On Sunday I went on a short hike with a friend, to catch the last of the fall color before it disappears.

We went to Rattlesnake Lake, with the thought that good color is to be found near water. The weather wasn’t terribly cooperative, which is usually the case this time of year in the Pacific Northwest, but it was still very much worth the trip. I’ve been to Rattlesnake Lake before, during summer, when the lake is at its highest. We were unprepared for just how much difference there is in the water level this late in the season: normally all of those stumps you see in the photos are submerged!

This did mean that we were able to essentially walk on the bottom of a lake for an afternoon, though, and get some shots you can’t when the levels are high.

Be sure to scroll all the way down and see all the photos in the little gallery at the end of the post!

(All photos taken with a Nikon Z 7II, and Nikon Z 24-70mm f2.8 S)

This is something that always shouts ‘Pacific Northwest’ to me: clouds and pine-covered mountains interacting.

Color photo. A ridge, barely visible through clouds, runs along the top of the frame from left to right. Mid frame, it begins to plunge down steeply to the lower right corner of the frame.

The textures here wanted to be in black & white, and who am I to deny them?

Black and white photo. A stump on the rocky shore of a lake. It forms a rough triangle, and holes through it allow the shore beyond it to be seen. Trees line the far shore of the lake.

My hiking companion generously allowed me to take their photo, so the scale of these stumps could be shown.

A person in blue jeans and a green hoodie, wearing a blue backpack, stands next to a stump as tall as they are. Yellow leaves litter the rocks in the foreground. In the background, a lake reflects the trees on the far shore, some of which are yellow from the autumn.
A tall stump on a rocky shore. The lake beyond reflects the green trees on a mountainside that rises up into the clouds.
A person stands in the middle of a hollow stump on the shore of a rocky lake. Their arms are spread wide, and only barely touch the sides of the stump. The stump rises up to a jagged top, more than three times the height of the person standing in it.

While the leaves are changing, and the clouds have returned to Washington, the moss is absolutely thriving again.

So much moss.

Color photo. A rock wall extends away from the viewer, curving from right to left. The dark stone is barely visible under many patches of brilliant green moss. Dark green ferns grown along the top of the wall, and fallen leaves, gone brown, cover the grass at the wall's base.