3 Days at Echo Lake - Hiking, Tree Climbing, & Eagles!

The last weekend of November, I had the chance to spend 3 days with friends at Echo Lake, located located between Mission and Agassiz on the Lower Mainland. It was a freeeeeezing cold trip (-15 with windchill) and harsh reminder of just how painful it can be to hold a metal camera for hours while trying to manipulate the finicky buttons with seized fingers! The breaker in our cabin shorted the first night as well - no lights and no heater makes for long, cold evenings.. The weekend was still filled with fun and adventure though. We hiked up a currently unprotected ridge to see some old-growth Douglas-fir trees growing at the higher elevation and caught some beautiful sunlight scenes with the snow. Thanks to my friend Matthew with the Arboreal Collective, a few lucky ones also had the opportunity to climb a tall Douglas-fir tree along the lake shore. You really only comprehend their size once a tiny human is up amongst the branches - wow!

In 2012, about 60% of the ancient forests around the lake were thankfully protected through a campaign lead by the Ancient Forest Alliance. However, 40% still remain unprotected on the north slope, where we hiked. Besides the impressive trees, the lake is also home to the world's largest night roosting site for bald eagles, who feed on salmon in the nearby Harrison-Chehalis River Estuary each fall. The eagles are the main reason why I visit each year at this time but unfortunately the numbers were really low during our visit due to recent flooding which covered up their fish supply. I still managed a few photos but missed the epic scenes of thousands along the river from previous years. That's nature for you I guess ;)