Adventure to Doughty Falls

It rained like hell here late last week. What does that mean you ask? It means I went Waterfall hunting.

Many falls around here dry up or are just plain wimpy most months of the year. In the past I have gone to Coal Creek Waterfall in the Cougar Mountain Regional Park. This time I decided to trek up to another falls in the park – Doughty Falls.

This is my adventure. As with most hikes there are other exciting things along the way. Just sit back & enjoy this rather long post. It is the journey not the destination and as I say…

Serendipity is there for the taking. Just need to be present to recognize it.

Here we go!!!

Right out of the Parking Lot – Here is the first bridge of many.

Wilderness Creek was gushing & that spurred me on to see the falls. Little did I know how steep the trail would be at times. 1,200 foot elevation gain isn’t much but at times I swear it was straight up. My trekking pole was a huge help for balance and pulling me up or bracing on the down.

Mini Falls on Wilderness Creek at the base of the trail
Look close – there is the bridge way down there.

Upward I went and chatted with a fellow hiker for a bit along the way. He had passed me as I flirted with the ravine edge to get another photo of Wilderness Creeks heavy flow. I fell on my butt (don’t worry I was not that close to the edge).

Way down there is the creek rushing to the sound.

Then we started to see large boulders. This is where we parted as I took a few photos. I told him what is a blog without pictures?

First Boulder with the trail skirting it – more on this big rock on the way down.
Another Big Rock sitting in the forest

On the other side of the trail was a large tree stump with it’s fallen tree. Not sure why it was cut down to be left behind. Maybe just too hard to get it down out of the ravine 100 years ago.

Cedar Tree – was it cut down & left? or just a natural demise?

To give you some perspective to the size of this giant tree here is my trekking pole on the stump for reference.

Big stump huh?

Can you say… “More Bridges”? Well that is what came next after hiking up & up.

Back over Wilderness Creek we go!!

The creek was pretty loud here and it is exciting to cross over this log bridge with only one hand rail.  Oooooo Living on the edge. Well maybe not that dangerous but still fun.

Then there was a small bridge over a marshy/side trickle of the creek. Beyond that is the Y in the trail where one can take the Gombu Wilderness Cliff Trails.  This trail is named after the Sherpa that summited Mt Everest with Whittaker and it goes to Wilderness Peak.

A mini bridge with no rails and just a plank. It works!! – see the sign post on the right to Gombu Trail.

The map published by King County on the park has a small notation that there are Boulders in this area.  That is why I call this next piece…  “Boulders Galore”

The trail after the mini bridge wound between a bunch of really big rocks. Must be ice age activity that planted them here.  Gosh don’t mess with Mother Nature – she has the power!!

Thru the rocks we go
Where this goes I don’t know but I feel magic (this looks back from where we came).
They just keep coming.. more boulders!
They are so big the tree looks small.
Look up and see the creek flowing towards us and the big rocks
Can you imagine elves dancing on these boulders? Magic was in the air here.

Guess I have read too much of Lord of the Rings but it was other worldly. It was time to cross back over the creek and continue my climb to the top and the sirens of the waterfall were calling me.

The third bridge at the Boulders – exit back to reality
Up the rocky trail we go.
Looking back towards the magic rock glen.
I can’t help wondering when and how this little treasure was formed.
From way up the bluff I can even see the board bridge. Wave goodbye!

The magic did not stop there. This is a rocky place that is where fairies, elves and the gods played with big toys.

I was filled with wonder as you can tell from my voice on the video. In I went to investigate.

Do you not want to go look up close with me?
If one was cold and it was dark this would be a viable place. Sleeping with the fairies!
Above hiding in the trees was granite cliffs topped with ferns. Look close to see.
This is what the inner sanctum looks like. Dry and low hanging.

Off I went knowing I had a long way to go yet. The rock formations continued to distract me.

This is just one big boulder that has it’s own cliff face. Big as a shipping container.

When I turned about there was another boulder but with a creek flowing all around. A board walk was built to get over this area where the water has overtaken the trail. Imagine it is usually all mud but today it was all water.

Ferns love this wet swampy area and have taken over the boulder.
Here we are on the other side.
It just keeps going.
The end at last.

