Tag Archives: Waterfalls

Big Four Ice Caves 06/19/2014

Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-1Day two of Blunami’s visit to my little corner of the country and I thought we would go on a hike somewhere that is unlike anything she has down in the land of beige.  So, we went to Big Four Ice Caves.
Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-4Even without the caves, it is a beautiful hike.  Old growth with windfalls, towering skeletons and lush growth.
Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-5You have to stand in awe of a storm that can rip a tree out of the ground of this size and just lay it down.
Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-7And to get a sense of just how big it is. . . . . .
Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-11And the Road is Long, with Many a Winding Turn . . . . . . lalalalalalalala!
Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-16And pretty skunk cabbages all in a row!
Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-21A peek at one of the surrounding mountains.  And no, I don’t know the names of the various mountains.  That’s on my to learn list. So rest assured, there will not be a quiz at the end.
Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-30So, it begs the question.  If you fold it just right, could a body be stashed here???
Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-46I am relatively certain that the plant on the left is wild ginger.  But, since I am not 100% certain, there will not be a quiz on this one either.
Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-49And you though it was all in the minds and imaginations of people like the Grimm Brothers to come up with a haunted forest populated by laughing evil trees.  Well, it actually was.  But, many of us understand that such tales are cautionary tales that have their foundation in reality.  Or at least the perception of reality that exists after a night of drinking ale and whiskey and passing out on the forest floor where you wake up to this hovering over your body.  (Makes you want to rethink that next drink, doesn’t it?)
Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-54Never fear!  For just a short way down the trail is this nice tree offering a safe haven from the evil flesh rending tree that was laughing at your pitiful countenance.
 Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-56The lesson to be learned from these beautiful evil darlings is that when you see them first coming up from the ground to always check and realize they are NOT dandelions.  Though their leaves can somewhat resemble them, they are NOT.  Do NOT with your bare hands attempt to extract them from the ground.  They will embed their little prickles into you as badly as will nettles.  They will show up everywhere, even in cracks in the cement where they are especially difficult to remove. Other than that, they are just beautiful throughout their entire life cycle to photograph.  Which is probably why I have left one monster plant growing in my back yard.
I just liked the way it split three ways.Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-57
Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-97One of the surrounding hills when you reach the clearing to the Ice Caves.  As opposed to a desert island, its more like a desert hilltop.
Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-99And here we have the Emerald Palace.  Doesn’t it just look like a castle made of trees sitting up there.  Or it could be trees imitating Meerkats looking out over the valley.
The clouds make this hike so much prettier! Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-62
And for that Timeless Look!Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-66
Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-70Now, how cool is that?  A coffin shaped stone and it was even covered with some dirt.  It was a bit heavy to heft out of there, so we left it.  Who know, maybe someone would want to bury someone under it.
Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-74One of the fascinating things in this valley is the walls of sheer rocks with tiny waterfalls all along them.  These are also the source of the ice caves.  And the closer you get to these walls, the colder the air gets.  You might be wearing a tank top before entering the valley area, but you will be reaching for a bit more covering as you make your approach.
 Ooooh, Pretty!!!Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-77
Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-84I’m thinking she was a bit fascinated.  Alas, it was a bit early in the year for the true ooh-aah of the caves.  I now understand why we always went in the fall to these.  Guess Blu will have to come back then to see how wondrous they are!
The staircase of falls!Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-88
Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-91You can just feel the frigidness of the water falling down these steps
Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-94
 Just makes the breathing deeper when you look on scenes like this.  Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-165
Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-168You just have to be careful of the pacific gators hiding in the waters.  They tend to particularly like the skunk cabbage.  They find it hides their scent from the prey.
Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-110Pretty tiny purple flowers.  Yeah, I should identify them.  Maybe later.
Wild leaf day?Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-113
Beautiful Solomon’s Seal.  They are all over this trail.Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-119
Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-120
Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-121The winds ONLY stripped one side of the tree?
Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-126She almost looks reluctant to be heading back down the trail.  Guess she’s going to have to come back!
 Lonely little bell.Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-129
 Nature’s yo-yos!!!  Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-133
Queen’s cup, Bead LilyIce Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-135
Dance of the woodland ferns.Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-139
Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-141And in every crevice, you can find life taking up residence.
Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-144
Sweating tree mushrooms.  They form the most interesting shapes. Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-149
Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-154And then we have the infamous alpaca tree.  Legend has it that wild herds used to roam the hills till the white man came where they began to capture and tame them so they could sheer them of their soft piles to make socks for their tender feet.  But, they missed one, the king of the alpacas.  When they realized he had been missed, that his coat was rumored to be softer than that of any of the others, they set out on an expedition to find him.  The Spirit of the Forest felt they had taken enough and asked the Alpaca King if he wished to stay and become one with the forest.  He heartily agreed and was transformed just before they threw the net over him.  Well, they had no use for a moss-mop, so they took back their nets and he stand next to the trail to this day, mocking the passing humans for being outsmarted by an alpaca.  And once in a while, he has been known to spit on a passing human.  Though, it is generally one that doesn’t show sufficient respect for the forest.
Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-157Many a sacrificial victim has met its end at the maw of this ancient spirit of the forest by the little forest sylphs within.
Ice Caves with Blu 06-19-2014-161Okay, all together now – Oooohhhhh  – Aaaahhhh!!!Pretty!!


Franklin Falls 05/24/2014

Franklin Fals 05-24-2014-1So, we decided that a single falls hike was not enough for one day, so we added a second trail to the list.  I have never been to Franklin Falls, but it was a very nice, mellow low elevation hike.  We didn’t hit the trail at the beginning of it, because after driving halfway through the park area and not finding the trailhead, we went back out and asked at the ranger station.  They told us that we could park anywhere that there was a pullout and could see the trail and start there.  So, that’s what we did.  And that’s where I got my first shot from the trail.  Combination waterfall stream and snow stream.
Franklin Fals 05-24-2014-3There is something deeply amusing to me that one of the first blooms in the forest is the skunk cabbage.  This plant never ceases to amaze me.  The leaves are just massive, but it seems that they don’t get so very huge until after they have bloomed.  But, the blooms are just so unique.  I am guessing it only qualifies as a single petal that forms a hammock cup that shoots out what appears to be a corncob spathe on a stalk.
Franklin Fals 05-24-2014-7Love the mossy covered branches!!
Franklin Fals 05-24-2014-10And they take on a surreal look when you strip them of the color.
Franklin Fals 05-24-2014-11Seems like there may be more than one set of falls here.  This one is for the smallest of the fey creatures.  The dark crevices alongside are part of a complex network of pathways that weave through all areas of the forest for them to monitor the conditions.  Rumor has it that there are additional pathways that will spirit them to the neighboring forests and possibly all of them.  This has not been proven though.  The entrances of many of them are guarded by a particularly viscous sect of trolls whose teeth are not only barbed and sharp as razors, but also have a caustic bile in their mouths that can dissolve every known fabric.
Franklin Fals 05-24-2014-25Beware gifts offered by the spirits of the forests.  Especially if they are black and and the hand offering them is protruding straight up out of the ground.
Franklin Fals 05-24-2014-29 And for those that are wondering how they keep those little fairy outfits so clean and stain free, please observe the community washing stream.  It is equipped with old growth agitators, stone tumbling action and no need for water softeners with the patented pure glacier fed water system.
Franklin Fals 05-24-2014-37There were some issues between them before emerging from the ground.  Consequently, even though they were conjoined at the hip, they stubbornly stared of into other directions.
Franklin Fals 05-24-2014-40Tiny bells, ringing in the forest.  Tiny bells, ringing through the silence.  Tiny bells, sounding just like Yuletide.  Tiny bells, ringing wings onto fairies.
Franklin Fals 05-24-2014-49Rounding the corner, we find the little alcove where much panning for gold, or silver, or maybe it was agates.  Well, they didn’t have much luck till they got back into town where they opened up a store to sell off their tools to the burly men heading up to Alaska where for a small additional sum, they included a map to the homestead where it is reputed that you can see Russia from the back porch.
Franklin Fals 05-24-2014-62Ahhh, a quartet of skunk blossoms.  Just looking at that lovely shiny petal and cob-like center, you are certain they will work so well with any of a number of those recipes you were looking at in that new cookbook over the weekend.
