12/20/2008: Deception Falls

I’ll begin my blog with a recap of a trip yesterday. For the better part of the last week, the whole Puget Sound has been firmly gripped in unusually cold weather intermixed with snowstorms. I just haven’t been able to get out to take photos the previous several weeks so I was itching to get out. Saturday’s forecast was for sunny skies, changing in the afternoon so I decided to make a go of it. I decided to go not too far so I headed out Highway 2 towards Stevens Pass.

My original plan was to stop at the Heybrook Ridge lookout trail followed by a stop further east at Deception Falls. I got a late start to the day but skies were clear and cold- 15 degrees on my way through Sultan. Around Gold Bar, the forecasted strong eastern winds made their appearance. The Heybrook lookout is located near the Snohomish / King County, just east of the turnoff for the town of Index. It offers a commanding view of the Skykomish River valley, Mount Index, and Baring Mountain.

As luck would have it, the parking area for the trailhead was covered with 2 feet of snow and not an option. I moved on to Plan B and out to Deception Falls. I’ve only visited the falls twice and those visits were during the last 2 months. Sadly, due to funding issues, the Forest Service seems to only open the parking lot during the peak part of the summer. Winter is no different and finding someplace close to park is even more of a challenge.

I settle on a small pullout about a half mile west of the falls and hiked along the busy highway. The parking lot and trails around the falls area had about 2 feet of powder so having the snowshoes with me was a great help. As I expected, the arrival of winter changed the entire dynamics of the falls. Here are the Upper Falls:

Upper Deception Falls

And the Lower Falls:

Lower Deception Falls

Downstream of the Lower Falls:

Downstream of lower falls

Downstream of lower falls (HDR photo)

Ice build-up where the Tye River makes a 90 degree turn:

Tye River's 90 degree turn