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09/26/23 - Mount Rainier - Nerada Falls

We still haven't made it up to the high country of Olympic National Park. Between the destruction of the lodge, the subsequent limits on visitors, the bad air from forest fires, and forest fire and mountain lion attack related closures, we have more or less given up. Now, they are demolishing the ruins of the lodge and the area has been closed for a period, yet again.

So, we visited Mount Rainier back in late August, and returned more recently to explore some more. This time we stayed just outside the park, and this time it rained. Actually, it snowed. We didn't make it all the way up to Paradise. There were too many snow covered cars coming down. The rain was heavy where we were, and we had no desire to drive through wet snow to see the heavy fog that would be blocking any view of the mountain. Instead, we decided to cut our losses and see some of the waterfalls along the way.

We stopped at Nerada Falls and made our way down to the view point. We could hear the falls even from the parking lot. They were in full force and rain fed. We followed the trail down to the falls overlook. It was green forest and gray mists accented with bits of brightly colored fall foliage.


The back yard at our cabin, one of Betsy's

The trail to Nerada Falls

More of the trail

Lots of foliage and running water

Our first glimpse of the falls

More greenery

More of the falls

Plenty of water

Plenty of mist

Another falls view

More mist in the forest

A bit of color

The falls below

Keywords: high country, waterfall, mount rainier


05/06/23 - On to the Waterfall

We're not sure how it happened, but we were more energetic than usual on our last Little River Hike. We usually turn around at the second log footbridge. This time we continued. If nothing else, we knew there was a pair of waterfalls with a good overlook beyond.

So, we made our way over the second bridge with its peculiar turn where one changes from the low log to the high log. Then we went on. The trail climbed so we had great views of the river below. There were trilliums and a great bank of fawn lilies. (We had been calling them columbines, but it turns out we had guessed wrong. What we had been calling shooting stars were actually columbines. This is what happens when one is enjoying the beauty of the trail and not fighting with a flower identification app.)

Then came the waterfalls, maybe 20-25 minutes past the bridge. Two tributaries meet here, and with the start of the snow melt and the recent rains, they were full of roaring waters.


Gateway to the forest

Trilliums

A fawn lily

Another fawn lily

A forest scene

More trilliums

The trail

The river, one of many photos

One of the waterfalls

The other waterfall

The twin waterfalls

A young trillium, not blooming yet

Mahonia

Along the trail

Living rock walls

More of Little River

Another fawn lily with its mottled leaves

Even more of the river

So many fallen logs

Another bank of trilliums

Another stretch of the river

One of our rain forest trail companions

Last view of the Little River

Keywords: little river, trillium, waterfall


04/30/22 - Little River Trail - To The Waterfall

We've been hiking along the Little River Trail for years now, but we never went much beyond the second foot bridge. We walked out along the trail for about an hour, then turned around and headed back. This time, we kept going for another half hour and got to see the waterfall. We're probably going to do this again as soon as we can.

The trail along the river was beautiful. The trilliums are out in force and other flowers - little violets, violet orchids, colt's foot - were coming out as well. There were columbines in bloom along the trail as our reward for going on. They like open rocky surfaces. The river was flowing briskly, but not at full flood. After we crossed the second foot bridge, we headed upward along the valley wall with glimpses of the river below.

We heard the falls before we saw them. Then we saw a bit of white water through the brush. Then we saw the waterfall. We found a side path that let us get a better view of the falls. It was in rough shape, but passable. The photographs don't really do the falls justice. There are actually two falls where the river seems to divide and rejoin, and it's hard to fit them into a single picture. The photographs don't capture the roar of the water either.

Now we have a new goal, and, perhaps, some day we might head farther. The trail ends all the way up on Hurricane Ridge where it meets with the Hurricane Hill Trail. It's pretty snowy up there with seven feet of snow up on the ridge and trail leading up the north face. We are unlikely to ever follow the trail that far, but it's nice to know we can keep going and going, at least until our feet start to give out.


