Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Otter, Marten, Big Creek Falls

Oscar named his team at work "Oscar's Otters," so when we found out there was a waterfall near us called "Otter Falls," he insisted we hike to it. It was about 8.5 miles round trip, and our waterfall book gave it a "hard" rating for difficulty, but it really wasn't steep at all. We didn't even break a sweat.

The trail, on the other hand, was terrible. It was very poorly maintained, we had to cross several small streams, there was quite a bit of snow left even in the middle of May, there were several rocks and boulders to get through, and a lot of foot twisting kept happening from walking on top of all the rocks and ridges along the trail. It was marked as the Snoqualmie Lake trail, not the Taylor Creek of Otter Falls trail like we were expecting, and the signs leading up to it on the road weren't clear at all. And to top it all off, we had to drive 12 miles each way on the worst pothole-filled road I have ever been on. Thank goodness the waterfalls were pretty.

The trail crosses Marten Creek Falls, Otter Falls, and Big Creek Falls, but some people have reported hiking the entire trail and not seeing the first 2 falls. I'm not surprised since they are very easy to miss because you have to bushwack up the side hills in order to see the main drops. There are no signs whatsoever telling you where you have to leave the trail to find them. Fortunately we had our book "Waterfall Lovers Guide to the Pacific Northwest," by Gregory Plumb, which at least gave us a general idea of where we should start bushwacking.

This base of Marten Creek falls is the only part you can see if you don't leave the main trail.

These two drops are worth leaving the trail for, but they're difficult to see and photograph. All 3 falls along this trail remind of of water slides in the way the water falls lightly against the rocks.

And just pass Marten Creek Falls, you scramble up a steep hill and encounter Otter Falls. This is much, much larger than it appears in the photo. It could be Paul Bunyan's water slide! It's close to 800 feet tall. The water level was a bit low (which was surprising since we visited in the spring), but it was still really cool to see. We sat down on a rock, ate lunch, and just stared up at the falls.

These were some of the views we saw as we continued to Big Creek Falls.

We liked some of these small cascades close to the trail. We called them "Cute Falls."

Our waterfall book author said this falls paled in comparison to its previous counterparts, but we still really liked it. It actually had the greatest flow of them all, and it was by far the easiest to see and get close to.

Here's another "Cute Falls" from our way back. Sometimes we call them "Fairy Falls" if it reminds us of a waterfall that would be significant to a fairy.

And we liked these yellow wildflowers we saw throughout the trail. They sprung up in the most random places.

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