Jarred and I were both born and raised in Oklahoma. We’re talking rural, as far as the eye can see, farmland type of Oklahoma. Needless to say, hiking was not a hobby that occupied our free time. It wasn’t until our second visit to Seattle a little less than two years ago that we actually hiked for the first time. We were instantly hooked and had multiple conversations following about how fortunate people that resided in these areas were. Since the locations in Oklahoma that one can hike are few and far between we sadly had to keep our hiking excursions limited to our anniversary trips. Thankfully now that we’re living in a region dominated by mountain ranges our yearly hiking trips can (and have) become much more frequent.
We had the intention of hiking to Snow Lake on our first adventure. We took our time sleeping in, picking up Kelsey, and grabbing lunch before we even started our endeavor. We inched onto the interstate only to be met by a web of red lines on Apple maps. It was immediately obvious that hitting snooze might not have been the best plan of action. After moving 20 miles in two hours and basically putting the car into park on the main street of North Bend, we knew the possibility of traveling 27 additional miles and trekking 8 miles all before dark was minimal at best. Kelsey opened up the app AllTrails (if you like to hike and don’t have it, do yourself a favor and download it now) and located a much shorter hike less than a mile from where we were sandwiched bumper to bumper. Three votes to zero determined that our new destination was Twin Falls Trail.
We made it to the vantage point of the falls, but thought that the trail continued uphill. We traversed for a while without seeing any additional hikers and realized from the roar of traffic that we were in close proximity to the interstate so we decided to head back. A couple minutes after we had reversed our course we ran into some people. We inquired as to what was ahead if you continued and the response we received was basically nothing. We were happy with our decision to turn around and even advised a family further down to follow suit.
Thanks to our tour guide, as we ventured down the trail we abandoned the beaten path and opted for some spider monkey maneuvers to achieve the optimal viewing platform of the falls – a boulder positioned in the middle of the water. We enjoyed the view, rehydrated and munched on blueberries before finishing the remainder of the hike. On the journey home we stopped in Issaquah at The Black Duck Gastropub to replenish any calories we had lost.
The following Saturday we executed our game plans much more successfully. We snagged Kelsey and her two friends, Maddy and Courtney, by eight in the morning and were parked at Snow Lake a little before nine. When we stepped out of the 4Runner and were greeted by the crisp 50 – degree weather our apparel choices no longer seemed fitting. However, the first ten minutes of our initial ascent left our entire entourage short-winded and sweating. Thankfully the trail leveled off a bit, which enabled us to catch our breaths, discard our thin outer layers and continue uphill.
On the trail Maddy spotted some wild raspberry bushes and immediately started to indulge. I, on the other hand, kept my distance. Everyone knows you can’t just go around eating poisonous berries from the wild. As we continued to climb the views were breathtaking; the only problem being that it was next to impossible to enjoy the scenery, as one wrong step on the rocky ledges would result in a very painful tumble. For the most part we kept our eyes fixed on our laces for the remainder of the four miles it took to reach the lake.
From the very first glimpse of Snow Lake we knew that every step uphill had been worth it. Even though pictures could never do it justice, I immediately eyed the prime location for all of our spontaneous (read: super staged) photo opps. The one hindrance between all my photography dreams and me were two ladies enjoying the world’s longest lunch on top of said location. We wrongfully assumed the ladies would meander on soon and decided to feast on our packed lunches in the interim.
With our food devoured and the ladies still enjoying their sweet time photobombing our pictures, Kelsey and Maddy kindly asked the women to move momentarily. Good things come to those who wait (or politely ask any obstructions to relocate) and we were able to successfully document our time spent enjoying Snow Lake. My prime photo locale did not disappoint.
As we descended back the four miles we had previously traipsed it was obvious we made a wise choice beginning our journey early in the morning. Not only was it over 70 degrees, but the trail was also lined with hikers en route to the lake. I should also add that when we passed the raspberry bushes for the second time, I did nibble on one. I figured if everyone else (excluding Jarred) in our party was still standing after ingesting the fruit, it must be safe to consume. Thankfully my assumptions were correct.
We stopped at the Rouge Brewhouse in Issaquah to refuel after hiking close to nine miles. During our recuperating session Maddy had us in tears we were laughing so hard as she retold the story of the first (and I’m hoping only) time she told an elderly lady to “shut up” after barging in on the woman during her bath. I wish I had time to explain that hilarious story in length, but I’m thinking Maddy needs to make a guest appearance in the future to explain that one herself. As we exited “Rouge Nation” we didn’t do so empty-handed. Jarred is now the proud, card-carrying citizen of this fine organization. To be determined if membership has its perks.