Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Spencer Jack Takes Me Down Ghost Town Memory Lane Over Washington Waterfalls

Last night, somewhere in the 9 in the evening time frame, my phone made its telltale incoming text message noise.

I was distracted by other noises at the time, so it was several minutes later I looked at the phone to see the text message.

It was from Spencer Jack and my Favorite Nephew Jason.

No text message, just three photos of which you see two here.

When I saw the photos on the phone my first reaction was I was looking at Snoqualmie Falls in flood mode.

But then I got the photos off the phone and saw the full size versions and saw that this was not Snoqualmie Falls falling a lot of water.

Looking at the above photo I became almost 100% certain that that which I was looking at is Granite Falls.

Granite Falls is also a town, named after the falls, a few miles to the south (or is it west? I am losing memory of these type details) from where Spencer Jack is taking a picture. Granite Falls is at the southern entry to what is known as the Mountain Loop.

Driving the Mountain Loop takes one into the Cascade Mountains and the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, with many attractions along the way, such as the infamous Big Four Ice Caves. And the Monte Christo ghost town.

In 1889 a gold rush came to this area, with Monte Christo becoming a gold boom town til 1907 and then a sort of tourist town til Monte Christo eventually became the ghost town it is today.

A railroad was built to take the Monte Christo gold out and bring supplies in, with that railroad running, in many locations, alongside the Stillaguamish River, which is the river making the falls you see above.

Building this railroad was quite a feat of engineering, requiring tunnels and treacherous bridges. The railroad did not last long, but remnants remain. Back in the last decade of the previous century Spencer Jack's Favorite Uncle Joey and I hiked the trail which follows the abandoned railroad, along with hundreds of other hikers. It was a scary trail, what with much of it being beside that raging river, with us hikers having to hike on the remains of bridges and make our way through dripping tunnels.

I remember two kayakers passing by and being appalled, knowing as I did that a few miles downstream those kayakers would come to Granite Falls. I figured they must know what they were doing, with a safe exit point before coming to the falls.

If you go to the webpage I made years ago about the Cascade Mountains, you will see some of what one finds on the Mountain Loop, such as Mount Pilchuck, and my Favorite Nephews, Chris and Jeremy taking me to the Big Four Ice Caves.

Like I think I already said, the town of Granite Falls is named after the town's nearby waterfall. The town I am currently in, Wichita Falls, is also named after a waterfall. But, that little three foot waterfall on the Wichita River was obliterated by a flood in 1886.

For 100 years, give or take a year, visitors to Wichita Falls were asking where the waterfall was.

Eventually the townspeople tired of explaining why there was no falls in Wichita Falls, so an artificial waterfall was built, near Lucy Park, visible, when the waterfall is turned on, from the 287 freeway, easily seen if you are southbound, possible to see, if you know where to look, when you are northbound.

I wonder if Spencer Jack has yet taken his dad to Nooksack Falls? Nooksack Falls is the scariest waterfall I have ever been scared by. One can climb to all sorts of precarious locations at Nooksack Falls.

One of the many blessings of living in relatively flat Texas is I have never been scared by a Texas waterfall. Ironically, though, I have been scared by Texas water.

The Trinity River comes to mind...

UDDATE: This morning Spencer Jack sent me video he shot of his dad at Granite Falls. This video arrived upside down and sped up super fast. I was able to turn it upside right and slow the video down, somewhat, but it still sort of looks like a color version of a long ago silent movie---

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