There are hiking days when you yearn for a grand adventure that takes you through untamed wilderness, and then there are days when you simply want to immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty of the great outdoors without the fuss of a long, grueling trek. On a crisp autumn day, we decided to embrace the latter and chose a shorter, but steeper, hike that promised a scenic viewpoint atop a smaller mountain.
Our objectives for the day were twofold: to capture the breathtaking hues of autumn and to test the mettle of two jackets in the chilly temperatures of the mountains. The snowline had dropped to approximately 800 meters, serving as a gentle reminder of the approaching winter. For good measure, we brought along micro spikes, just in case.
The Chilly Start
As we embarked on our adventure, we were greeted by chilly temperatures that seemed to seep through our layers. My initial mistake was not dressing warmly enough, and as we set out, I felt uncomfortably cold. I held onto the hope that the steep ascent would warm me up, but the shade and the brisk mountain wind conspired to keep me chilly throughout the hike. Cold feet became an unwelcome companion on this journey.
Nevertheless, we pushed on, determined to find ideal photo spots along the ascent. The challenging part, however, was the lack of sufficient sunlight due to the persistent shade. The brilliant yellow leaves, a hallmark of autumn’s beauty, required a touch of sunlight to truly shine. Yet, we managed to capture two remarkable photos: one looking out through the trees and another showcasing a tree set against one of the trail’s steepest sections.
Reaching the Summit
After approximately 700 meters of elevation gain, we reached the mountain’s summit. Here, the sun bathed the landscape in its golden glow, but the winds were ferocious. Seeking shelter from the gusts, we huddled in a crevice in the rock, indulging in snacks and adding layers to ward off the biting cold. Eventually, I stepped out to capture the surrounding beauty, illuminated by the enchanting light.
Under normal circumstances, this place would have been bustling with hikers and nature enthusiasts, but the relentless, chilling wind had driven most of them away. Nevertheless, we savored the solitude and the unobstructed views.
The descent called for caution as we retraced our steps down the steep path. Fortunately, the sun began to peek around the mountain, bestowing us with much-needed warmth. However, the approaching clouds dimmed our hopes for capturing more photos.
As fate would have it, I stumbled upon a striking scene deep within the autumn forest. A winding road, enveloped in a sea of golden leaves, presented a captivating subject for a photograph. The serendipity of this discovery reaffirmed the unpredictability and beauty of nature.
The hike taught me a valuable lesson about layering. Rather than enduring the cold, I should have donned enough clothing to stay comfortably warm from the outset, thus avoiding the discomfort and cold feet that plagued me during the initial ascent. In the realm of photography, the importance of adjusting the white balance during post-processing became evident. It was a crucial step in correcting the blueish tint that marred the initial photos. Additionally, perfecting the art of spotting ideal foreground elements on location was a skill that I recognized as needing continuous practice.
In retrospect, the day was not just a hike but a day of learning and exploration. It provided us with a fresh perspective on the mountains and the serene beauty they offer in the quieter corners of the wilderness. The crisp chill in the air, the vibrant colors of autumn, and the lessons we took away made this a truly remarkable day spent in the mountains.