Snow Lake and the Seven Dwarfs

Last weekend I hiked up to Snow Lake. This was as an unofficial work event, with many team members showing up. This is not unusual as in Seattle this is a common summer weekend activity. This hike was different as it was the last time many of would see one of our co-workers.

One of our team’s founding members work visas has expired and his every attempt to get another via the annual lottery had failed. Our friend and co-worker is no longer allowed to work in the US and so soon would be leaving us. Those with citizenship, myself included, often don’t understand how unnecessarily complicated and frustrating our immigration system is, but these cases are not rare. I work in an industry where most of my coworkers are not born in the us, many are working under the last year of their student visas or are H1B. They can’t plan more than a few years in advance because it is not a certainty that they will be picked in the Green card lottery before their current visa expires.

This is now the second of my co-workers who has gone through this. We are lucky that we work for an international company that has offices in Canada and other locations where one can move with job security. As the argument over illegal immigrants continues to dominate the media I want to remind us all that its not easy for legal immigrants either, and maybe improving the process would help both problems.

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Like Bigfoot; wandering off into the forest perhaps to never be seen again

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How the Honey is Made

More macro pictures of bees collecting pollen and nectar. I also found a wasps nest while out taking pictures, but I thought it was best to leave them alone. Taking these pictures often means getting within inches of the subject, the bees are too preoccupied to care, but the yellow jackets seemed a little more aggressive.

You’ve got Mailbox

Mailbox peak is a famous hike in the Seattle area, know for very steep elevation gain and beautiful views. Mailbox peak has been so popular there are now two trails up the mountain. We hiked the new trail which is better maintained and takes a gentler path up to the summit, though going back and trying the old trail is still a possibility.

The hike was challenging, but it was not as hot as the week before and most of the trail was under a protective canopy of trees. The last mile climbing in the sun was hard, but by that point the end is so close.

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Start with a sturdy bridge. Not very steep.

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Fording the ‘river’

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Into the woods…

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…and through the trees…

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…to the top of the mountain, please

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Stopping at the first overlook

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Not a bad view, but there is still a lot of elevation left.

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Does this count as rock climbing?

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Scaling this rock slide really feels like we are going straight up

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Climbing the rocks in the the hot sun does provide a nice view

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I thought the rocks were the top of the mountain but it keeps going up

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Saying hello to the natives

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Looking out over the edge

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THE SUMMIT! Those post workers really have it tough.

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What a good spot for a new profile picture

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Someone should open up a portrait studio here

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One for me too! Photo by Mark

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Rainier is the true star of the photos

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Even the locals like to stare out at the mountain

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Need to take a selfie to make it official

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The gang. Photo: Sean/Shiwani

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Time to do it all again in reverse

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Mark, Sean, and Anthony far ahead on the trail

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Wondering through the trees

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So many trees

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What a beautiful forrest

 

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Required: Picture of a Bee

Caught in a Web

I have been taking a lot of pictures of the local wildlife. Because I live in a city most of that wildlife is bugs. Bumble bees are cute and cuddly, but they dart around very quickly making getting good picture a challenge. A lot of my pictures are of much more stationary subjects, though many find them a terror.

This post has some graphic pictures of spiders, if you are arachnophobic turn back now.

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Morning dew caught like flies in a web

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An orb weaver waiting patiently

This picture was a difficult one to get, as the spiders usually wait on their webs on the side with less commotion, showing their underbelly through their web but making it difficult to see there face.

I’ve done a small amount of reading up on the identification of spiders and the number and placement of the eyes is an important means of classification. Now that I’ve gotten close enough to see this spiders face, I’ve very certain its of the Araneid, or Orb weaver, family. To figure exactly the genus or species I think a dissection would be needed.

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Having a snack

This was another opportune find while walking to the bus. I found a spider who had just caught herself a meal. Something I had not seen before.

Dirty Harry

This weekend, though I have not done enough hiking training this summer, I set out on a very hot day to summit Dirty Harry Peak.

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Seems like AT&T signal should be good around here

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Though some trees

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A small, easy to miss, cairn that is the different between the easy and hard hikes

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The view of I-90 from a brief break in the trees

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More trees

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The heat and sun isn’t stopping this slug

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Though it was a hot summer day the wild flowers were in bloom

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More trees

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Following the old logging road mean that we were in the sun wishing for the trees

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The valley on the other side of the mountain as seen from the peak

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Beth hanging out at the cliff’s edge

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On the long way down

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Bonus: A fuzzy bee on a wild flower

Bees at the Bus Stop

While I was waiting for the bus this morning I was entertained by a swarm of bees who were so interested in the flowers that they didn’t notice me taking pictures. I didn’t have any of my setup for shooting macro properly so I just had to get very close.

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More Macro

As I continue to practice taking pictures of very small things; I went back to the same flowers where I found the aphids, this time intentionally looking for them. Found this little guy out saying ‘hello’.

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While I started taking photography more seriously; my perspective was that of a historian. The goal was to document the places I was going and what I was doing as a record for my self and to share my adventures with others. Continuing with the hobby I found that there is a lot more than just taking an posting pictures, there are some very technical skills needed as well as an eye for ascetics which make photography and art. It is something I have been practicing and working towards becoming better at, and this is a picture that I am quite proud of, as it the culmination of many hours of practice.

Aphids

Continuing on the theme of bugs; I took a picture of dew on a wilted flower that I thought looked very picturesque. I didn’t notice until looking at it closely on a large computer monitor that the flower has some little aphids crawling on it.

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Aphids on the edge of the petal