It’s fall! I hate this season. Yeah, I know, everybody else seems to love it, but I get all maudlin about the dying year. I hate the days getting shorter, the return of endless rain, all the deciduous trees and plants becoming skeletons, the endless pumpkin nonsense… yeah, killjoy, I know. I didn’t even like it in Arizona, when it basically meant the Peaks would be dusted with snow and it would finally drop below blast furnace temps in Phoenix. I’m just not a fall person.
But I do like the brilliant colors of the turning leaves. And I bloody adore Halloween. So there’s that.
Anyway. I’m trying to take advantage of every rare good day we get, and B and I lucked out tremendously. We hadn’t had a chance to actually go out and do anything since his new job started, but this time, he happened to have a day off on one of our few remaining spectacular days, and I was also free, so we hopped in the car and headed over the Cascades to Leavenworth. Just outside of Leavenworth, Icicle Creek plunges through a spectacular gorge cut into the Chiwaukum Schist. There’s a lovely loop trail that winds around and into the gorge, crosses two bridges, and presents a lot of interesting variety along the way. You get creek views, mountain views, forests, bogs, and all sorts of things! There’s even maclargehuge Ponderosa pines, which makes this former Flagstaff, AZ girl happy.
We’d mis-remembered the length of the trail, so it took us a lot longer than we expected. The loop is four miles. Keep that in mind if you ever go. They’re four easy miles, but four miles nonetheless, and if you go there expecting a brisk walk before lunch, you’ll end wishing you’d at least had a snack first!
But oh, the fall. The color. So worth it!
The creek is quite low right now, too, so there are lots of delicious views of the lovely rock. Most of it’s schist, but there’s also plenty of gneiss, and I think some regular ol’ granitic stuff. I didn’t get down to really get my nose in the cobbles because we were there for three things: walkies, views, and some garnet mica schist for this season’s Holy Schist haul. We’ll have plenty on hand for your holiday gifting needs! It’s just unholy schist at the moment.
We took the trail counterclockwise this time. It took us a while to progress because I kept finding garnet-bearing rocks in the trail, and some of them were lovely, and I had to get my nose all in them, and well. But when I did look up, the views were magnificent.
Even down in the water, autumn leaves left a splash of color. Here the rushing stream has plastered yellow and red ones to a submerged stick. It didn’t look natural at first!
And the leaves also ended up artfully draped over the rocks. Seeing as how we’re in to rocks here, I took you a picture.
Love that wee waterfall, too!
As we came up the trail on the opposite bank, we could look across and see the trees that love getting their feet wet changing color. Here’s two that have gone in for some pretty wild kinks and curves in their trunks.
It wasn’t just trees turning. Here are some lovely little plants blazing red on the down-low.
And no, you really shouldn’t ask me what anything is. I have no idea.
On the other side, you pass through a bit where a lot of trees have blown down, but it’s still very enclosed under the canopy, and these little delights fan out all over the place.
I’m relatively sure they’re a maple of some sort. Just gorgeous.
We at last reached the bridge, where there is schist to die for but not much fall color, and lingered there a bit before returning to the parking lot, where there’s this amazing vista:
Do you see how amazing that day was? We’ve never been there on such a lovely day. It was like magic.
And then, driving back, we kept stopping to get even moar fall colors, even though we were starved. There was no cloud cover, no snow on the peaks, and they stood out in all their jagged glory, with streams of yellow nestled in their flanks.
Oh, yes, that is definitely the schist!
We finally made it into Leavenworth, where it took us forever to find a place to eat because the downtown restaurant we wanted to go to was inaccessible due to endless mobs of festival-goers. We finally ended up having pizza on the outskirts of town. Rudloof’s Pizza und Brats provided us our last bit of fall color:
If you’ve not had enough fall color yet, there’s plenty more at my Flickr page. Yes, I went a little wild out there. Mostly for you, my darlings!