For my outdoor birthday adventure, I decided to revisit a trail that I drive past several times a week but haven't actually set foot on since I was a child: the Snoqualmie Valley Regional Trail. Stretching 31 miles from Duvall to North Bend, this trail is built on an abandoned railroad grade and passes through agricultural areas, natural areas, parks, and several towns.
Aside from the fact that it is completely flat along most of its length, one of the best things about this trail is the variety of scenery! With views of the picturesque Snoqualmie Valley, Cascade Mountains and Snoqualmie River, the trail is never lacking natural scenery to admire and appreciate.
While I would someday love to walk the entire length of the trail, my current fitness level (out of shape!) isn't able to accommodate a 31 mile expedition. With that in mind, my husband and myself opted to walk just a few miles along the trail between Carnation and Duvall. Thankfully by the time we set out, the fog had lifted a bit and allowed me to snap a few photos!
|Beaver dam in the wetlands. Highway 203 is in the background.|
|Another beaver dam - it is easy to see why they are known as "ecosystem engineers"!|
|Peeking between the trunks of gnarled cottonwoods, you can see the forested hillsides rising from the valley.|
|There are plenty of dead snags like this one along the trail - the perfect spot to look for bald eagles, although none were out and about today.|
|Rare wintertime greenery: licorice ferns growing on a cottonwood tree.|
|When we reached this spot on the trail, all I could think was "cathedral of trees". Must be even more gorgeous when the trees are leafed out!|
|The Snoqualmie River in its muted wintertime tones.|
|The sun tried very hard to burn through the fog!|
|I love the palette of greens and browns in the trees this time of year.|
The Snoqualmie Valley is my favorite place on earth, and being able to spend time enjoying the scenery there was a wonderful birthday present! I hope to explore other areas of the trail during the spring and summer to see the change in scenery with each season... stay tuned to A Day Without Rain for photos from those future adventures!