After being frequently bombarded by Franklin falls pics on the WH&C group, I decided to visit it this winter. The forecast was perfect for any kind of hiking for the last day of the year and I decided to visit the falls even if it was only by myself. Fortunately, two other hiker friends – Gaurav and Priya joined me and we started for the trailhead at 7:35 AM. The sun rays were just kissing the peaks around I-90 and the orangish hue and the snow looked stunning. The road to the trailhead was closed which added an extra 5 miles to make a total of 7.2 miles roundtrip. It was still very cold, we layered up and started our hike. The first 2.5 miles was on a relative flat wide road and then the last 1 mile had a bit of an elevation. It was an usual partial snow covered winter route along a creek. We didn’t wear micro-spikes until the very end where we had to descend to the falls. I tried for a distance without it but after barely avoiding a fall, I decided to put them on. The main waterfall was cascading in liquid form but water around it was frozen in pointy ice formations which adorned the waterfalls to give a majestic look. Compared to the cars at the trailhead, there were relatively less crowd at the falls, so we had all the time to enjoy the place and click pics. It was quite cold near the base of the waterfalls and my fingers started to pain slightly. We left the place after having our share and made a quick return to the trailhead in the Sun. As soon as we took the exit to enter I-90 we were presented with shiny mountains in the broad daylight. The unusual winter Sunny day gave us one of the best holiday present and I thoroughly enjoyed it. After seeing the Olympic mountains in the west, I craved for more and Gaurav then took us to a Microsoft cafeteria which had unparalleled views of entire Greater Seattle area, mountains from North Cascades, Mountain loop highway, I-90 peaks, Mt Baker, Mt Rainier and Olympics. The views from the cafeteria matched those from the visitor centers in the National Parks. I was surprised at every glimpse I took as Gaurav walked us along the glass windows. All in all, we made the best we could on the last day of the year.
In an attempt to catch a glimpse of more frozen Franklin falls, Sai, Divya and I snowshoed to falls in the weekend after a recent snow storm which had closed the I-90 for few days. I had known about a short cut from the WHC group and wanted to try that this time. I was unsure if there would be anyone on this trail, so I was skeptical. We parked at Snoqualmie West Summit Parking and lot and started with snowshoes. It was a clear morning and the groomed trails of ski area, blue skies and surrounding snow covered mountains looked soothing for the eyes. The trail was in deep snow and snowshoes helped a lot. There were a few with just the boots and we could clearly see them struggling. Fortunately for us there were snowshoers ahead and they had broken the trail for us. We reached the waterfalls pretty quickly and we were taken aback by its beauty immediately. The most surprising part was that we had the whole area for ourselves except 2 climbers who were attempting to scale the icicles. The falls was not completely frozen and we could see a big stream of water coming underneath the ice. The mostly frozen waterfalls, cliffs decorated with icicles and small flat area in-front was all stunning and we had a very nice time. Slowly more snowshoers and climbers started pouring in and then snow poured us on too. We were in complete snowfall all the way back and the surroundings were still amazing. The shortcut was really worth it and we had covered the distance pretty fast.