Sep 30, 2006

Another Snoqualmie Valley Trail hike

This was a short hike with my two sons (ages 1.5 and 5) simply enjoying the trail between the Snoqualmie trailhead and the Tokul Creek bridge. On a fall day, with the leaves turning color but still on trees, this was simply an awesome walk. We wandered on some nicely groomed side trails today, and didn't realize there were as many side trails that lead to side trails that lead to side trails. Many a choice, and even though the trailhead to the bridge only measures a half a mile, we spent three hours exploring the side trails. The boys had a lot of fun, and every junction turned into a five minute debate on where to go.

As for Tokul Creek, we took the time to enjoy the views today (last time I was on my bike and didn't really take time to appreciate where we were). We walked to the center, dead above the creek below, and checked out the view from both sides of the bridge. Unbelievable. The creek runs through a gorgeous assortment of rocks and trees about 150 feet below the bridge, and the way the bridge is constructed you literally can look straight down (they have a gap between the walkway and fence). Definitely not for those afraid of heights, but I'm not sure I've seen a better view in the valley. Time of year had an impact for sure.

I highly recommend this trail between Snoqualmie and Fall City. Just amazing how it winds through the hills. Oh yeah, a warning... the Snoqualmie Valley Gun Club is below the trail in the valley, so hearing LOUD gunfire is normal :)

Sep 17, 2006

Favorite Summer Hikes in Snoqualmie

Ok, now that fall is here (at least weather-wise), time to recap the best family summer hikes in the Snoqualmie area.

Number 5: RattleSnake Ledge

Take a 1200+ elevation gain, two mile hike up to Rattlesnake Ledge for amazing views of the Snoqualmie Valley. Then enjoy a refreshing dip in Rattlesnake Lake. Great combination, and the large lake leaves plenty of space for

Number 4: Franklin Falls

This is a nice 1.1 mile hike from the trailhead, bringing you to the base of Franklin Falls where you can enjoy the mist from the falls or even pass under the falls.

Number 3: Snoqualmie Falls

Here you hike down to the base of the falls, an elevation change of 650 ft or so.

Number 2: Twin Falls

I like this hike because it starts off right along the Snoqualmie River, to the point where kids, and adults, can play in the river and refill water bottles. It then proceeds through a well groomed trail to the Twin Falls area with great views.

Number 1: Denny Creek Slippery Slab

This is a no-brainer - easily the best place in the summer for a hike. Our kids now ask for it by name!

Sep 16, 2006

Jak's Restaurant in Issaquah

What is a post about a restaurant doing in a hiking blog? Good question. With the popularity of this blog I've decided to expand into reviews of other things in the Snoqualmie Valley.

For example, for the last year or so Amy and I have been on a quest for a good steak place, something that is commonplace in Chicago (to the extent that we never did hit all the good steak joints). Ruth's Chris was the best we could find, and frankly as a "great" steak place Ruth's Chris doesn't impress me. Good stuff, but overpriced.

One of our friends recommended Jak's in Issaquah, but warned us of the notorious long waits. A couple months ago on our anniversary (it fell on a Thursday), Amy and I decided to give it a try. Wow, were we so not disappointed.

Funny, it took us three trips around the bring to actually find the place. It is as close to as a hole in the wall as you can get. I'd be surprised if there were 15 tables there (a few of them 2 seaters), and you can maybe fit 8 people at the bar. No wonder there are long waits.

But the steak was amazing. As good as the Chicago chop houses for sure. And the sides, which is how Chicago chop houses differentiate themselves, were outstanding as well. The potato pancakes are their specialty.

Service was outstanding as well. When we were told it would be a half hour wait, Amy and I headed down the block to a watering hole. 10 minutes later, the waitress was asking us if we were the Reagan party - Jak's had called and told us our table was ready. Pretty obvious that watering hole does a lot of business with Jak's waiting list.

Can't wait to get back. I've tried the Metropolitan Grill in downtown Seattle, and Jak's beats it hands down.

Sep 4, 2006

Rattlesnake Ledge

Rattlesnake Ledge overlooks Rattlesnake Lake, North Bend, and the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River. It is essentially the west end of Rattlesnake Mountain.

You can hike to the ledge from Rattlesnake Lake (Exit 32 off I-90). The trail is about 1.5 miles long, with an elevation gain of about 1200 feet. The trail is well groomed, and is kid-friendly. On this Labor Day afternoon it was quite busy as well!

Rattlesnake Ledge itself is quite expansive, with plenty of room to accomodate numerous hikers. It provides a great view of North Bend and Rattlesnake Lake, as well as a great eastward view of the Snoqualmie Valley and Cascade Mountains.

North Bend as seen from Rattlesnake Ledge.

Rattlesnake Lake as seen from Rattlesnake Ledge.

Spencer loved the huge rocks on the hike up!

Denny Creek Slippery Slab, Redux

Spent Saturday late morning and early afternoon at the Denny Creek Slippery Slab, located just west of Snoqualmie Pass at I-90 exit 47. Spencer (our 5 year old) is asking for this hike by name now, so we obliged.

Water level was down a little, but not so much so that the water slide couldn't be enjoyed. And it was surpringly cold when we got there. We left Snoqualmie Ridge at 10am and 80 degrees, and when we arrived in Snoqualmie Pass it was 62 degrees. It is September, and the weather is clearly changing. It did warm up during the day, but I don't think it ever hit 70 degrees there.

Since it was our second trip I took Garrett and we headed upstream and explored further. Denny Creek, at the "Slippery Slab," is easily traversable. While Garrett (20 months) struggled with the water slide, he loved taking on the waterbed and climbing through the creek. The little rocks were obstacles to be conquered, and he had a blast.

No pictures this time, as we left our camera in the car.