Snoqualmie Falls is right on the way to Franklin Falls, and not stopping would have forever stamped us as terrible, no good hosts, so we stopped! This place is meant to be shared & shown off :)
Construction has been going on for ages & ages at the falls (a hydroelectric update, I think), and once it's finally finished, we'll be able to hike down and explore the river at the bottom. Did you hear that, Akihiro & Hiromi? This means you'll have to come back so we can hit the trail together! :)
When we were at WWU, which seems like a century ago, I worked as an International Peer Advisor for the Asia University America Program. In a nutshell, my job was to be the planner of fun for a group of 10 or so Japanese students who came to Bellingham to study and experience American life. If organizing picnics and ice skating expeditions and birthday parties isn't right up my alley, I don't know what is. It was a fantastic job, and Jan Michael & I both have happy memories of those spring and summer months we spent with the students.
Now, fast-forward 14 years (just shy of a century, ha!) to a reunion with Akihiro, who came to visit again, this time with his sweet wife Hiromi and their 3 adorable boys. What a treat to have them with us and to be able to reminisce and re-connect. They were here for 4 much-too-short days, and we started to miss them the minute they backed out of the driveway. Fortunately for us, we won't have to wait another 14 years to see them again because, if all goes according to plan, the two of us are headed to their neck of the woods (and corner of the planet!) next year.
Planning what to do was a breeze because they're outdoor & nature lovers just like we are, so on their first full day in the Pacific Northwest, we took a trip to the reptile zoo, followed by a stop at the river, followed by ice cream cones. Ice cream crosses all age and language barriers, it seems :)
About 5 minutes after I took this, Haruki had stripped to his undies and was wading in the shallows. He would have stayed there all day, splashing around, but we had ice cream to eat!
Akihiro gives a hearty two thumbs down to root beer and thinks we're crazy for drinking it. We tried to change his mind by making floats, but he would not be persuaded :)
Next up: hiking at Franklin Falls and... more ice cream!
The Enchantments are beautiful and magnificent and very, very enchanting. Living in the middle of them for a day or two is another situation in which photos and words fall short, but of course you take 500 pictures anyway and try to describe what you've seen because adventures like this are meant to be remembered and shared.
Something else about the Enchantments is this: it's a ton of work getting there! I pitched quite a fit as we were marching back down to civilization - one might think, as I did, that going down would be so much easier than going up, but hahaha! think again! - and told Jan Michael I was done messing around in the Enchantments forever, but then... he fed me ice cream in Leavenworth and I rested for a few days and saw pictures of what it looks like up there in the fall, with all of the trees turning the most brilliant shade of yellow, and... I changed my mind :)
But back to the beast mode it requires to get to the top: we climbed 6.5 miles and 4100 feet to get to Snow Lake, which is where we set up camp for two nights, but we climbed another 1400 feet on a day hike to reach Lake Viviane, which is still only the lower end! If we do decide to go back another time, we'll hike in from the other side, which means we'll be able to explore much more of the Core Zone; as it was, there wasn't enough time (or energy, really) to get any higher up.
Anyway, let's get to the pictures! The first few were taken bright and early, right before we started - because bright and early is the only sane way to start, believe us - and also before we looked like something the cat dragged in.
This is, I think, about 1/4 of the way up, and can you even handle the handsome?! Me neither!
Here we were almost to Snow Lake, but not quite, and at this point any spryness we'd felt at the beginning had long flown out the window. But!! Look at the view!
And then, finally, we arrived! Home, sweet home :)
As Derek says, "To go from barely alive to Superman in 30 seconds, apply alpine lake!"
Derek has most of the rest of the pictures, so once he hands over the goods, we'll get to our time with the lovely Lake Viviane and the trek back down.