Willy's Outdoor Adventures

Just a Taiwanese-American blogging about his travels outdoors and occasionally about his thoughts on life.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Bavarian town Leavenworth in Washington

About two hours east of Seattle is the small town of Leavenworth. Partially inspired by Solvang in California, the town reinvented itself in the early 60's to take on a heavy Bavarian influence. Now, Leavenworth serves as a popular weekend getaway for both tourist and locals alike all throughout the year.


Home to the famous Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum, Leavenworth is a great place to visit because it's not too far from Seattle, there's tons of beautiful hikes to explore on the way there, and ample hiking and climbing opportunities once you're actually in town.

To get there, you can either take highway 90 or 2. Either option seems to take about the same amount of time.


Leavenworth truly is a small town. According to a 2016 census, the town has a population of just slightly under 2,000 people (1,994 inhabitants).

Originally established as a small timber community, Leavenworth headquartered the Great North Railroad in the early 1900. However, after the railroad relocated to the nearby town of Wenatchee, Leavenworth's economy collapsed. To save their economy, Leavenworth thus became a themed town to attract tourist.

Using the Danish-themed town Solvang in California as a guide, business men Ted Price and Bob Rodgers had to work to convince the Project LIFE (Leavenworth Improvement For Everyone) Committee that becoming a themed town was the best path forward towards saving Leavenworth's economy. As outsiders, their efforts often faced a lot of headwind from the locals. According to Pauline Watson:

“Small town merchants don’t want to be told what to do, and they don’t want to be told by somebody from out of town. ... You folks lived in Seattle before ... and now you are trying to tell us what we should do. It was going over like a bomb! Not that it wasn’t a good idea, it was simply coming from the outside” (Price, 40).

In time however, the town warmed up to Price and Rodger's ideas, embraced the Bavarian theme, and Leavenworth became the tourist attraction it is today.




If you're ever in Leavenworth, be sure to stop by the Icicle Brewing Company for great beer and pretzels. And if you're looking for late night activity, The Loft opens late.

For more information on Leavenworth:

1) http://leavenworth.org/
2) http://www.historylink.org/File/9475
3) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leavenworth,_Washington
4) https://iciclebrewing.com/
5) https://www.yelp.com/biz/icicle-brewing-leavenworth
6) https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-loft-leavenworth-2?osq=bar
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Monday, August 21, 2017

Hiking Franklin Falls, King County, Washington

Taken from WTA's site because I felt it summed up the hike perfectly: "At just 2 miles roundtrip with 400 feet in elevation gain, Franklin Falls is the perfect destination for any hiker looking for something easy and beautiful."


Trail Description
Length: 2 miles round trip
Elevation Change: 400 feet
Difficulty Assessment: Easy
Trail Type: Out and Back
Dog Friendly - Must be leashed

Northwest Forest Pass required to park
Official Site: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/r6/passes-permits/recreation/?cid=fsbdev2_027010
You can buy it at various vendors. Annual is around $30, day pass is $5 and can be purchased at the lot. Have exact change if possible

Directions

From Seattle, E on I-90 to exit 47. Left off the freeway. Right at T in road for .4 miles. Left on FSR 58 for 2.5 miles to FSR 5830. Turn left and park before bridge, trailhead is just before bridge on the right -- Taken from AllTrails.


The Hike

I didn't look around too much when I was here, but my impression of the area is that it's a great place to camp for the weekend with family.

Although Franklin Falls is located right underneath the I-90W highway, it doesn't really take away too much from the area. It's still a neat little fall and perfect to have lunch at and let kids play in the water.

The hike from the parking lot to the falls is not difficult at all. It's a mostly flat 1-mile hike  straddled by the river and the road. As such, it's not uncommon to see people park their cars alongside the road rather than in the paid lot to avoid paying $5.


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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Hiking Snoqualmie Falls Trail, Washington

A wee bit past Issaquah and just outside of North Bend, lies Snoqualmie Falls. Easy to access off the 90-E, Snoqualmie Falls is a great place to visit, especially if you want to take a dip in the river.


Trail Description Length:
1.4 miles round trip
Elevation Change: 250 feet
Difficulty Assessment: Easy
Trail Type: Out and Back

Dog Friendly - Must be leashed

Directions:
Snoqualmie Falls is such a popular location that any map app should be able to locate this attraction. Just drive along the 90-east until you reach Northbend.

There are a few places to park: the main lot, the upper lot, and the lower lot. The main parking lot is a fee lot, while the upper and lower lot are free. I personally prefer parking at the lower lot. I start by looking at the falls from below, hike to the top for an alternative view, and then return down to the lot and hang out by the river for a bit.




The Hike

The walk to the bottom of the falls is not difficult at all and suitable for all ages and sizes. It's a flat walk towards some stairs that eventually lead to a walkway along the river.



And the end of the walkway, there is an area for people to take pictures. It's small however so be prepared to wait if you want a picture without other visitors in it.


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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Hiking Wallace Falls, Snohomish County, Washington

Close to the city, easy on the knees; Wallace Falls is a great day hike if hanging out near the river and looking at waterfalls is your thing!


Trail Description
Length: 5.6 miles round trip
Elevation Change: 1300 feet
Difficulty Assessment: Easy
Trail Type: Out and Back
Dog Friendly - Must be leashed

Discover Pass required to park
Official Site: http://discoverpass.wa.gov/
You can buy it at various vendors. Annual is around $30, day pass is I think $10.

Directions

From the city, make your way towards Highway 2 east. Drive through the cities of Sultan, Startup, until you reach Gold Bar. There, make a left on 1st, a right onto 1st Ave/May Creek, and drive until May Creek becomes Ley Rd. Continue on Ley Rd, over the Wallace River, and follow it as it curves to your left. From here, follow the signs to the Wallace Falls parking lot.

The lot isn't small, but it isn't large either. Definitely try and get here early.


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