One of many trilliums

Another of many trilliums

Yet another of many trilliums

A stone wall

The trail

A columbine

More columbines

The trail along the valley wall

More of the trail

The falls far below us

More of the falls

More of the trail

Stone and moss

At our feet

Good grief, even more trilliums

A view of the river

Along a nurse log

Ferns and trilliums

A few last trilliums

Keywords: flowers, little river, trillium, waterfall


10/12/21 - A Side Trip to Madison Falls

After heading up to the Elwha Gap, we took the short side spur to Madison Falls. It's a short, easy, paved path to a pleasant little waterfall just minutes from the parking area. There was plenty of autumn color too.

Along the trail

A first peek at the waterfall

Madison Falls

Some autumn color

More color

That color again

Misty skies and mountains

Keywords: autumn, elwha, waterfall


10/10/21 - Marymere Falls and Barnes Creek

Now that it's rainy season, we decided to head out to Marymere Falls and head up along Barnes Creek for a bit. The walk from the Barnes Creek parking area to the falls is pretty easy. We crossed Barnes Creek and headed up the hillside to the Marymere Falls overlook. A tree had fallen and damaged the fencing, but the view of the falls from the lower overlook was great. The drought has broken. We climbed the steps to the upper overlook, admired the falls for a bit, then headed down.

Rather than heading straight back to the parking lot, we took the Barnes Creek Trail proper. This is a much more rustic trail that follows the river and offers some great views. The devil's claw was brilliant yellow and the river almost sapphire blue. We didn't go all that far, just up to a little spring that cross the trail a ways down. Then, we headed back.


For Halloween, the spooky maple near route 101

The forest track

Another bit of trail

Marymere Falls from the lower overlook ...

... and from the higher

Some tree damage

Barnes Creek

A peek at the creek

Fall color along the trail

Another river view ...

... and another

Leaf color

More color and the river

This is probably peak fall foliage around here

The little spring coming forth, as they do

Mushrooms

More forest

Another creek view ...

... and another

Keywords: barnes creek, marymere falls, waterfall


06/16/21 - Summer Along the Elwha

It's summer along the Elwha River. The river is milky with snow melt and the water is running high. The foliage just about everywhere is green and thick, and we even saw a young fawn. We took our usual walk starting at Madison Falls and heading along the closed portion of Olympic Hot Springs Road. We took the detour around the old campground through the high ground and forest and emerged again on the road to the Altair bridge.

As usual, we went a bit beyond the road gate and looked for the waterfall across the river. We saw it, but, as usual this time of year, this meant a glimpse now and then revealed through the foliage. Eventually, we'll head on and check out the old dam overlook, but it's a two hour hike for us just to cross the bridge. Next time maybe.


The Elwha now running through the old campground

The Elwha as seen from the Altair bridge

Roses in bloom near the bridge

A doe and fawn, still speckled

The green wall

Elderberry buds

Milky blue water

Another look at the Elwha

And another

Green trail on the detour

A turk's cap lily

Keywords: elwha, summer, waterfall


04/11/21 - Sol Duc Falls and the Forest

When we realized that Sol Duc Road was open, we went out to the trailhead for Sol Duc Falls at the end of the road. The resort was closed, as was the campground. The parking lot was not very full. The day was cold and gray, but we entered the forest heading down a series of steps into a world of tall trees, mosses and ferns. There was also snow here and there beside the trail.

The falls were impressive, but we've seen them even wilder. Once the snow starts melting, the river will grow in force. We crossed the river and headed onward taking the trail to Deer Lake. There was no way we were going to make it to the lake. With patches of snow down at the level of the falls, the trail leading 1600' up to the lake was surely quite deep in snow in its higher reaches. We had hoped to make it to the bridge over Canyon Creek and perhaps up about 700' to where we could see the snow melting.

We didn't get all that far. We had seen signs of windfall on the trail to the falls, but the trail had been cleared. The trail to Deer Lake still had downed trees and branches blocking it. We clambered over a few, but then we reached a downed tree trunk that lined up to block the trail for some ways. We considered squeezing our way alongside it, but given the state of the trail, odds are we would run into another obstacle afterwards and then others beyond.

