July 29th, 2014 in Around the Woodstove

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Sometimes owning a back country resort is just plain interesting. As I sat in my office the phone rang one day in June. A gentleman was traveling through the Cascades and wanted to know if there was a good place to camp along Highway 2 where he could get some good photos of the southern night sky. Well the highway follows the base of the valley with mountains on either side…I just did not know if I could help him. I told him about camping at Tumwater and also at White Pine Road. It turns out he camped at White Pine that night, but drove to the parking lot for the Merritt Lake Trailhead on the north side of the highway and got theses wonderful shots of the Milky Way. When he sent them to me I was amazed!Milky Way Of course I got curious. Where was he from? Was this a hobby or a vocation. We exchanged emails and I learned his name is John Rummel. He and his wife are from Madison, Wisconsin. Their daughter is doing an internship at the University of Washington’s lab on San Juan Island. They decided to drive across country, visit national parks, enjoy beautiful scenery and connect with their daughter. After some cloudy nights in Glacier National Park their two nights in the Cascades gave them great shots of the Milky Way.

John is a school psychologist by profession and he has been an amateur astronomer nearly his whole life. He is president of the Madison Astronomical Society. He has done astrophotography for many years and recently has focused on landscape astrophotography:  interesting sky features coupled with beautiful and often familiar foreground scenery.  There are examples of his work on his website: Enjoy!

I have never met John in person, just on the phone and then via email. He graciously answered my questions; a delightful individual.