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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Twin Falls

I could not believe my luck this morning. I slept in to an unusual 700 and that instantly became 600 when I changed back the clock. By the time it was light outside I could see that the sky overhead was pretty clear. A nice change of pace from the last 24 hours of rain.

I decided Saturday night that I would visit someplace with a waterfall, since the heavy rains guarantee a good show. Twin Falls is just east of North Bend, about 35 miles east of Seattle. It is always a good bet that the falls will be running well. Here the area receives more than ninety inches of rain each year. That is double the amount officially recorded for Seattle. The South Fork of the Snoqualmie River forms the southern border of Olallie State Park and this long thin park parallels I-90 for many miles. The falls form just after the river crosses under the freeway on its journey from the north.

This is a pretty easy trail to reach and to walk. Because it has a spectacular destination in the falls, it was well populated by families. I was impressed by the number of children under the age of five trooping along. There is a lot of things to keep their interest and plenty of benches for resting. It is even possible to get down to the river and enjoy some rock throwing.

Everything was soggy and dripping. Moss was everywhere including covering the limbs of most of the trees in rain forest fashion. Mushrooms are still making their appearances.

This hillside of stone was covered in mosses and Maidenhair fern. Maidenhair is uncommon and always a pretty find.

The climb begins in earnest about one mile in and so you could hear the roar of water. Right at that spot a warning sign is obviously placed to keep the curious on track and way from the slippery rock edges.

In places the hillside gave way to runoff and trickling water organizes into small cascades.

Pretty soon there are many of them and the roar is getting louder. You enter an elevated walkway to cross over the river to see the first falls.

It is impossible to capture the height of the falls and the narrowness of the canyon. I estimate the main fall is about 50 feet and several smaller one disappear in the background.

I thought this rock face looked like an old ogre having a drink. :-D

Turning the other direction you see downstream. The edge of the river shows where the second falls start.

And here is the second falls from the observation platform below.

It is impossible to capture the whole 150 foot height plus the plunge pool. It is a dazzling beauty.

Walking back along the river I noticed this event in the making. The tree root have been exposed by a series of water events. It lookslike one good high water flood will send the tree toppling into the river.

The dilemma is that the upper fork of this tree holds up a pretty good leaner. That leaning tree juts out from the trails edge. I predict if the support goes the other tree will follow and undermine a bit of the trail edge. We will see!

This was a nice little walk, a quick journey between the rainfall. We are lucky here in King County to have a bounty of nearby hikes that can take us into these wonderful areas in a short amount of time. You can often hear I-90 roaring above you. That sound trades off with the running of the river. I imagine, in Spring, the singing birds add to the mix. This day I only saw one bird, a Pacific Wren (Winter Wren).

Another bonus in these hikes near to home along the I-90 corridor is the easy access to places for mid-day snackery like Macky Dim Sum in Issaquah. A plate of soup dumplings hits the spot.


  1. The pictures of the second falls took my breath away.

  2. They took my breath away as well. I knew the side trail to the platform was first on the trail but I went to the top first.

    Saved the dazzling , larger falls for the return trip.

    The veil of smooth water over the stone was wonderful. I wish there was a vantage point a bit further back to capture the whole view from.

  3. It must have smelled heavenly along that trail. I can just imagine it. You are lucky to live there and I am lucky to get to read about your walks and look at your wonderful photos.

  4. Thanks Inger. I am sure you would feel a twinge of homesickness for Sweden if you visited here. This area is where my fathers people settled and logged after coming from Sweden in the later 1800's

  5. The moss! It fascinates me! I loved your pictures of it. And that second falls is spectacular!

  6. Moss is so common here you almost don't notice it. There are so many types that I cannot begin to tease out the differences.

    I am heading over to the coast this week and hope to get back to the Hoh Rain Forest.

    As I look at the pictures I posted here, I see that almost every one features moss of some kind!

  7. Looks like another "must visit" place to put on the list. Great post, Marti.