scenes from the pratt river trail

This will probably be my last post about the Pratt River Trail (Sunday’s rain is a distant memory, with sunny skies in Seattle for the next five days) so I thought I’d fill it to the brim with a bunch of pictures to share. There are a lot of beautiful places along the Pratt River Trail- from the Gateway Bridge to the Pratt River Valley- but my personal favorite spot is where the trail crosses Rainy Creek. I’d love to come back here when I’m by myself so I can really concentrate and even bushwhack up the creek a little ways…..maybe find some unique falls to shoot. This is a 5-second exposure with my 6 stop ND filter on a 16-35 mm Nikkor. It’s the north side of the bridge.

Aside from the MFK Snoqualmie, Rainy Creek is the only major water feature along the new Pratt River Trail. There are lots of trickles and gushes that probably dry up by July. Of course, there’s this little ribbon of white up high…….you see it shortly before you arrive where the newly constructed trail merges with ankle-twisting old roadbed (what I assume was built for the narrow gauge log trucks of yore). Though I only shot this with a 24-70 lens, the mountainside in the view below is a lot higher up than it looks. I wonder if it would be worth it to bushwhack up there and find a scenic perspective of the falls to shoot? I’m not sure where it crossed the trail, I kept waiting for us to come to a fast-moving stream but it never materialized. It’s possible it peters out in some boggy areas above, as hereabouts the terrain flattens out a little between the trail and the mountainside. And we did pass some swampy pools.

This is Adam on a scenic section of trail that was blasted out of the mountainside. There’s an awful lot of granite hidden under the forest duff. I felt comfortable letting him hike ahead, the trail is nice and wide. I still admonished him to stay on the inside of the path. Frankly, I was feeling a little bolder after all the cliffs on the Eagle Creek trail down in the Columbia River Gorge……but I’m still quite extreme in my risk management when Adam and I are hiking and there are cliffs involved. Adam’s more trustworthy than most five year olds, but this is the boy who knocked his own front tooth out jumping backwards.

I think this view really represents why I like the new Pratt River Trail so much. Frankly, I liked these places a lot along the trail, with filtered looks at the river and mountains.

And here is another view of Rainy Creek, this time with a very orange footbridge. It’s a shocking sight when you round the corner, haha! Hopefully it will stand the test of time. As you hike along the trail you can still see Rainy Creek below snaking through the woods as it prepares to enter the MFK Snoqualmie, and it looks like a real mess in some places as far as past flooding debris is concerned.

bridge over Rainy Creek

At Rainy Creek I tried to focus for some thoughtful compositions with my ND filters on, but it was just too hard having Adam with me. Don’t get me wrong, he was incredibly patient. But between peering back at him every five seconds and trying to stand as still as possible on the bridge so as not to cause any vibration on the bridge for my long exposures, I stuck with a few predictable angles….

Earlier in the day, we’d eaten lunch beside the MFK Snoqualmie in a drizzly downpour. I sacrificed myself for Adam and held the umbrella aloft while my blue jeans got soaked. The pink umbrella was courtesy of Grandma! I used it most of the time (I forgot my rain hat at home) except when the rain would stop and Adam asked to use it as a light saber. I feel bad because we gave the umbrella back to Grandma really muddy…..while I was shooting at Rainy Creek, Adam was splashing in a mud puddle and a lot of mud drops ended up on her Barbie rain gear. Speaking of which, Adam got in trouble at preschool today for laughing at another boy who was wearing a pink jacket. Yes, the same boy who keeps insisting on getting his own dresses and tights got in trouble for disparaging pink. Proving perhaps he really does just recognize fashion faux pas….

I wanted to show his new front-tooth gap here but it doesn’t really show.

Did I mention this trail can get mossy? I don’t know what it is, but Adam reminds me of an elf here. He inherited his big ears from his mama.

Here’s Adam traversing a switchback. There’s only one section on the entire trail that loses/gains a fair amount of elevation all at once and this is it.  The trees are really close together in here because they’re second or third growth. Every once in a while you’ll spot a humongous stump in the woods that serves as a reminder of what these woods must have been like in their primeval state.

And finally, I thought I’d share a couple pictures from this interesting section of the trail. Thankfully, there isn’t a lot of over-engineering on this new trail but this is one place where the path-builders installed some more features, presumably because of the potential for very erosive effects. On the left is a magnificent bulkhead of rock towering above like it may be the entrance to an underground fortress of trolls. And there’s a really cool cave next to these stairs! I didn’t take a picture of it at the time because it was raining so hard (don’t let the dappled sun in the trees fool you) and I would’ve had to point the camera straight up into the mist. There’s some sheaves of rock that look like they could come down anytime, too. And I didn’t want to get too close in case any trolls were standing guard.

I thought it was stunning how this tree chose to become part of the bulkhead of granite.

2 thoughts on “scenes from the pratt river trail

  1. Wow, great pictures Jason! I really enjoy all these scenes from the trail – you’ve done a great job documenting your hike!

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