According to the park website, the resort and the campground open on April 16th, so it is likely that more trails will be cleared as the season progresses.


Forest steps

Snow beside the trail

More snow

Sol Duc Falls

Another view of the falls

Yet another view with some foreground snow

Other Sol Duc waterfalls

The forest trail

Another world

More forest steps

A forest stream

Keywords: deer lake, sol duc, trails, waterfall


02/10/20 - Little River Trail

The Little River Trail starts in DNR land near the junction of Black Diamond and Little River Roads. The trailhead is at about 1000' above sea level, so it is well below the snow line. That made for easy but muddy walking. We descended and crossed the Little River and passed through the DNR land with its second growth forest. Then, we entered the park and descended again to the river and old growth. We made it across the two wood bridges over the river to get around a landslide, but we didn't head much farther. It was cold, and we were getting muddy, wet and tired.

The river itself was in full flow with white water rushing along, over logs and rocks and around all obstacles. Meanwhile, the cliffs were dripping wet and covered with green. Every side stream and little waterfall feeding the river was running flat out. This is what temperate rain forest should be, at least during the rainy season.


The Little River

One of the little foot bridges

The trail

Climbing trail

Forest mist and light

A waterfall across the way

A waterfall closeup

More of the trail

A dripping rock wall

More drips

A bit of the river

Water over a log

More rushing water

The river in context

One of the longer foot bridges

A natural foot bridge for someone much less clumsy

More river and logs

Logs and river, a variation on the theme

More wild water

Keywords: little river, waterfall


02/05/20 - To The Altair Bridge and Beyond

We took advantage of a relatively sunny day to head up along the Elwha, starting at Madison Falls and past the Altair Bridge. The Elwha was the big attraction. With the recent rains, it was in full flood. We took the detour, climbing up past the water tank. As we approached the river, we could see it had overflowed its banks. Trees were standing in rushing water. A part of the trail was flooded, so we took the little wooden foot bridge for a dry passage.

As we approached the road again, we could see water rushing by. The side channel that destroyed the old Elwha campground was borrowing a bit of the road. The detour took us out dry shod, and we continued along the road towards the bridge. There were signs of wind damage with twigs and branches on the ground, all the little streams were full of racing water, and here and there, in shady places, there were patches of snow and ice.

We crossed the bridge and walked a few minutes farther along the road, past the gate, for a view of our favorite little waterfall across the river. It was easy to spot even with the trees along the road blocking it. We headed back with our eyes open and were rewarded with the first skunk cabbage shoots of the year. It was not a particularly spring-like walk. It was a winter walk, but we could tell spring would be coming sooner or later.


A fallen branch

Olympic Hot Springs Road

A view of the Elwha

The little waterfall

A close up of the waterfall

The Elwha seen from the bridge

The view downstream

Another downstream view with snowy mountains

Snowy mountain closeup

Snow and frost - still winter

The mossy forest

Skunk cabbage

The flooded road near the old campground

The little foot bridge

An old log

Flooded river

Trees standing in running water

Water over a tree trunk

Another view of the flooded river

Keywords: elwha, waterfall, winter


06/28/19 - To the Altair Bridge Again

We took another walk along the Elwha from Madison Falls south to the Altair Bridge. We actually went a bit past the bridge to take a look at the waterfall across the river. The roses are all gone, but the summer flowers have been coming in.

If you make it past the Altair bridge, watch for this little waterfall across the river. It is visible just a bit past the gate.

A waterfall closeup

Another closeup

Olympic Hot Springs Road where we turned around

Olympic Hot Springs Road towards the new branch of the Elwha

The Elwha below

Another Elwha view

Elderberries

Elderberry closeup

Fern forest

More fern forest

One of the summer flowers

Ocean spray

The detour

Tiger lilies

A butterfly

That butterfly again

That persistent butterfly

A bellflower

Keywords: elwha, flowers, summer, waterfall


01/01/19 - New Year on the Spruce Railroad Trail

We decided to start the New Year with a walk along the Spruce Railroad Trail. With the government shutdown, we weren't sure of whether the trail would be open, but it was. At least the first three miles are open. There were signs indicating that the section from the second tunnel to the western trailhead was still closed for remodeling. We joined quite a number of other people enjoying the trail and the good gray weather. The water was still which made for a sense of calm and great reflections of the mountains and forests around the lake.

