Sometimes you just need to seize the moment.
We had a sun break today! For those of you not familiar with the dreary winter weather in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, a sun break is a local term we coined to describe the much celebrated (and much awaited) time when the grey clouds finally part and reveal that shiny warm orb. I think it is called the sun. If we had not lived in other places, I think that I would believe that this sun as you call it is a myth. Actually, Seattle is not that bad, it just seems it this time of year. Family travelers fear not, the region is great all seasons of the year (just some are better than others).
We did not waste the rare opportunity. You have to seize the time when it comes because you never know when the next sun break will arrive. Plus, we really needed relief from the cabin fever that had set in. I also wanted to try out my new pack. So, we picked one of our favorite areas to go walking, the Cascade Mountains.
The Cascade Mountains are very close to Seattle, which is why they are a favorite for most outdoor enthusiasts in the area. In less than an hour, you can go from the hustle and bustle of the city to the solitude and tranquility of nature. Plus, they offer a variety of trails to meet anyone’s desires, whether you want magnificent mountain vistas, lush meadows, stately old-growth forests, clear lakes, roaring rivers, or quite woodlands. The North Cascades National Park truly is a natural playground.
I consulted my favorite website for up-to-date trail information, The Washington Trails Association. It is a great resource for hiking in Washington State. You can get up-to-date information about any trail. We decided to go with the Rattlesnake Ridge Trail. Although it lies outside of the national park boundaries, it is still in the area. This spur of the Cascades is sometimes referred to as the Issaquah Alps and is part of the Cedar River Watershed. We are not sure why it is called Rattlesnake. The only rattlesnake that you may ever find west of the Cascades would be very lost and very cold.
The Rattlesnake Ridge Trail starts at Rattlesnake Lake and climbs steeply up the east side of the mountain. The 1.9 mile trek gains 1,100 feet elevation as it winds its way up to Rattlesnake Ledge. Although it is a mildly strenuous hike, it is well worth the effort.
“You won’t find better views anywhere else this close to Seattle. Rattlesnake Ledge is a monolithic block of rock on the eastern end of Rattlesnake Ridge, towering high over the cool waters of Rattlesnake Lake and the Snoqualmie River valley. Looking up from the trailhead, the site is daunting–the rock face looks sheer and impregnable. Fortunately, the cliff face isn’t too broad, and hearty Washington Trails Association volunteers have carved a path through the steep forests flanking the rock face.” Dan A. Neslon, Day Hiking: Snoqualmie Region.
We had a great time, as usual. We are always glad when we break the monotonous rut we get into this time of year and get out. Plus, I got to field test my new pack and equipment.
Be advised, it is a very popular hike. So, it will get a little crowded on nicer days. Also, be careful on the ledge. I do not like heights and always worry. The rock is slippery and the fall is steep. Pets, children, and acrophobic husbands should be monitored at all times. We do not want the hospital to be your family travel destination.
From Seattle drive 32 miles east on I-90 to exit 32 (436th Avenue SE). Turn right (south) on 436th Avenue SE (Cedar Falls Road SE) and drive about 4 miles to the well-developed Rattlesnake Lake parking area on the right.
Do you have any favorite hikes? Let everyone know! Thanks.