J and I started the new year with an early hike to Cherry Creek Falls. I enjoyed the drive through Duvall and its bucolic meadows and farms. There were disused barns made up of old and rotten wood, with gaping holes where planks were missing. Other barns were new and massive, walls and roofing in vibrant colors. Brown horses nibbled grass, staying warm in their quilted blue turnout blankets. In the Duvall/Carnation area, there is a lot of wide open acreage. So the area hosts obstacle races and mud runs, which are rather trendy right now.
The hike was relatively easy, only 6 miles round trip with 500 ft. elevation gain. The trail was wide and well-maintained. There were multiple forks, but it was always clear which trail was the main path.
The forest was so green. Trees were covered in emerald moss and the ground was carpeted by ferns. Sun filtered through trees and light fog to provide a warm, diffuse glow.
Near the beginning, we passed by the silver chassis of a car, and I was surprised that a car could crash so deep in the woods. But then I thought about it some more, and the roads in Duvall are winding and shaded, so black ice could form easily. And King County doesn’t salt its roads and is slow to clear snow and does not have the equipment nor the budget for winter conditions compared to, say, Chicago. And when there’s only an inch of snow, everyone works from home because snow drifts form at the bases of hills, and vehicles on inclines get trapped or uncontrollably slide down snow and ice. And it seems whenever it rains or snows, there are many car accidents and commute times become ridiculous, and so perhaps it is not so surprising to see a car wreck in the middle of a forest. Towards the end of the hike, we passed by yet another car wreck, this one more intact. The car is facing the hiking trail, and the trail actually curves around the car. The car still has its yellow shell and brown leather seats. Someone drew graffiti on a seat. The shell was rusting with brown circles on its doors, giving the appearance of bullet holes.
We had to cross multiple streams and large puddles, and only one crossing had a bridge. For the others, we used stepping stones and fallen branches to make our way across and stay dry. There was one creek that was raging from the winter snow melt, and we knew there would be no way to cross without getting our legs soaked, but luckily, there was a downed log by the trail.
The falls were beautiful, three wide cascades feeding into calm waters. It would be a great place to swim in the summer.