On Friday last, we decided that it would be fun to go hike to Stewart Falls in the evening when it cooled down a little. It was 94 degrees and sunny when we left, so it didn’t even cross our minds to take jackets or anything remotely warm. The plan was we were going to take the Sundance ski lift up to the top of the mountain and then make the short hike down to the falls before returning via a downhill trail. When we arrived, however, they informed us that the ski lift was closed due to incoming inclement weather. Considering we had a small child with us, that probably should have been more of a deterrent.

Logical response: “Perhaps we shouldn’t hike up to the waterfall today because it appears a storm is coming in.”

Actual response: “Ok. We’ll just take this 2-mile trail since you wimps are scared of a little lightning.”

Minutes into our hike, it started to rain. Then it started to pour. Then it started to thunder. Then it started to hail. Did this deter us? NOPE. We kept on trudging up the trail.

We got a little cold, but it actually wasn’t that bad. And once we got to the falls, it was totally worth every shiver. Also, the stormy weather made it quite a bit darker which provided the perfect lighting for long waterfall exposures. All of the photos below (minus the random picture of the thistle flower) were taken with 1/2-second to 2-second exposures.

On the way back, I stopped by several spots on the river that runs down from the waterfall to take a few more photos. The harsh reality of good river photos is that you actually have to be in the river to get the right angle. I’ve learned to embrace this fact.

Photographer Laren Helms standing in the river below Stewart Falls.

Me standing in the freezing cold river to get the right photo angle. Photo credit to my nephew, Cole Hansen: http://coalhansenphotos.wordpress.com/

The water was freezing which made it difficult walking down the trail because my feet were completely numb. Thus is the price you pay for quality photos.