Friday, June 12, 2015

Franklin Falls

Or, the importance of owning and wearing hiking pants

Sound interesting? I will get to that part later. 

Since our relocation to the Inland Northwest, I've started hiking again. When I lived in Dubuque, I would often spend afternoons hiking around the Mines of Spain. The hiking habit did not stay with me during my decade in Amarillo. Now, surrounded by the beauty of the Northwest, it seems like a good reason to hike again. 

I have learned it is easier to convince my husband to join me on a hike if there is something special on the trail. Our current fascination and motivation for hiking are waterfalls.

There are many websites that have helped with my trail planning, but this one seemed especially appropriate to choose a hike that would be fun for Bryan and me. 

Here are the basics to know about the trail: 

Franklin Falls Trail
Length: 2.0 miles, round trip
Elevation Gain: 400 feet
Visit the WTA website for map and additional trail details. 

A Northwest Forest pass is required. I purchased a day pass online

After reading several trail reports, we made plans to stop at the Denny Creek trail head on our way to Seattle. We arrived at the trail head a little before 9 a.m. on a weekday. We were the first car in the small parking lot. I would recommend hiking this trail during off-peak times as it is popular and has a tendency to become crowded. We returned from the hike to an overflowing park lot. 

Several of the trail reports indicated that there was a very large cedar near the beginning of the trail. We saw this old growth cedar and thought this was it. It is an impressive specimen, but it was not the largest old growth cedar on the trail. 

Further down the trail we found this impressive cedar. The base of this tree was more than 10 feet across. It's worth a stop on the trail for a photo or two. 

Shortly after passing the cedar, we caught this glimpse of a small falls along the stream. (I think Bryan thought this was THE falls and that we could turn back!) 

And then, at the one mile mark, we caught our first glimpse of Franklin Falls. 

The official trail ends here. However, you can continue along a narrow pathway that is carved into the rock. These rocks are slippery, so proceed with caution! The trek is worthwhile, as at the bottom you can enter the pool. 

About this time, we were joined by a small group of hikers. We took photos for each other at the base of the falls.  Hikers are a friendly bunch!

The path looked clear, so we decided to brave a water crossing to the other side of pool. I'm glad we did, as we were greeted with spectacular views of the falls.

We made the crossing once, so a second time should not have been difficult, right? Famous last words. This is Bryan making the crossing successfully.

A few moments later I would personally own the knowledge as to why one should never hike in cotton clothes (aka denim) and the true value of hiking pants.

Another lesson learned, water really does wick up. Needless to say, the hike back was an entertaining one for Bryan and I.

Even the views from the beginning of the trail are impressive to this new girl. Perhaps it's because I spent the past decade in the high desert of West Texas - water like this is truly a beautiful sight!

If someone told me that you could see an impressive water fall with a short hike off of a major interstate, I would be doubtful. I would be even more doubtful if you told me that the interstate would be right next to the falls!

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