Sunday, July 9, 2023

Birthday Trip

We're trying really hard to actually get out of the house and do things/go places this summer. Ryan was tired of hearing about all of his coworkers' adventures and having none of his own. An orchestra friend has been telling me for the past year about an inn she's been helping to renovate and they just got the restaurant in the inn opened, so we headed up there for a couple nights since I had off on the 4th and my birthday anyway. 

This town is tiny - they've got a combined elementary/middle school apparently, with a total enrollment of 28 students per wikipedia. Most of the homes in this part of Washington are rich people's ski cabins I guess. But the inn has been around since the 1890s, when the town was a little more bustling due to logging and a nearby gold strike. The town is in close proximity to Stevens Pass for skiers in the winter and to lots of good hiking and climbing. And since it's right by the Skykomish River, lots of river activities as well. 

We stayed in the cottage that is just behind the inn since this had a bedroom space for the adults and a loft for the kids to sleep in. M was nervous about climbing up and down the ladder to the loft initially, but after a couple trips up and down decided it wasn't so scary. 

Up in the loft

M asked "is that a radio?"

We opted for a hike on the 4th, waiting until early afternoon to allow the early morning hikers to finish and leave (and to allow the 3 night owls in the family plenty of time to sleep in). Bridal Veil Falls and Lake Serene are two well-known hikes within the national forest, but given their popularity we decided to opt for the Wallace Falls state park hike to Wallace Falls instead. This was also packed, but we did manage to find parking at the trailhead. The hike started off relatively easy, but after the lower falls quickly started to pick up elevation. The falls were beautiful and the view over the valley at the upper falls worth it, but my knees really didn't like the trip back down. Still, glad we did it. And at least you're protected from the sun by the trees, unlike the hike we did in Salt Lake last year! I also made sure to take extra water on this hike, having learned our lesson from that Utah hike. Despite the tree cover, it was still the warmest day we've had yet this year, pushing 90.

Look at all that shade!

Lower Falls

Middle Falls

Upper Falls

Looking out over the valley from near the upper falls

The crowds on the trail significantly thin out after you reach the lower falls - there's a covered picnic shelter there and lots of people go that far and then turn around. A small number continue on to the middle falls but even fewer go as far as the upper falls. We all appreciated cold showers when we got back to the inn and then went to the inn restaurant for dinner that night. The next morning we packed up and headed home. I constantly feel lucky to live in a place with such easy access to natural beauty - all this was just an hour outside the city.

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