Franklin Fals 05-24-2014-70This is what is known as a forest ruins.  All that is left is a mere shell of what was once a majestic tree.  However, unlike the ruins of humans, life still prevails in the ruins of the forest.  Look closely and you will see the dripping hills of moss, the ferns peeking from the crumbling bark.  Tiny insects make it their very own gingerbread tree house that they will live in and eat their way through.  Its a termite foodie wet dream!
Franklin Fals 05-24-2014-73Nature reclaims all.  From the death and ruins of even the skeletal remains of a tree, there emerges new life.
Franklin Fals 05-24-2014-83And for those that were wondering what ever became of Ratatoskr?  Well, he made a wrong turn and found himself in the PNW forests where he foolishly attempted to convert the heathenish fairies that inhabit these lands.  They laughed at him and called him names, such as squirrel-zipper-nut-catcher.  Well, he couldn’t resist reacting with the anger the Norse are known for and raced up and down the trees spewing threats of calling down the anger of his gods till he ceased to be an entertainment and moved into annoyance  On his next scurry up a tree, he was caught by the sap and by the next morning had been sucked into the bark, an eternal warning to any who came upon him that one should use caution in dealings with the spirits in the trees.
Franklin Fals 05-24-2014-80The guardians of the forest.  They were here before you came.  They will persist after you have gone.  Just walk up to one of these Golliaths and breath in its magnitude.  Quietly waiting, being, watching.  And you cannot but be filled with their soft peace when you stand next to them and breath in the spikey green of their perfume.
Franklin Fals 05-24-2014-106There she is!  First glimpse which brings a swift drop in temperature.  The slick rocks from the spray serve to hold back all but the most determined of the hikers.  Alas, my son was not wearing shoes that allowed him to count himself in their numbers.
Franklin Fals 05-24-2014-89Stripped of color, you can almost feel the chill of her presence.  The falling locks of the Ice Queen.
Franklin Fals 05-24-2014-110The truth is, it was very easy to convince me to go on a double hike given they both involved waterfalls.  Its yet another of those things that my son and I share in common.  Our love of falls.  He has always been my favorite running around with buddy.  That hasn’t changed.  He still is.
Just stunning!Franklin Fals 05-24-2014-113
Franklin Fals 05-24-2014-116Oh my!  There’s a lady in this falls too!  A bit heavier than the one at Boulder River.  And she might be expecting.
Yup, she’s still there!Franklin Fals 05-24-2014-118
Franklin Fals 05-24-2014-124And a rather surprised little monster at the base of the rotted trunk.  Okay, I have a wild imagination, but you can see it there.  Two eyes over the gaping mouth!  He’s kinda cute, don’t you think?
Franklin Fals 05-24-2014-127This IS my idea of worship.  I don’t know that I believe any of the Gods really exist, but if any of them do its not in a building you will find them. Its in “this” that they will call any earthly home.
Franklin Fals 05-24-2014-138And there he is!  That’s my son!  Geek to the core.  Even wears his Google goggles out on the trails.  But, at least he is mostly able to tune out the outside world and enjoy the woods.  I did really good.  He is a success in his life and doesn’t work himself into a grave doing it.  He makes sure he enjoys life.  And not waiting to do so.  I am proud.  And I still don’t know what I did to deserve such an amazing son.
Franklin Fals 05-24-2014-148Just cuz it was cool looking.  That’s why!
Franklin Fals 05-24-2014-153Love these mushrooms!  Sometimes they can get absolutely HUGE!  Of course, the tree is generally dead that they are on.  I’m not sure if they grow on dead trees or kill the trees.
Franklin Fals 05-24-2014-155You can just hear the tunes from Little Shop of Horrors playing in your head as you look on it.  Maybe that’s what sucked the squirrel into the bark.
Franklin Fals 05-24-2014-160Black branches stretching out from the trunk like dark lightening issuing from the depths of the tree.
Reclaiming as nature always does.  Nurse trees on a fallen mother.Franklin Fals 05-24-2014-163
Franklin Fals 05-24-2014-179And yes folks, that is indeed snow at the end of May.  We almost forgot to stop and get a few shots of that on the way out.  Luckily, we didn’t have to walk back too far when we found a place to park.
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