Forward motion, headfirst & horizontal to gravity!
I cannot recall how many times I've passed by all the roadside attractions that dot US highway 2 to and from either Stevens Pass or the Wenatchee river. I've been driving that road since 1999 so it's been a few. This spring, three weekends in a row I had reason to get out to the Wenatchee - each weekend had some event going on I didn't want to miss. The second weekend driving home, something very white and very ferocious looking caught my eye out my window and I swore I would stop "next time." Well next time arrived exactly a week later, so I pulled into the parking area for Deception Falls.
It's a small lot with some smelly bathrooms and a display board describing the trails. I grabbed my camera and my car key, glanced by the board, heard someone say "trails are slippery and could be submerged" or something. I saw a sign that said "trail" and headed down the steep slope to a wider path that lead to a bridge across the river.
It was a favorite spot for folks to take pictures, but I didn't see anyone else putting their camera through the bottom rails to get this...
After crossing the bridge the trail continued under the highway to another viewing area that looked up the canyon. I kept looking for a line but it seemed pretty manky.
So that was it, I was imagining running down this thing and all the tourists taking photos and shrieking with delight. What I didn't know was that is was part of a run, although I started to get a clue a little bit later. It's just that the water level was really, really high.
I headed back across the bridge and to the trail but instead of going back up to the car I thought I'd find the path that came up to the other side of the parking lot. I didn't see it but I did see a sign that said "loop trail" and who can resist a loop trail? Part of the reason I stopped was that I was too tired to drive, so a little walk might wake me up.
I had zero of the Mountaineer's "10 Essentials" with me. Just my Chacos, a t shirt, skirt and car key, but hey it's a loop trail. I didn't even look to see how long it might be. Reckless, yeah that's me.
I had to turn around to see the loop trail sign, which meant that I was taking it backwards. What's the difference anyway? You end up at the same spot.
After just a few minutes of walking I thought the trail had gotten washed out. Upon closer inspection it's just that the creek was high and you could walk on the steeply sloped rocks next to the trail and not get wet.
I'm not sure if it's a bar or a convergence above, but from descriptions I think it's the creek and the river meeting up.
So keep in mind I'm doing this walk backwards, and think hey if you survive the falls this would be really sweet! But upstream something nasty was lurking....
Looks like there's a tiny sneak line in the upper right corner, you can see the entrance just to the right of the bleached log. Couldn't see if the drop was clean or not, but it would get you pass the crack. This feature is called Crack in the Earth. If that sneak line is dry then just aim as far to the right as you can...
you can see why you'd want to avoid any of the left side.
And here's what the entrance looks like. Fight that current and stay right!
A bit further upstream is a slide they call Monkey Cage. Tourists hoot like monkeys from the platform when kayakers go through it. I thought it looked okay as long as the left rock wall wasn't undercut or caved out. I saw a piece of wood go down the slide and disappear forever.
Here's a better look:
A rare white pine. I don't have anything against the French personally, heck they invented riverboarding. But they also imported trees with a virus that wiped out our white pines. This is a rare one that has immunity.
I could see that I was almost to the starting point of the trail. Here's a look at the runout from Deception falls. You can just see the whitewater at the end of the falls in the middle-right part of the image.
I quickly discovered why with all the tourists who stopped there this evening, I didn't see another soul on the trail. Had it been much deeper I would have doubled back, but since I was in Chacos I braved the icewater that came up almost to my knees!
I later read up on this area and it's referred to as Upper Tye or Top Tye. Not sure where the put in is above the falls but there is one; some also put in inside the park.
Another roadside attraction I've only seen on video is Eagle Falls. It's a very stout rapid in between two long class I - II sections. Some guys set up a winch with a wakeboard, but the rocks they launched off of were underwater here.
It's yet another hour and a half til I'm back home from here, but it was nice to break up the drive and think about what to hit when (if?) the levels drop. There are a lot of runs in the Skykomish drainage and I've only done the south fork so far.
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