Saturday, November 30, 2013

Snoqualmie Falls

Today I left Captain Midnight to fend off the Nerd Brigade singlehandedly (which he does quite well) and ran away to Snoqualmie Falls.

It was a busy Saturday afternoon. I parked on the opposite side of the highway and made my way over this covered overpass... see the falls.

I've been here many times, but I never get tired of watching the falls. I know it's become a cliché, but there's something about the powerful motion of water -- whether it's the roll of waves at the beach or the continuous cataract of a waterfall -- that soothes the spirit. The camera doesn't do a good job of showing distances or giving an idea of how enormous the drop is -- 268 feet. It takes a single drop of water some three seconds to reach the bottom of the falls.

They're impressive any time of year, but I especially like them in the late winter, when the increased flow of water makes the falls enormously full and the combination of heavy fog and spray can make them all but invisible. There are few tourists at this time, and the ones who come are usually not willing to wait patiently for a break in the veils of fog -- but those who do are rewarded by a spectacular view when they're suddenly revealed in a burst of glory. You can understand why this place is considered sacred to the Snoqualmie people.

Beside the top of the falls is the Salish Lodge, probably best known for featuring in the '90s cult TV show Twin Peaks. (Thanks, Jen!) The spray from the falls is so intense that it sometimes kicks back up some 270-plus feet to obscure views of the lodge.

Puget Sound Energy, which owns a hydroelectric plant here, maintains a park around the falls. They've recently made some upgrades to the park.

It's now easier to get down from the primary viewpoint... the lower viewing area, known as the Peregrine viewpoint.

You can get some gorgeous views from Peregrine, even though it isn't as close to the falls.

Most people are so captivated by the falls that they don't think to turn and look the other way. Here's the lower Snoqualmie Valley, with the old train trestle cutting through.

The river below the falls. I understand there's a trail you can hike to get down there, but I've never been bold enough to try it. Maybe this summer.

There are also random river- and waterfall-related words set into the pavement of the park.

It's kinda reminiscent of magnetic poetry.

The park is also well planted with local plants and trees, though this isn't the best time of year to see most of them.

These rosehips were looking festive, though. My Swedish ancestors probably would've picked them to make a winter soup... they're full of Vitamin C.

Eventually, though, you stop looking at the falls or at the park...

...and start people-watching. And there were plenty of people to watch today. They came from all over the world; I heard several regional accents and at least five different languages being spoken.

There were selfies, selfies...

...and more selfies going on.

Best of all, though, was the couple that came with a bag of popcorn and stood watching the falls as though it were a summer blockbuster.

At this point it started to rain, and since I wasn't keen to get soaked, I hopped back in the car and took the scenic route home. I felt a bit peckish on the way... wonder if that couple would've shared their popcorn?

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