Getting Kids Out Into Nature

Bridal Veil Falls Hike

On the Trail

My friend “Quark” asked me earlier this week if I’d like to come with her to the Open House at the Skykomish Ranger Station on Friday afternoon.  I was glad to, especially if we could do a hike first.  Neither of us had been to Bridal Veil Falls, and I thought the kids could do it, so off we went.

We got off to a slow start – Gabriel put his hiking boots on this morning and they were too small.  They seemed to fit OK last week, but they were definitely too small today.  So we made a quick stop at Fred Meyer to pick him up some boots.  Thankfully Quark was patient with us as we dealt with this.  We left Lynnwood about 9:30 and were at the trailhead around 11:00.  We were packed up and ready to go before 11:30.  I am getting faster with this part!

The trail starts up a wide old road.  It gradually gets narrower and rockier over the course of the hike.  The last half-mile is rough, rocky and steep.

Easy Stream Crossing

There are several stream crossings along the way.  They range from simple to rough, and include a scary bridge with no hand rails.

Scary Bridge

It got my heart pumping going down, but it wasn’t so bad coming back on it.  A fall on this one would be bad for a child; I suspect later in the year it is possible to cross the stream down below when the water is lower.  The upper stream crossings require navigating onto rocks, but the kids did fine.

Rocky Stream Crossing

We really enjoyed how lush and green the forest is.  Moss is everywhere, and there are somehow still big trees left in this forest (plus lots of big old stumps from logging days).  We heard winter wrens, varied thrushes, Swainson’s thrushes, and others.  Lots of little flowers are in bloom along the trail.

Pretty Yellow Violet

I found photography tricky in the dark light of the forest canopy.  It seemed a long slog up to the waterfalls (2 ½ hours to do the 2 1/4 miles), but it only took about half as long coming down.  Part of the slowness was because Annika kept wanting to show off to Quark how she could jump backwards on one foot and balance on one foot.  She laid down little sticks to help her get over puddles, and picked up sticks, rocks, and looked at flowers and leaves.  Annika sure loves Quark, though, and wanted to hold her hand as much as she could.  Meanwhile, Gabriel took the lead the whole way up.

Bridal Veil Falls

The falls were amazing – mist blowing off and into our faces, rushing, crashing water coming down off the cliffs.  They were breathtaking, and totally worth the last half mile of struggle.  Our only disappointment was that we couldn’t spend more time at the falls; it was too wet and cold up there.  I was glad we had packed our rain coats and warm gloves, because the kids especially got chilled in the mist.  Poor Gabriel had a hard time on the descent; his legs were pretty tired and shaky.  Annika got her second wind, though, and took the lead the whole way down.  I got to hold hands with my little guy and have some nice conversation.  I don’t know how much longer he’ll want to hold my hand, so that was pretty special.

We were passed by several folks on the way up and down, but had lots of time to ourselves.  I’m so glad we did this hike – and can I just say how proud I am of my kids?  They conquered some tough territory and put in the miles.

After our hike we drove on up to Skykomish to the ranger station to catch the end of the open house.  Quark knew some folks there, and we poked around the booths.  The best part was the kids getting to try out the crosscut saw.

Gabriel wields the crosscut saw

They each were able to help cut a section of a log, and were given hard hats to wear while doing it.  The rangers even let them take their tree cookies home.  They were so proud.  I’m amazed they had the energy to stick with it after such a long hike.  We missed Smokey Bear, but the sun came

Annika cuts a log

out for the first time while we were there.

This is a beautiful trail, and I look forward to checking out Serene Lake in the future.  I’m glad I waited till my kids are these ages before I brought them on this hike.  The roughness and length would have been too much last year.  I already am dreaming about what else we might attempt this season.

Trip Stats: 4.4 miles, 1000 feet elevation gain

 

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