I will start by saying my family is not the biggest outdoor family. We aren’t campers. Part of our criteria of a good vacation is how much we enjoyed the hotel room.
So when the kids woke yesterday morning and were told we were going on a hike, it wasn’t surprising they looked at me like I was a crazy, and then in whining voices resisted.
But it wasn’t something up for debate. It was a beautiful day and we live practically next door some of the most beautiful and popular hiking trails in the Snoqualmie Valley. It was time to do something different. The only thing the kids were allowed to have a say on was if they wanted to hike to a waterfall or high above Rattlesnake Lake. Tough choice, I know.
So after nearly 11 years in Snoqualmie, we set out on our first family hike. The kids piled in the car, still in shock. My husband commented that they looked like they were ready for the worst hour of their life.
Twenty five minutes later we were at Denny Creek and the Franklin Falls Trail. It was crowded with hikers. We figured parking would be an issue. We got lucky, though. A car pulled out of the spot closest to the trail head and it was ours. The kids’ dream of us leaving out of dad’s frustration of not finding a parking spot (which we’ve been known to do) was not coming true.
The hike was pretty easy; probably the biggest issue was the amount of people on the trail. Up we went – ascending 400 feet along the way. Denny Creek is beautiful. I was in awe over the massive smooth boulders lining the creek’s edge in spots.
Twenty minutes later we started descending. You could hear the falls before you could see them. The climb down to the Franklin Falls was probably the most unnerving part for us, never having hiked before. It wasn’t a dirt or gravel trail that led you down to the falls. It was the narrow edge of a massive cliff that rose 100 feet above the falls.
We made sure the kids were extra careful and, like the novice hikers we are, nervously made our way down the cliff side. Finally, the kids didn’t look so miserable. They’d made it to the prize – a beautiful waterfall 30 miles from their home. They took off their shoes and waded into the cold water. They got Within 10 feet of a roaring waterfall and felt its spray. Maybe it wasn’t so bad after all.
Round trip, the whole hike lasted 1 hour and 15 minutes, with the drive taking about another hour total. It was a great first Snoqualmie Valley hike.
We continued the “try something new” theme of the day and afterward headed to Snoqualmie Pass (only 7 minutes away) for lunch. We went to Webb’s restaurant at the Summit at Snoqualmie. It had a sort of dive quality to it when we walked it, but the food was great and the people were friendly. My son swears it was the best sandwich he’s ever had.
After lunch we walked up the ski slopes, now just grassy hillsides, but in three months another season will come to Snoqualmie and those hills will be covered in snow. The ski lifts will be running and my kids can talk about how they ran down those snowy slopes when it was sunny, 65 degrees and the grass reached about their ankles.
And did I mention those ski slopes, like Franklin Falls, are also within 30 minutes of their home? Pretty lucky kids…