Boulder River

I joined Kim and Karen Daubert, the executive director of WTA, for a hike on the Boulder River Trail. Kim has hiked it dozens of times and I've done it a number of times. It was Karen's first visit. Boulder River is mobbed in the summer when the water level is low and the falls are small. During a big storm in the winter or spring is when it is at its best. The river is roaring and boiling. The falls are huge. The mossy forest is at its best. The side creeks are also huge at that time but that is to be expected. We headed up Highway 530 towards Darrington and turned off on the French Creek Road. The usual pot holes but otherwise it was easy to drive. The low snow of just a few weeks earlier would have covered even this low elevation hike. We saw only a few very small patches.

We were the first car to arrive at 9:00 am. It was only sprinkling. Rain gear on all day but it was much drier than I was expecting. I never did pull out my umbrella. We quickly saw the results of all the recent rain. Big puddles on the old road section near the beginning. Every side creek was flowing fast. The dark sky and copious water brought out good colors. We could hear the river long before we saw it. Another car pulled in while we were getting ready. Those folks soon passed us. They made it to the end of the trail and passed us again on their way back.

The first falls soon came into view. The narrow ribbon was not so narrow this day. Plenty of water was cascading over the wall of the gorge and plunging into the Boulder River. We took the side trail down to the river at the base of the falls. The water was high but not as high as I feared. We made it all the way to the bottom. Lots of noise and roiling water flowing by and the big falls dropping into the river right in front of us. The way this far is only about a mile and was well worth it this day. We climbed back up to the trail.

Just a few minutes later we passed a small ribbon falls and then reached Feature Show Falls. The big falls was very impressive. No bare rock showing through. Just a whole lot of water crashing down. We took the short route down to the river here. Mist from the falls coated my camera lens in an instant. There was no way to avoid it. The falls was as big as I have seen it. We soon climbed back to the trail to admire the falls from the higher vantage point. With a 9:15 am start and a slow pace I thought others would have caught up with us. I guess the rainy forecast kept some folks at home. The first day of daylight saving time may have helped. It was only 8:15 am body time when we started.

Beyond the falls we had some nice views of the river. The featured attraction though is the forest. There are some very big trees along the trail. All the moss makes it look like a rain forest too. Some of the creeks we could rock hop. Some had bridges. Most of them we just slogged through. In the first half on the hike the creeks were not even boot deep. The second half was much more interesting. To say there was water on the trail is an understatement. In places there were puddles and small lakes. In others the trail was a creek complete with some mini waterfalls. We were prepared for it and had no problems.

Farther along there were a few crossings that were ankle to knee deep and flowing very fast. We and the several groups who passed us all made it to the end. The last mile or so of the trail seems to go on forever. Lots of little ups and downs and creek crossings and no indication of the end. There were only a few trees down. Only one was a problem. The tree was just uphill from the trail and the tree is way to big to get over. The rootball created a crater above the trail. For now folks are climbing up the slope and dropping into the hole to get around. I hope the tree can be removed soon.

Finally the trail dropped to the end at the the old ford site. Nobody could ford that raging torrent this day. The light rain began the last mile or so. It rained all though our lunch. Very much like my last visit. Two groups that passed us earlier were just leaving as we arrived. We had the trail end to ourselves. On a day like this the trip felt much more wild. Few people and the constant roar of the river. Not like the trail is on a sunny summer day. The trip back was much quicker. After a mile or so the rain mostly abated. As often happens we began to meet other hikers on the last mile. A number of folks were out for an afternoon. Plenty of time to reach the falls.

Back at the start the lot was full with a few cars parked down the road. Still not the usual crowds. This is a great trip on a wet day. I have seldom hiked it any other time. The views are all up close and not far aways. The forest and falls are the stars. For the day we hiked about 9 miles with 1100' of elevation gain. The forest was great. The waterfalls were outstanding. The river was raging. Add in great company and it was a very good day on the trail.

Kim And Creek
Lots Of Green
First Look At River
First Waterfall
Big Falls Ahead
Feature Show Falls
Tall & Wide
River Is High
Kim & Karen On Bridge
Many Trees Fell Here
Green Trail
Wall Of Ferns
Two Creeks
Green Log
Final Big Waterfall
Boulder River View
More Greenery
Trail Or Creek?
Hop, Skip, & A Jump
Rare Dry Trail
Deep Ford
Karen & I In A Tree
Big Log Across Trail
End Of Trail View
Especially Green
Another Creek To Cross
Sliver Of Trail
Trail Flowing Fast
View Of River
Mossy Arch
Big Falls On Return
Mossy Wall

P1830109 from Jim Kuresman on Vimeo.

P1830157 from Jim Kuresman on Vimeo.

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Trips - 2014