Boulder River

A damp drizzly day in July. Where to go? Boulder River of course. This is one hike that I have seldom done on a warm summer day. With the waterfalls, big trees, and moss, it is best on a wet drippy day. I've had a number of those days on the trail. Kim has hiked Boulder River far more than I have. We met in Shoreline at 7:05 am and headed north. Up to Arlington then east on Highway 530. A sign now announces the turn off is coming and another is at the turn. It is no problem finding French Creek Road. The dirt road is not in good shape. It is drivable by most vehicles but the many pot holes are getting pretty deep. We bounced along slowly and reached the trailhead at 8:45 am. By 8:55 am we were on our way. I was a little surprised to find only a couple of cars in the lot. This trail is usually busy. The way starts out on an old logging grade at a very flat grade. It was cloudy and misty but not raining.

It is only 1.25 miles to Feature Show Falls. That is what many folks come to see. After that there is another 3.25 miles to the end of the route where the trail once forded the Boulder River on the way to Tupso Pass, Goat Flats, and Three Fingers Lookout. A short way along the railroad grade turns to trail. Where the trail drops to a flat area there were two tents. An easy spot to camp and still be only half a  mile or so from the trailhead. The clouds and mist provided some good lighting for photos. Kim is a pro at seeing the small stuff right along the side of the trail. We hiked slowly and found a lot of neat stuff. At the big waterfalls Kim went down to the river. I tried but I recently tweaked my knee and decided not to follow. The short boot path is rocky, steep, and slick.

There was a pretty good flow over the falls for July. Recent rains helped. When Kim came up to the trail we continued on. Lots of big trees and a surprisingly good supply of berries. Some huckleberries were still a little tart. Many thimbleberries were ripe. We also saw some salmonberries and blackcaps. Huckleberries were both blue and red. A number of groups went on by as we were slowed by berries and photos. Side creeks were running but not deep enough to get my socks wet. We stopped at all the short side trails to views of the creek and waterfalls. Somewhere about three miles along mist turned to light rain. The trail became a little brushy in spots. We stopped for lunch. It was already about 11:45 am. Kim found more interesting things to photograph there.

After lunch we decided to head on back. Some other folks coming back mentioned that there was a lot of wet brush along the trail near the end. We made a little better time coming back though we still took a number of photo stops. It one spot Kim looked up and noticed an old wire insulator. The type used in stringing telephone cable in the backcountry. It makes sense that there was a line up to the Three Fingers Lookout. In all our previous trips we had never noticed an insulator before. We have seen them on a number of other trails to lookout sites. A little later Kim noticed a wire use to hang another insulator. Happy with this unexpected find we marched on back down the trail.

As expected, once we past the big waterfall we began to meet more groups heading out. Lots of families with small children. We were also passed for the second time by a group with Miles the pack goat. He was quick to pose for photos. I don't often get to see pack goats on the trail. The rain was more off than on on the hike back. While it was not a warm day it was humid. For a change someone else seemed to notice it even more than me. We made it back to the car at about 2:40 pm. The lot was mostly full with 7 or 8 more cars parked along the road. A good crowd but not overflow like most summer weekends. The rain seemed to keep some folks away.

This was exactly the trip we expected. Waterfalls, moss, mud, and big trees. The ripening berries were an unexpected treat. Since it was so cloudy there was no reason to hike to a high summit. Instead of far off views we had close up views. The fungus, and berries, and mushrooms that were just a few inches from our cameras. Trips like this are a good counter point to the Polallie Ridge Lookout trip we did the previous weekend. That kind of variety is what keeps hiking most every weekend fresh and not boring. All in all, a wet but very enjoyable day on the trail.

Unusual Tree
Mossy Rock Wall
False Solomon's Seal
First Waterfalls
Boulder River
Feature Show Falls
Falls Close Up
Red Berries
Devil's Club
Trillium Seed Pod
Green Borders
Big Tree
Mossy Rocks
Nearing The Clouds
Another Waterfall
Miles The Pack Goat
Kim On The Trail
Narrow Gorge
Looking Downstream
Reflecting Droplets
Colorful Tree Sap
Dual Saps
Wire Insulator
Waterfall Again
Tiny Mushrooms
Not Quite Ripe
Unusual Tree Again
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2016