Chasing Waterfalls

 View From Here + Adventures/Escapes Mash-Up

Usually our View From here section is all about photos, and not so much about words. This time around is different though, because as spring gets under way and summer creeps closer, I can’t help but think about all the adventures I will be getting into taking those photos once there are more warm days than wet ones.

That’s right, I said adventures, and not just the hiking and exploring kind. As any landscape photographer knows, when there is a shot you want, you will do anything and everything to get it. I’m no exception. I’ve done some pretty crazy things, completely disregarded my health limitations, and gotten myself a bit banged up on more than one occasion, but it was all worth it.

What gets me going? I would have to say that chasing waterfalls accounts for most of the moments I referred to above, in fact nearly all of them. Enjoy some stories to go along with the photos.

North Fork Sauk Falls in Darrington is one of the shortest hikes around at about 0.6 miles, but it features a wicked climb back out for someone not up to such thinks thanks to some pesky health problems. That hasn’t stopped me from making that climb at least once per season when the Mountain Loop Highway is opened.

My adventures with this one didn’t end there though. Not only did I navigate a narrow ledge just past the main viewing point for a better view, I’ve also made the climb down on the damaged part of the trail for a better look. Given the harshness of the normal climb back out, it wasn’t my best moment. Making your way up and over damage is as hard as it sounds, but as usual, I persevered.

Heather Creek Falls in Granite Falls requires a bit of a walk from the dirt road it is located on, but it really doesn’t qualify as a hike. With a bit of maneuvering across shallow water, rocks, and fallen tress, it is also fairly easy to photograph, if you are into taking the easy shot that is. I’m not!

This gal shimmied up a log and perched upon a large, wet, and slippery rock to get a side shot of the falls, which I might add, hasn’t even gotten used. They can’t all be winners. Up wasn’t easy, down was even worse. Thanks to some torn tendons years and years ago, and multiple tears thereafter, I have a bad ankle, so anything that requires jumping down, or risking putting it at a precarious angle, not happening.

How did I get down, well somehow I managed to slide back down that log on my rear end. Not pleasant, but did the trick.

Clear Creek Falls in Darrington has not one, but two tales to tell. The first time around in Fall offered a beautiful reflection, but not a lot of water. As you can see from the Winter shot though, the waterfall extends far higher than meets the eye. That, my friends is where I got myself into trouble the first time. The creek bed was empty approaching the falls, so it was easy enough to approach and photograph the lower falls.

Once again, I wasn’t satisfied with easy, Despite the low flow of water, I could still spy the upper portion of the falls and a nearly 10 foot vertical climb with only small rocks to hold onto in order to get up to see it. You guessed it, I climbed it. I don’t think I have ever been more terrified going after a shot in my life.

I made it, only to find quite hilariously that, the low flow of water was a pattern repeated all the way up. Yep, nothing to see there during the Fall folks. Getting down was equally scary and required holding on to a wobbly, not so strong branch while once again sliding down on my rear end.


If you are thinking I did better off the second time around, you’d be wrong about that. We made a side trip back to the falls while needing to kill time before an event, which meant I was far from appropriately dressed for chasing a waterfall. Shockingly enough (sarcasm) there wasn’t a low flow problem in Winter.

What does that mean? It meant having to climb up and over in the rain and mud instead of using a convenient creek bed to approach. I did this wearing boots and a dress. The view and photo was worth it this time around though, even catching upper portions of the falls. Good thing to, because there was a chance in you know what of me making that vertical climb again under the conditions given. Maybe next time.

The pictured Unknown Falls was located off the beaten path at the Big 4 Ice Caves in Granite Falls waterfall. I know what you are thinking, wasn’t the giant ice cave enough of an attraction. Nope! You see this set of falls, beautifully set back in the mountain was teasing me more than once on our way up the trail and again once we reached the end.

Getting to it required making the journey to one of the side ice caves and then pushing on further, through lots of rocks and not so nice plant life. While one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen in Snohomish County, my camera was dying by that point and the resulting photos were not what I wanted. I will make the journey again though, and hopefully not scratch up my legs doing it the second time around.

Twin Falls, located along the Boulder River Trail in Arlington involves a bit of irony for me. It is a hike we’ve done three times for the purpose of photographing the falls during different seasons. For those familiar with the trail, you know that these falls are accessible up close and personal by climbing down a pretty steep set of rocks.

These are as fun to climb up as they are to climb down for someone of my size, especially with a strong and fast dog on a leash in tow. I’m happy to report I made it up and down all three times without incident and enjoyed the beauty of the falls. Where is the irony in that? Well, as it turns out, the best shot I’ve ever gotten of the falls was taken from up on the trail, no climb required. It happens!

Not all waterfalls involved adventures, at least not the climbing up, sliding down, and getting muddy kind, unless you count the car. We’ve also caught our fair share of waterfalls from the car window, just off the side of the road, and as a pleasant bonus to various trails.

If you haven’t seen enough, not to worry, some of these falls can be found next.

Suiattle Falls, Darrington

Falls on Jumbo Mt Rd, Darrington

Falls along Mtn Loop Hwy Darrington

Falls Along Rd to Mt Pilchuck, Granite Falls

Did you know that this article, as well as all of the others featured on our website are part of a monthly magazine. It is all about shopping, eating, drinking, and playing local in Snohomish County. More importantly, it is about the ways that local choices can make your life better. Our monthly magazine is available in both electronic and print form (yes, you read right, print!). As if that wasn’t awesome enough, each issue contains exclusive content that can’t be found on our website or social media accounts. So if you aren’t getting a copy each month you are missing out.

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