Riding the Iron Horse Trail

I took 90 pictures on Sunday’s hike along a converted railway line, so this post will be largely photo based.

Si_ghting

Mount Si reaches into the clouds

The appropriately named Iron Horse Trail travels through (and under) the Cascades and ends in Eastern Washington.  In my research I learned there is a 2.3 mile long tunnel under Snoqualmie Pass that you can now walk/bike though, while will be a future hike I am eagerly awaiting.  This trip didn’t get me quite that far along the trail, as I only did a 5 mile section plus a spur trail down to Twin Falls State Park, for a total just over 10 miles.

Undergrowth

Undergrowth shinning in a rare sunbeam

I admit I didn’t comprehend the meaning of the name until I parked at the trailhead, even though I knew it was an old railway it just didn’t click that the “Iron Horse” was the train engine.  The evidence of the trails history is everywhere… trusses and old stops have been maintained for the use of the hikers and make for some unique pictures.

Truss

An old bridge glad the trains are gone

Ragnar

Railroad ties at Ragnar

As this is a rail grade it is very easy to hike and bike on, with minimal elevation gain.  The trail seems to get a good amount of use, which it can easily handle due to its width.  Bikers whizzed by with ease while a constant stream of bedraggled ultra marathon runners plodded past (there was a regional race Sunday).

Runners

Ultra runners on the rail trail

Road

The rail-bed

The weather was misty almost all day, with 15 minutes of heavy rain and hail at the halfway point.  I had just pulled out my camera to take pictures at upper Twin Falls when the downburst hit.  I ran for cover, waiting out the storm in an idyllic setting amongst the trees.

Stream

Winding stream and greenery

Gully

Looking into the gully

As the weather began to clear I tentatively ventured further along the trail, not satisfied with the waterfalls I had already found.  Around the bend and down a flight of soggy stairs I was not to be disappointed…

TwinFalls

The true Twin Falls

The brief storm provided me some solitude, so I ate lunch and took a myriad of pictures of a strange tree.  It looked like some huge reptile/Ent emerging from the ground beneath a boulder, its roots grasping for any sort of leverage.  The following shot was my favourite of the lot.

Emerging

A tree crawls out from hiding

I took my time on the way back, exploring any side trail I found, including a few flowering plants with an amazing view over a dappled forest canopy.

Valley

New growth shinning all around

Flowering

The best of the few flowering plants

This is a great hike for those days when the April showers won’t leave us alone.  Mountains visible at times with clouds swirling around and over them, exploring the history of the Milwaukee Road, cheering extreme runners on as they passed, seeing some stunning waterfalls, and soaking up as much sun as possible when the clouds broke.  All in a day’s walk.

Puddle

Impact in action

CloudyPeak

Mists swirl around the cedars

Photos taken 27 April, 2014 with a Nikon D7100

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