Pika in the Clouds

A pika sits on a rock in a talus field

I had been watching this pika for a while and decided to use the rocks of the talus field near me to blur the bottom of the frame and make it seem almost as though the pika was emerging from the clouds. Unfortunately I only had a moment to attempt the shot, trying to get my tripod positioned in the jumbled rock field at just the right height while sitting uncomfortably on the rocks, and I ended up blurring its ears a little more than I would like.

Nevertheless one of my favorite pictures of one of my favorite creatures.

Kingdom of the Pika

A pika looks out over the landscape where it lives

I spent over four hours watching a couple of pikas on the Palisades Lake Trail in Mount Rainier National Park, keeping an eye on the clock as I had a set time when I needed to depart for Olympic National Park. This pika was below the trail, the other above it, and I watched and photographed them through my biggest telephoto lens.

This pika spent most of its time with its back to me, sitting on a rock and looking down the hill, so I grabbed my widest lens to better show the world of these amazing little creatures (the pika is sitting dead center on a rock near the bottom of the frame). Winters are long and harsh here and it’s hard for me to wrap my head around how, without hibernating, pikas can survive a winter that would kill me within hours.

This is the same pika as in my I spent over four hours watching a couple of pikas on the Palisades Lake Trail in Mount Rainier National Park, keeping an eye on the clock as I had a set time when I needed to depart for Olympic National Park. This pika was below the trail, the other above it, and I watched and photographed them through my biggest telephoto lens.

This pika spent most of its time with its back to me, sitting on a rock and looking down the hill, so I grabbed my widest lens to better show the world of these amazing little creatures (the pika is sitting dead center on a rock near the bottom of the frame). Winters are long and harsh here and it’s hard for me to wrap my head around how, without hibernating, pikas can survive a winter that would kill me within hours.

This is the same pika as in my earlier picture, which was taken further up the trail to the right.

The Siren’s Call

An American pika calls out from its home in a talus field in Mount Rainier National Park

I’ve tried to hike the Palisades Lake Trail in Mount Rainier National Park three times over the past decade but never gotten very far. Once because of thunderstorms, twice because of pikas. I can’t resist them and spent my last hours of my latest visit watching this pika below the trail and another above it. Normally pikas let out a fairly quick call but thankfully this one let out an extended call as I had already packed up to head back up the trail and had to grab a quick handheld shot.

One day I’ll have to hike the trail with friends who can cover my eyes and stop up my ears and lead me safely past the siren’s call.