Saturday, February 10, 2007

Where in the 'Cascades' is BangedUpShins?

Well, I really don't expect anyone to come up with the specific location but you never know. It's one of my favorite little jaunts off SR2 in the Stevens Pass corridor and I've posted on the location before. Easy to get to (in summer, at least . . . winter and deep snow make it a challenge), but not well known (not marked on the maps).

These waterfalls plunge 150 ft in a near constant roar year round. At the base is a natural pool that I have enjoyed during the hot days of summer. Historically, the Great Northern Railway piped water from the base of the falls to fill steam locomotives prior to the grueling switchback climb over Stevens Pass. In 1929 the Cascade Tunnel was finished under Cowboy Mountian just south of the pass, eliminating the need for small town depots every few miles. Evidence of the catchment basins remains along with much railway history nearby.

The catchment basin for the Great Northern Railway depot nearby

The hike in is short, though you do have to negotiate some moderate slopes and hillsides to get a good view of the falls. At one time there was a short spur road into the area (still shows on the 1972-series USGS topos) but all signs have long since reverted to natural. Most people pass on by with no inkling of what is just beyond the hillside and trees. Every time I have been here I have had the area all to myself. From the parking area other, more 'popular' destinations are the goal.

The weather was cooperating Friday with the temperatures in the lower 40s. Since this wasn't a strenuous hike and I spent a lot of time standing around near the falls, I'm really surprised that the cold didn't show effects at all for the three hours I was out there in the late afternoon. By the time I got back to my car the temperatures were dropping back down to the mid-thirties . . . so I timed the visit just right.

There is a real challenging freedom to hiking nude in snow and cold weather. A lot of people think I'm crazy but the weather doesn't bother me at all. It feels invigorating at a really sublime level. It also amazes me at just how well the human body can cope with the extremes of environment and adjust that heat output so that regardless of how cold it may look, I am actually feeling quite comfortable.

So . . . has anyone figured out the location of my impromptu Friday hike? Correct guesses get a PDF-copy of Rick Perkins NW Naturist Guide for Washington State, which was originally published in the 90s. Rick Perkins was the founder of the SLUGS Travel Club and well respected in the naturist community. Since his untimely passing the SLUGS have gone on to become a very successful group and on the tenth anniversary I figured I'd take that old, hand-typed and xeroed booklet and republish it as orignally written. Lots of good information in there.

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