Then the trail continued upward but now had a creek flowing down it. That is how much water had gushed down during the deluge this week.

It is now getting high up on the mountain and continues to collect a rain shower or two. I came to a forest that is hiding in the clouds.

In the mist we go.
Cloudy forest all around us.

About this time I saw two Brown Creepers.  And as often happens with bird photography I am late to the game. No photo to share of this elusive tree climber bird.

I now was in an area that was going up and down.  Yes some relief from just straight up. It was time to make some time up from all my dawdling. Then I heard the ruffle of wings to my right.

What was that? It was a small woodpecker that I captured after he and I played peek-a-boo,

Black and White Woodpecker seeking bugs
This is a Hairy Woodpecker posing for me.

At the time I thought this guy was a Sapsucker but with my trusty bird guides – Sibley’s and Stoke’s I figured out what he is.  Pretty rare in the urban area but gosh serendipty plus a little magic sent him to me for these photos.

I am getting closer now and of course there is another bridge.

Bridge over Shy Bear Creek

Now this is a rustic bridge. It crosses over a pond formed by the creek.  Very calm and peaceful here. Not a sound except water, wind and my breath.

Over the bridge I go now. The Sirens are still calling me to the waterfall.

Two hours after crossing the first bridge I can hear the falls. And then they are in sight!!

I won’t tease you any more about the waterfall – here is my little video and then still photos for you to enjoy.

Full view of three streams off Doughty Falls
Full view of three streams off Doughty Falls
The main flow with it’s side channel

The side channel or middle stream is the one that this huge rain fall created. I reviewed some other photos of the falls online. They range from bone dry, just the main stream on the right or two streams without this middle one.

The left side of the falls top
The big deal & it’s pool at the bottom.
Looking downstream from Doughty Falls

I am standing behind this little rail fence on a very steep slope. The park people built us a viewing area but it is perilous to say the least.

This is the rail at the viewing area.
Looking behind me and the rail.
Some little stairs built to get one to the viewing area.

They look so easy but it is a bit un-nerving with the decent towards the falls view.  I did climb back up and ate lunch in the ferns.  I forgot to check if I had a plastic bag to sit on and ended up sitting on my waterproof National Geo Map.  Made me laugh but it worked better than a bag.

It was time to start back. Did not want to be in the forest when dusk started and the sun seemed to be dipping behind the mountains.  Plus, as you saw earlier it was cloudy and that makes it even darker in the forest. So, off I went making good time.

Till I came back thru a Devil’s Club forest. This is a plant that you would never want to grab if you were tumbling down a hill.  It is full of thorns of the nastiest type.

Devil’s Club thorns – Don’t TOUCH!!

Here is what the little glen of them looks like.  Now you have been warned to stay clear. They usually are in creek beds but this area is so wet and protected it made it’s home on this slope.

Stand of Devil’s Club
A tangle of Devil’s Club which is also called The Devil’s Walking Stick

Next are a few other natural things that you might find interesting.

Perfect Little Mushroom
Fungus on a tree
Looking up under one of the fungus. Or are they mushrooms?
Forest Magic Wand

About half way down the sun came out and the world started to sparkle.

Winter Sun brightening the forest
Sun making the brush sparkle – the left over leaves look like rubies in this diamond necklace.
The ferns were loving the rain drops that are now glistening.
Getting closer to moss and the dewy glow. Check out the droplets at the ends.
This almost looks like another world. Is it in the sea, the forest or the heavens?

I am almost off the mountain and what did I see? A face in the rock?  What is this?  Man-made or Nature-made?  You decide.

First here is what it looked like going up the trail.  You should recognize this as the first boulder I encountered.

First Boulder & the trail skirts this.

Here it is looking from above where you can see the face. I have to confess I did not see it going by the first time. As I came down I met a couple folks & they had never seen it either.  My goodness, surprises are everywhere.

Can you see the face?

I leave you with a close up of the guardian of the trail.  Hope you enjoyed my adventure. It was a bit long but has a lot to share. This is only a few of the 181 photos and 4 videos I took on my 4 plus hour 6 mile hike.  Who said Winter Hiking is boring?

The rock has a face – I leave it to your imagination of how.

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