Monday, August 25, 2008

I finally found it!

The trail we will be hiking on is an old railroad grade which was used to transport supplies between the cities of Duvall and Fall City. It ends just a short distance from the famed Snoqualmie Falls and one must take a detour on the road to where the trail picks back up again and crosses the Snoqualmie river.

Now when I first reached the first trail end I had no idea where it continued and I ended up at the Snoqualmie Public Works Department. Because it was a weekend, I was locked in the fenced property and could not get back out to the main road.

After emailing the county, I found out that one must take a detour on the main road in order to reach the second part of the trail. So in mid June Harley and I went out to start on the second part of the trail but we never found it. I had forgotten to bring the directions and thought it would be easily marked and not far from where the trail ended. Unfortunately it was not and we ended up missing where it starts again and found access further east from a park in Snoqualmie.

Wanting to find where the trail traveled so I would not get lost on the big day, I went back out on my own midweek hoping the roads would not be so busy. I could not find the original email with the directions but I found a map a friend sent me online and I just memorized the name of the one road to foll0w. How hard could it be, right?

LOL Well to my dismay and the dogs, it was not so simple. We ended up walking at least a mile and a half down a road with no shoulder which surprisingly was more busy than I was comfortable with. It seemed like it was going off into nowhere and I did not want to end up getting lost and walking solely on this road. Further, it was getting really hot and we were mostly in the sun which was not good for the dogs. Therefore, I made the executive decision to turn around and take this other road.

The other road led to a different paved trail which brought us into the town of Snoqualmie within a couple miles. Meanwhile the sun continued to shine on us and the heat got to an exhausting level.

While in the town I came across people riding on a train along our trail. The tracks led to a historic train station where there was an event going on. Some older men were directing pedestrian traffic whenever the train came by. I thought surely they would know the mystery of the missing trailhead but actually they did not. I did get a map from one of them though which they had at the train station.

We got a little relief under a canopy while talking with the men. However, it was not getting any cooler and I imagine it was nearly unbearable for the dogs. Our route back was in the hot sun again so I decided to hunt for an access along the river north of town so the dogs could take a swim and cool off. Yet we only ran into high banks and a fence cutting preventing us from getting anywhere near the river. Where it was fenced was a small park with a faucet outside the bathroom. Now my dogs do not like being sprayed with water no matter how hot it is. Silly beings! Thus I had to drag them each by the leash and try to hold them under the faucet so I could get them a little wet to keep from overheating.

When I got back to the truck I drove around on all the roads near the river trying to pick up the trail again. I finally found a set of stairs which appeared to be to a foot bridge crossing the river. I could not check it out though because I had to get the dogs home where they could get relief from the sweltering heat in their favorite place under the deck. I had parked in the shade but while we were hiking the sun changed position and we came back to a roasting vehicle which had been baking in the hot sun for hours! It was so hot that Jake did not want to go in the back of the truck and jumped out when I stopped to open the window for ventilation.

Harley and I discussed the dillema of needing to hike on the road with no shoulder. He was not crazy about the idea of me going out there on my own to check it out and walk it. But I really had to find where the rest of the trail went so we would know what we were doing and what we were getting into. We agreed that it would be best for me to go out there on a morning during the week when it would be less busy. However, as I discovered weekdays in the summer near a significant tourist attraction (the falls) are not any less busy it seems. Our hike is on a Sunday after labor day so hopefully it will be off season for most tourists and there will be less traffic to be concerned about

On Thursday, July 24th I went back out to this area and I was correct that the stairs I found lead to the continuation of the trail. Yeah! However, it is 2.25 miles between where the trail starts and stops again. Within that stretch we will be required to walk along rural roads with no shoulder which I am not too thrilled about (especially seeing that I am completely deaf and cannot hear cars coming up behind me at all). For this very reason, I need to walk against the traffic but there is no shoulder and I have to just trust that the oncoming car sees us.

Harley suggested having someone pick us up and drive us to the next part of the trail but I just cannot do that. It defeats the purpose of what I am doing. It just not seem right getting a ride in the middle of it. Marathoners don't get picked up in the middle of their run! Perhaps the county parks has a couple orange vests that they can lend us for the day.

At any rate, I will try to walk quickly through this 2.25 mile stretch and be ready to dive into the blackberry infested ditch if it appears as if the car heading my way does not see me!

Here is a map of the entire route from Duvall to Rattlesnake Lake in North Bend:

For SVT enthusiasts also curious where the trail picks up, this is what you must do:

  • Travel south on Tokul road (after coming up the hill from the trail at the tunnel, take a right toward the falls).
  • Before you actually get to the main road along the falls, take your first left on 61st or 66th street. (I cannot remember the numbers. Just take the first road on your left).
  • Within a couple blocks, Snoqualmie Public works will be on your left and the road veers off in 2 different directions (kind of like a Y shape).
  • Go straight and the road you are on will turn into Stearns road.
  • Be careful and watch for huge dump trucks carrying gravel emerging from the Mill on your left (marked 5 miles road) and trucks entering from your right.
  • Follow Stearns road for over a mile and a half passing a pond on your left with a pretty view of the 4000 foot Mt. Si in the backdrop.
  • This road eventually changes into Mill Pond road but you do not know it until you reach the end (the road comes to a T).
  • To your right will be a one lane bridge into town. Go left on Rening road.
  • Within a quarter mile you will see a pull over area on your right with stairs ascending to a foot bridge.
  • That is the rest of the trail! Enjoy! :o)

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