I had heard of the Necklace Valley and had it on my back burner list of places to see for over a year. Those hearings included the valley itself full of its wonderful meadows and lakes. Then I saw an image posted by another Northwest photographer, Jeremy Duncan, and learned the real reason to go to the Necklace Valley..to get to the trails end and scramble to the granite playlands and the plethora of alpine lakes that lay above. My main destination beyond the trails end was Tank Lakes after seeing Jeremy's shot. Any and every trip report you read on accessing this area is true..its grueling! I'm not ashamed to say it took me almost 10 hours to do the 10 miles up to this place, the last two miles would have been shorter if I'd gone with instinct instead of following the hundreds of misleading cairns. Upon reaching the top of a ridge that I do not believe has a name, one of the best views I've witnessed in the Cascade Range came into site..the stunning peaks of Summit Chief Mountain, Chimney Rock West and Overcoat Peak. A quick scramble down to Lower Tank Lakes was where I found my place for the night. With hours before sunset, I explored the area. Was noticeable once again on my travels how low the snowpack was this year as Lower Tank Lake was half capacity and Upper Tank was completely dry. I rested for some time after exploring and watched the clouds move in..of course they moved in enough to cloak the view i had gone up there for. But as any landscape shot story goes..mother nature treated me well as soon as the sunset, revealing that view I had hoped for, with an amazing sunset display and a magnificent dance performed by the clouds..all ending with a thick fog coming up from the valley once again cloaking the scene as if nothing happened.
Being a hike where anything to save weight is welcomed..I was a buffoon and left the telephoto at home. Though I wish I could have had some intricate shots of the dancing clouds around the peaks, I was very happy with coming down with a panoramic view of my one night backyard. The way down took me little more than half the time it took me up if you wondered!