Sunrise Hike at Rattlesnake Ledge

SUNRISE AT RATTLESNAKE LEDGELast week, I got up at 3 in the morning with a couple of crazies that I happen to work with. On about 2 hours of sleep, we drove up toward North Bend and went to Rattlesnake Ledge. We got their later than anticipated and huffed and puffed our way up the mountain. We had to ‘lightly jog’ up this mountain, but the view was well worth it. We made it to the top with about 15 minutes to catch our breath and wait. We weren’t the only ones at the top, there was a rambunctious group of teenagers sitting near the edge, but we had a great spot. While our group and their continued to chat, as soon as the sun began to crest over the mountain, there was this beautiful couple of minutes of complete silence. It was incredible. Below are some of the pics we shot, they definitely don’t do it justice. This has definitely become one of my favorite hikes.  Enjoy.

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“Remember when…”

Wallace GallsThis hike is about reminiscing to me. The first time I hiked up to Wallace Falls, I was probably about 14 years old. We went as a family on a sunny weekend. This was very clearly my dad’s thing. At that point in our lives, my sisters and I would have been quite okay with lying on the couch and watching TV all day. I’m definitely more “outdoorsy” now and my dad has gone full-on mountain man, still working on my mom though.

Eventually, we unwillingly gave in to going on the hike, mostly because we did not really have a choice in a matter. We hopped in the trusty minivan and made the drive up to Gold Bar. I don’t really remember the drive, that’s probably because I was reading; I did that on most car rides, growing up.

Anyway, back to the hike, we got there and started to walk toward the falls. About two miles in, you encounter the lowest viewing of the falls, which is a picnic area. The falls are gorgeous and at that point, my sisters and I turned to my dad and said, yeah, that was cool, but let’s go home now. He talked us in to heading up to the next level, which, in his defense, is only a half mile up.
That view of the falls is even better. It’s absolutely beautiful and there’s an area to sit and enjoy. Long story short, he talked us into hiking to the top, but we liked the view at the middle better. Then, my sisters and I ran down the trail. As I hiked down, I was remembering that and realizing that I must have been in really great shape to make that happen, but I run way more now than I did then, so I don’t know.

 

This hike was full of memories for me and I love that. We cheered for my mom like she was finishing a marathon every half mile or so when she would catch up to us. She hated it.

For this recent hike, I spent the hike remembering all of that. I went on a weekday afternoon and it was still fairly crowded, so I recommend weekdays if you have a sweet schedule where you can just hike in the middle of the week. If not, wake up early…The view of the rest of the valley is also incredible and gives the falls a run for their money. Especially from the top. That view really isn’t that exciting.

Might as well…

LAKE SERENE and BRIDAL VEIL FALLS“Might as well” is the reason I decided to do Bridal Veil Falls and Lake Serene in one day. After hiking Wallace falls the day before. My legs hated me, but I loved it. This hike was quite the adventure. It essentially kicked my butt in the best way possible. I learned the meaning of a fun word called a “switchback,” and by fun, I mean tortuous.

The walk up to Bridal Veil falls starts off easy enough, it’s a steady enough incline, you cross some little creeks. I went on a Tuesday afternoon, making the scenic drive out. It was a beautiful day. Spring definitely came early to the Pacific Northwest and I, for one, am not complaining.

About 1.7 miles up the trail, there is a sign that forks the trail. One way leads you up to Bridal Veil Falls and the other takes you 1.5 hellish miles up to Lake Serene. I meandered up to Bridal Veil Falls first. It. Was. Incredible. I sat and ate my lunch at the edge of the falls. I swear it made the sandwich taste better. After exploring the falls for a bit, I walked back to the fork and stood there for a bit. Going in to this hike I had gone back and forth on Lake Serene.

The WTA hike description said that it was only another 1.5 miles up to the lake. I hemmed and hawed for a few minutes before deciding: “might as well…”

It was the longest 1.5 miles of my life

Switchbacks are these things where you essentially climb a mountain for a couple dozen yards, and then you turn and climb a mountain for another couple of dozen yards and so on and so forth forever.

Before starting the switchbacks, you get this incredible view of the base of the falls. Then you climb a damn mountain, and it’s totally worth it. I foolishly wore my swimsuit because I thought “lake” meant “swimming,” but the lake was about 90% covered in snow at the time, so that was a no-go.

It was still absolutely breathtaking and I highly recommend it. I later learned that people sometimes do the logical thing and do Bridal Veil Falls and Lake Serene separately. So, that’s an option if 8.2 miles of incline is intimidating to you. It should have been to me.  If you’re like me, you’ll probably decide that you just might as well. That works too.

 

Today, I went on a hike…

Celebrating holidays apart my family is always different. It’s always a little sad; I miss them more over holidays.  This year, I celebrated this holiday surrounded by friends, new and old, and have had an amazing weekend.  We decided to go on a hike today. I took my camera along because it’s always fun to be able to shoot things off campus and I definitely need more practice with it.

Sign at the Bowl and Pitcher

Sign at the Bowl and Pitcher

As we walked and I started to shoot, I found myself drawn to all of these small moments. I loved the way the light hit this leaf on the side of the path, this small purple flower surrounded by grey wood, a pause, a look by someone as they walked along.

Too often I am overwhelmed by the big picture. I get swallowed by the grand scheme of things, the overall plan. While I think it is wise to be mindful of the future and to prepare accordingly, I struggle with being in and enjoying the moment.

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I had my final adviser meeting last week to prepare for class registration and my wonderful adviser who as counselled and helped me since day one told me a quote that I needed. I forget who it was and I might be butchering it, but it was something along the lines of:

“Prepare the tools and God will provide the work.” 

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I’m in this place where graduation is right around the corner (I’ll be done after fall semester) and I’m spending so much time thinking about what’s next. I spend all this time stressing about the future and thinking about how what I’m doing now is preparing me for the rest of my life, I forget to focus on the adventure that is my life right now.

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I am so overwhelmed by the forest; I’m missing the beauty among the trees.

On this day especially, I want to take the time to just dwell. On the hike, I was struck by the simple beauty of nature and how there is life and beauty even in the harshest moments and environments. God tells us not worry and that he’s got a plan. His plan is a million times better than anything I could come up with, so I’m just ready for the adventure.

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Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

                Matthew 6:34

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Bre giving us an impromptu anatomy lesson.

Bre giving us an impromptu anatomy lesson.

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God’s grace is abundant even, and probably especially, in my weakness and failings. Grace has always been my favorite aspect of Christianity and it’s such an amazing thing to dwell on today. Jesus died so we could be forgiven, so we could access that amazing grace, even though we have done absolutely nothing to deserve it. What a simple, beautiful truth. That’s the moment I’m focusing on today. Tomorrow’s worries will come tomorrow.

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Adventure is out there.

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