Friday, August 19, 2011

The Crazy Trail to Malachite Falls

Before I moved out to Leavenworth to be a part of their summer theater, we came out a few days early to check out the house I'd be living in. As long as we were going all that way, we decided to check out the waterfalls close to US-2. The first took us on a hard hike to Malachite Falls. This wasn't as difficult physically as the hikes we'd done in Yosemite, but the terrain was awful, the trail was difficult to follow, and there was still quite a bit of snow to slide on. But Malachite Falls, pictured above, was beautiful. It's unfortunate, though, that there's no place to get a good view of it. All they'd need to do is cut down a few trees in order to give hikers a better view of a stunning falls.

Our first stop on our way out took us to Eagle Falls. This is just off the side of US 2 getting close to Skykomish. It's more of a rapid than a falls, but it was still enjoyable to see.

The river it flows through is very pretty. I love that turquoise color!

It's nice to have Oscar with me when I go waterfall searching. He's better at finding them than I did. I almost missed this one.

But I can spot them pretty well too. We'd begun the trail to Malachite Falls and Oscar completely missed the lookout to this pretty falls. It'd be gorgeous if you could get close to it, but it's very high up the mountain without a closer trail. It's called Shoestring Falls.

Further along the trail we saw a couple more distant falls.

Our guidebook names another distant falls as "Sunray Falls," but I don't know if it's referring to the falls in this pic or the previous pic.

Oscar saw this log and told me he wasn't interested in doing this hike since we obviously couldn't cross this river without getting our shoes soaked. The first several feet of the log bridge were already underwater. I, however, said I didn't care, got my feet wet, and walked right across it. Fortunately he loves me enough to follow :)

We also saw some mighty big trees. This was the area where we nearly got lost since it's poorly marked and there's a lot of brush to push through. We climbed over several fallen trees while following a series of colored tags. There were too many tags in areas where the trail was obvious and they weren't really needed, and there weren't nearly enough in the areas where it's difficult to follow. Fortunately they're doing some work on the area so hopefully it will be better in the future.

After a steady climb we made it up to pretty Trout Lake.

There were some pretty mountain views as we began our ascent up Copper Creek.

The creek itself had several small cascades to enjoy as we climbed up several switchbacks.

And finally we made it to beautiful Malachite Falls.

By hiking up several switchbacks we were able to see the entire falls, but never could you get a great photograph. The first had too much tree blocking the largest drop, but when we'd move to a place that blocked the largest drop left, some tree would be in our way blocking another part of the falls.

This was probably the best view we had. It's similar, but it's not quite as good as the picture in my guidebook. I couldn't figure out where he would have taken his picture. Maybe he climbed a tree. But even he complains about the visibility of this falls, giving almost an entire page up to saying that this would be one of the northwest's best waterfalls and improve safety if only they would cut down a few more trees.

We enjoyed the pretty mountain views as we began our descent.

Oscar liked these pretty flowers.

We bushwacked a bit to a place where you could see the top of Malachite Falls along with the creek it flows into. Oh if only those trees on the right weren't there this would be an excellent view!

On our way back we found an even better view of Shoestring Falls than we'd seen the first time.

We pratically had to drive through a waterfall just to get to and from this trail. The pics above and below were taken from our car as we drove through water tumbling down the road.

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