A few years back, we made a trip across the North Cascades Highway and back across Stevens Pass. One of the stops on that route was Chelan Falls. I was hoping to get photos of the falls but they were hard to see and the sun was backlighting them anyway. I still had a post about it but there wasn’t a huge amount to show for it. Work recently took me to Chelan and I figured I would try finding another view on the falls after the conference day was done.
Looking at Google Maps, there was a road that ran alongside the gorge that the river was flowing through. This road was confusingly named Gorge Road! It was not a paved road but it was actually a very smooth dirt surface. What was more intimidating about it was that it had some very steep drop-offs at the edge with a long drop below them!
I was able to see some of the river areas from the road but, being so far above it, meant things were rather distant. I could also get an oblique view of the lower falls and the bridge across them. It was a lovely sunny late afternoon so a nice time to be out and about with the camera. It was also a bit warmer than on our side of the mountains so a good time to explore.
The thing that attracted me to a stroll along the Snoqualmie Valley Trail was the presence of an old railway trestle bridge. Known as the Tokul Trestle, it seemed to be on a curve over a deep valley based on what I could see on Google Maps. What I didn’t know was how much you could see of it from either side. Only one way to find out I guess.
It wasn’t a terribly long walk from where I had parked the car to get to the trestle. When you don’t know a route, it always feels a bit longer but walking back seems a far shorter journey. Since the trestle was on a curve and the route was very tree lined, it was pretty much out of sight until I was nearly upon it. The majority of the trestle seems pretty old but there is a center section that seems to be more modern. Of course, that could have been there for ages and the whole bridge was maybe restored when the trail was being created. If I had done some research, I might have been able to tell you!
The curve of the bridge is quite gradual and, as I had wondered, the approaches are tree lined which makes getting too much of an angle on the bridge tricky. A drone would be a very handy thing for getting a broader view of the bridge or being down on the river bed below. Not sure who owns that but there is a firing range down there somewhere which I could hear along part of the walk. You can get down on the sides of the bridge at each end to get a bit more of a view of the structure and I did check that out. Since I was alone in an area without much cellphone reception, though, I didn’t get too adventurous.
There is something about trestle bridges that really fascinates me. They seem quintessentially American to me. In the UK, rail bridges of old are either iron or brick. They look impressive too and make for great photo subjects. However, the trestle is something that evokes images of old steam locos crossing the country with wide flared smokestacks. The idea that they are still around and in good working order continues to surprise me.