Exactly one week (one hour off) after arriving at the Boulder River trailhead a nearby hillside gave way, inundating a neighbourhood and closing the highway we drove on indefinitely. Last week I mentioned all the rain we have recently had more than a few times, including how soggy the soil was. Soggy soil on an incline can easily become unstable, so it’s not at all surprising there was a large mudslide in this area. I feel extremely lucky to have chosen that hike when I did and it is very humbling to know that I might not be here talking to you now if we had gone one week later…
The weekend of the landslide I chose to instead go east rather than north, back toward Mount Si and the waterfalls currently raging down its flanks. After a quick search on the Washington Trails Association website I settled on the 6 mile roundtrip Teneriffe Falls trail.
Most of the trail parallels a creek with drop after picturesque drop all along the way. The picture above was the first shot of the day, and I knew right off the bat it was going to be my favourite. The lighting was just brilliant, with splotches of sun finding their way through the billowing clouds above to illuminate key segments of the river.
We thought we had reached the main cascade when we saw the drop above, but after walking down to the water and looking upstream we saw at least three more levels, each larger than the one directly below it. The waterfall was HUGE and eventually merged with the sky from our vantage point.
Teneriffe Falls (or Kamikaze Falls) is actually a series of cascades over 400ft tall, with the largest single drop half that height (seen above). The main waterfall had a fallen tree resting in the centre, which upon first look appears to be a normal sized trunk. Boy was I wrong after approaching the end. It must have been 6ft wide at the base and at least 60ft long, but the distortion caused by the lens and camera angle makes it hard to tell for sure.
Regardless of its exact size, the scale of the tree and waterfall did serve as a reminder of the sheer power water and gravity have when in combination. It wasn’t until a day or two later when I found out about the mudslide and this fact hit home once again. So, try to be mindful of recent weather patterns when you go out hiking, especially on wet slopes after significant rains. I know I’ll be paying more attention in the new few weeks.
Photos taken 22 March 2014 with a Nikon D7100