—we didn’t just do nothing until we finally could get going. The same evening we arrived to Glacier, we drove up past Mount Baker ski area to a plateau between the two gorgeous mountains of Baker and Shukshan. The sun was setting and it was a gorgeous moment for both of us. I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. The pictures accompanying this post are all from that evening at the so-called Artist Point.
It was a gorgeous evening and for a photographer an amazing moment, particularly after the sun had gone behind the mountains. Part of what made the evening so beautiful and colourful were clouds lining up in the horizon, spreading the last minutes of sunshine across the sky.
Of course, those clouds were also a forecast for the rain to come next day. We have never been stopped by rain, though, so the second day we hiked up to the glacier tipping down from the peak of Mount Baker. As any of you who follow Adrian «Chillbrook» and his blog know, bad weather is god weather for photographers. To make it short, we had another great day. When we finally got on the trail for the backpacking trip, the sun returned and we had another couple of gorgeous days—in a different way. I’ll get back with pictures from this hike as soon as I have had a chance to process them.
In the end, we had just as fantastic six days as we probably would have had if we had been able to stick to our original plan. As long as one doesn’t give in, there are always possibilities…
When was the last time you had to improvise and come up with an alternative plan in an incident of a moment? I would love to hear your story.
Facts about the photos: All the photos were taken with my Canon Eos 5D with either a 16-35 mm lens or a 24-105 mm lens. The photos have been processed in Lightroom and nothing else.