The footbridge

Storm King, quite placid today

A small waterfall, where we turned around

Mushrooms

A small stream, the outflow from the little waterfall


Another dreamy view of the lake

Keywords: spruce railroad, storm king, waterfall, weather


12/01/18 - Rainy Day at Marymere Falls

If you live in the Pacific Northwest, you have to like rain. We like rain, and one of the great things to do here on a rainy day is to go visit a waterfall like Marymere Falls on Lake Crescent. The forest is at its best in the gloom and damp, and Barnes Creek was roaring white with foam. The falls themselves were in full spate, even spraying the viewing platforms.

The forest

Almost Jurassic

Some running water

A view down at a side stream

Marymere Falls

Water under the bridge

White water

More white water in Barnes Creek

The forest again

Keywords: barnes creek, marymere falls, waterfall


02/10/18 - Along Lake Crescent

With so many trails closed this time of year, we often get back to the Spruce Railroad Trail. It's more of a country road now, but it still has its charms. One in particular is the special, bonus surprise waterfall about an hour's walk west, just before the second railroad tunnel. With all the winter rain, it was running. To be honest, it was trickling, but it was still a pleasant surprise.

We stopped a bit shy of our usual goal. There had been a rock fall, and while the trail was passable, we didn't want to bother with the bad footing. This is a great time to get out to Lake Crescent, even when the skies are gray.


The special, bonus surprise waterfall

More of a trickle actually

Fallen rocks on the trail

The trail

A fallen log leads into the lake

More of the trail

Even more, with mossy rocks

The lake again - Barnes Valley

The footbridge

More of a country road

Another little waterfall

Keywords: lake crescent, spruce railroad, surprise waterfall, trails, waterfall, winter


11/15/17 - Lake Angeles Trail Rains

The autumn rains have come. We took a rainy day walk up the Lake Angeles Trail. We only made it to the bridge about 700 feet above the parking lot, but, en route, we saw a host of waterfalls, signs of rain and a squirrel.

Water under the bridge

A small cascade

Tree trunk and friends

The trail was a river.

A squirrel

Fresh wood

Signs of rain

Water from the earth

Another view

More water on the trail

Rapids

Keywords: autumn, lake angeles, waterfall


10/25/17 - Sol Duc Fall Color

We heard that the salmon were making their way up the Sol Duc River. We haven't been getting out to Sol Duc all that much lately because they are doing some serious and much needed road work on route 101 along Lake Crescent. We made our way out over the weekend, and there were only a couple of relatively short one lane traffic lights to slow us down.

We stopped at the salmon cascade on the Sol Duc road and spent some time looking into the whirlpools and rushing waters of the river where it passes through a narrow gap. Then we saw the first flash of a salmon leaping. It was in the narrowest, wildest part of the wild waters. We concentrated our attention on that area for a while longer. There was another salmon, this one leaping high enough and long enough to sparkle in a rainbow of color.

We watched for a while longer and saw a few more salmon leaping, some barely more than a gray flash, others more dramatic. Then we headed up to the trailhead at the end of the road and walked through the forest to Sol Duc falls. There were waterfalls and fall color, and then there were the falls proper. There were no salmon leaping here. Instead there was the incessant roar of the river and its mist and spray.

We had come shortly after those torrential rains earlier this month, so the Sol Duc River was running in full spate. Even the little feeder streams roared. The fall leaf color too was in full spate, much more brilliant than in most years. The leaves have yet to fall, and the forest and roadside have been illuminated with leaves of bright yellow and some of orange and red. If you can, time your visit for the weekend and enjoy the Sol Duc River at its autumn peak.


Looking up the Sol Duc River

A little waterfall

The salmon cascade

Another view

Fall color

More fall color

Another waterfall

Sol Duc Falls

Looking downriver

A forest scene

Sol Duc Falls again

Keywords: salmon, sol duc, waterfall


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