Fantastic 10-mile fall "hike"

This past Sunday, Chrissy had the great idea of taking advantage of our surprisingly clear and sunny fall weather and going on a hike. This year has been unusual in Seattle in that we’ve had a true fall season, where it’s been cool/cold, but clear and sunny. Leaves have changed color and are still on their trees — usually “fall” is like two days, and then the rains come in and the leaves end up on the ground in a soggy, ucky mess. But the scenery around town lately has been just gorgeous.

Anyway, Chrissy, Tina and I left the city Sunday morning and headed east to Big Creek Falls. En route, we discovered that Chrissy’s state-parks permit, which we needed to park at the trailhead, had actually expired a couple months back. I then whipped out my oh-so-handy iPhone, and found a gas station in North Bend where we could buy a $5 day pass. After going through North Bend, we had to rumble down a 10-mile gravel road, that was peppered with potholes. Apparently Chrissy enjoys that sort of driving… ;o) We finally rolled up to the trailhead at about 11; there were only maybe 10 other cars in the lot.

It was pretty chilly — mid-40s — so I pulled on my oh-so-sexy bandana/headband/ear-protector thing, two fleeces (one light, one mid) and some gloves. Then we set out for the 10-mile “hike.” (I put “hike” in quotes, because it’s basically flat; you gain 700 feet of elevation over the five miles.) At the beginning of the hike, we crossed and then walked along the Taylor River. Here and there, we had to cross tiny, low streams, but for the most part, it was a pretty easy ramble. At the three-mile mark, we came across Marten Creek, which had a little waterfall. A couple miles up, we came to a cairn (basically a pile of rocks that act as a marker) on the side of the trail. We scrambled about 100 yards up a hill, then went down the other side and came to the base of Otter Falls. Otter Falls was really amazing — basically a sheer rock face, with a tiny trickle of water coming down it. The Falls end in a tiny, serene lake. After snapping a lot of pictures, we sat down for lunch. Here are some pics of the Falls; you may have to squint to see the water coming down…

Then I pulled out my handy-dandy Joby camera stand and mounted the camera on a tree branch so we could take a self-photo. That tree behind Tina was so beautiful. (BTW, I turned on the “Autumn” setting on my camera at this point, which made the leaves’ colors really pop, but washed out our faces a bit.)

After eating, we found our way back to the main trail, and continued on for maybe a mile or so to our turnaround spot, Big Creek Falls. Here’s a shot of Tina, Chrissy and me in front of the falls:

And then…back we went. In total, our hike was about 10 miles. I’ve never walked that distance before, so my calves were definitely a bit achy the last mile or so. But what a great outing — the perfect weather, mild exercise, good company, etc. It was almost rainforest-like most of the way, with moss everywhere:

I highly recommend that y’all head out to this place once spring rolls around. Here’s a great, detailed description of how to get to the trailhead and what to do/where to go from there:

Finally, I leave you with a pic I snapped on the drive home; it shows off more beautiful fall foliage. So glad we took our trip when we did — the rains are a’ comin’!


3 Responses to “Fantastic 10-mile fall "hike"”

  1. Oh! That looks so pretty! I’m sorry I missed it. Sorry I bailed tonight too – I’m feeling anti-social I guess. Go Obama! Hopefully soon Derek will be up for something again and we can start being social after work again. We’ve been talking about going to the gym and then trying out the Venus Bar next door for dinner afterwards.

  2. Sorry you couldn’t make it to either outing.. both were a blast! I ended up going to Luau for election night with some friends. It was so great to be out in public (at a heavily pro-Obama place) to celebrate the historic night.I’m definitely up for a gym + dinner outing soon! I may be out for next week, so we’ll set up plans once I figure that out.

  3. Awesome pics, nice work. Looks like a fun route – good for a trail run I bet :). I miss Seattle in the fall so much.

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