November and December in Washington were pretty dry. For a state known for damp winters, we were rather lacking in rain. January and February decided to make up for that and we had days of rain and not just showers but really heavy rainfall. Local rivers are in flood all over the region. Snoqualmie Falls were on TV as the flow over the falls was raging. We have seen a variety of flow levels in our different visits based on river levels and the power generation requirements. This looked more than we had seen before and a visit seemed worthwhile.
We weren’t the only ones with this idea. Plenty of people were there and, talking to others after our visit, they all seemed to have visited too. The full width of the falls was covered and the roar of the crashing water was impressive. What was also dramatic was the impact on the viewing areas. The spray from the falls was being driven up the side of the rocks by the wind and so, while the surrounding area was dry, in the immediate vicinity of the falls, it was raining pretty heavily. One guy I talked to had his camera stop working it got so wet.
This made getting photos quite tricky. While the cameras I had were up to the task, keeping the front of the lens dry was a difficult task. The sun angle also meant any water on the lens was more conspicuous than normal. At first I tried to keep it clear but I soon gave up and just went with whatever I could get. We then went to the river in order to walk up towards the bottom of the falls. However, this had been closed off, presumably because of the river levels, so I couldn’t get the other shots I was hoping for.
We stopped off at the Lewis Falls on the way out of Yellowstone. The angle of the falls from the road meant I had not even noticed them when we drove into the park but, coming back south, they were easily seen ahead and off to the right of the road. Temperatures were not so low that the falls were frozen up and they looked very pretty. Given the number of vehicles in the area, everyone was stopping to take a look too.
The last leg of our trip across the Cascades took us through Chelan Falls. The town itself is pretty small but I wanted to see the falls. Unfortunately, they are rather hard to see from public spaces. I did get to an overlook where I was able to look down onto the falls but I was looking straight into the sun and even then it was hard to get a good look. I grabbed some sketchy shots and that is what you see here. Might be good to see at some other time of day but it certainly wasn’t inviting visitors!
Walking along a path up the Cascades, I went passed a rocky wall that was totally in the shade. The shady and damp environment makes it the perfect place for lichen to grow. The whole of the rock surface was covered in this lichen and it blurred the shape of the surface. The effect was to make it look like water was washing down across the rocks but, since it was lichen rather than water, I felt it should be called a lichenfall.
In a previous post I had some photos of the Nairn Falls. I figured with so much motion, video would be a good idea for sharing some of the force of the water. I have edited together some of the footage from the falls and here is a video.
We almost missed Deception Falls. I had put it in to the GPS when we headed across US2 over the Cascades but the GPS had picked up on the place I marked and decided an alternate road would get us close. It did but on the wrong side of the road and that had a benefit we hadn’t anticipated which will be the subject of a separate post. However, we had missed the falls and we continued on our way east.
When we made the return trip, as we got closer to the spot I had marked, we realized it was coming up and started to debate whether to stop or whether we were happy to continue home. We debated for a while over this but, as we got closer, the sign came up for Deception Falls and, since we were there already, why not just stop. Thank goodness we did. The falls are really cool and they are right next to the road. The level of effort is virtually zero for a great result.
The falls run under a bridge which you can cross but, aside from looking upstream and down from the bridge, it is worth looking through your feet. The surface of the bridge is metal grate which allows you to watch the water tumbling beneath your feet. On the other side, you can walk along a path that runs up alongside the flowing water. You are so close to the water, you feel like you are almost in it.
Steps take you up to nearer the top of the falls where you can watch the water crashing down over the rocks. All of this is just a few steps from the parking lot. It is very impressive (and rather popular) so definitely worth the time. We came away wondering how easily we could have bypassed this location and what we would have missed if we had done so.
I took a wrong turning as we went over Stevens Pass and, instead of going where I had intended, we took a back road which was probably once the main road across the mountains. It twisted through the woods, never getting too far from the current highway, but being far more enclosed and far narrower. Fortunately, not much traffic was coming the other way, so it was easy enough to navigate. We crossed a small bridge which was over some falls. I can’t be sure but, judging by the map, the water seemed to be called Martin Creek so maybe the falls are of the same name?
We took a trip up to Whistler for a long weekend. On the drive up there, we went past Brandywine Falls Provincial Park. The falls themselves were actually pretty close to the highway so this did not involve a particularly strenuous hike. However, after being in the car for a long drive, it was nice to get out and stretch the legs. Besides, it was a lovely day.
I was not anticipating the falls being very full given the time of year but it turns out they must have a reasonably good source of water and they were flowing strongly. The park has built a viewing deck that allows visitors to get out to the edge in safety and get a good view of the falls themselves. The trail continues on for a way as well so you can look back at the falls from a variety of angles. While it was later in the day, the light was still a bit tricky. The falls were in deep shade while the sun was shining on the surrounding forest. The contrast was harsh which meant the exposure was a compromise. Modern sensors do have considerable latitude to accommodate this variation though. It was possible to pull out details from both the highlights and the shadows within Lightroom.
I was with a couple of colleagues in downtown Seattle between meetings. We were walking along the street just killing some time when we came upon Waterfall Park. Tucked on the corner of a block in amongst the buildings, it is a little area with a waterfall (what a shock I hear you cry) running down an artificial rock face into a pool. It seems set up to provide a restful spot for workers to enjoy in the middle of the day. Indeed, it closes by mid-afternoon. There was a security guy on duty so maybe someone has tried to mess with it in the past which is rather disappointing. I only had my phone with me but hopefully you can get a feel for the spot.
Our exploration of our new territory included a trip up into the foothills to see Snoqualmie Falls. The town of Snoqualmie is quite a way from the top of the pass but it is still a nice increase in elevation from the more populated areas to the west. The views are very nice from up there. The water running off the mountains has already formed a pretty decent sized river by this time.
Because of the time of year, I was not expecting a very heavy flow over the Falls. They provide a guide to when the flow is strong and when it is light and we were not visiting at a time of year when it is expected to cover much of the lip of the Falls. However, some heavy rain in the preceding week had obviously resulted in some run off and things were actually looking pretty forceful.
We had lunch in the hotel overlooking the Falls and got a window seat that provided a great view. Then we walked around the ridge to see the Falls from different angles before taking the trail down to the river level. Things look very different when you are level with the base of the Falls and they feel far more powerful. It was a warm day and the climb back up to the top made me feel rather toasty. It was certainly worth it though.