Bring some guts and a gps on this excursion just outside of Darrington, Wa! The road to the trailhead was washed out pretty badly a few years back which adds over 2 miles one way to your trip making it a 9.6 mile round trip total with 3000 feet of elevation gain.
When you first begin at the washout there is a not too difficult creek crossing, but you certainly do not want to lose your footing. Otherwise, you’re riding down several tiers of waterfall. Trekking poles helped immensely. The real tricky part is about 10 feet of trail to get out of the washout where the earth is continuing to give way and the slope is steep. Again, you do NOT want to fall into the waterfall.
Once safely on the other side of the washout we continued up the old road bed for a little over a mile. There were several beautiful waterfalls on this section and it was fairly snow free. It wasn’t until we turned off to a steeper road that the snow began to get deep. We quickly brought out the snowshoes and that’s when the real adventure began.
Have you ever done a series of never ending hurdles while heading uphill in the sand and all while wearing clown shoes? Probably not, but if you ever care to know the feeling just go snowshoeing up a snowy mountain. That’ll give you a pretty accurate idea! 😂 I learned rather quickly to just follow my cousin, Tom’s, footsteps to make it easier on my short legs.
The snow was extra powdery and we had obviously been the only people out there in a long while, so paving the way was pretty exciting. It took some route finding skills to find the actual (original) trailhead, and once there it was pretty difficult to see the trail due to snow cover. That’s where the gps was essential in making sure we were headed in the right direction.
Now the snow just kept getting deeper and deeper, but we were having too much fun to turn around. I got a good laugh and had a proud moment as I captured a photo of Tom biffing it on a snow bridge over a stream on the way up. However, the joke was on me as I actually fell into the stream during my turn to pass. Karma is quick to it sometimes, but at least there’s no picture to prove my own clumsiness.
Eventually, our journey had to make a 180 because Brie, Tom’s pup, was in over her head (literally) and struggling to keep forging ahead. Sadly, 1.5 miles from our destination we had to turn back. It’s OK, though. The adventure was a blast, and we will certainly be back for revenge. We’ll just let the pup stay cozy at home with her mama next time.
Once back at the car Tom tested out his new ultralight backpacking stove and experimented with a DIY backpacker meal recipe. We sat on his tailgate and devoured our lunches while enjoying the view and sounds from the surrounding waterfalls. Today was another (always) good day out on the trail. Now to plan the next adventure…