I’ve been wanting to take the hike to Bridal Veil Falls near Index for at least a year and a half, but I’ve made one excuse after another to not drive the nearly 1.5 hours to the trailhead. Today, I couldn’t find an excuse: it was going to be in the mid 80s, I woke up early and needed some exercise.
Off I went.
I don’t have a federal Northwest Forest Pass, which the trail requires, which usually isn’t a problem: I stuff $5 into the provided envelope and tear off a pass. Unfortunately, this trailhead isn’t equipped with these envelopes. After asking about 10 people, I finally found a ranger who told me I had to go a mile up the road and buy one at the espresso stand. I was incredulous — the parking lot was already PACKED. I thought, ‘I have to leave the one spot I found to get a pass?!?! How can this be?!?!’
But it was worth it. The trip for the ticket wasn’t even 10 min and I was back — with a little bit of a better parking spot since my inquiry had forced other unwitting explorers to purchase one themselves (oddly, one car did get away with putting their Discover Pass in the windshield, despite both a tour of the lot by rangers & the sheriff’s office).
It’s a four mile roundtrip hike, and it’s a fairly easy one — except the last half-mile left me winded with several near-vertical stairclimbs (okay, okay, it just felt near-vertical).
The Pacific Northwest is one of the most beautiful places in the country, if not the world. I’m continuously astounded by it’s beauty, as no doubt, the first explorers to this region did.
Upon my return, I did a brief detour to the small town of Index, along the North Fork of the Skykomish River. It epitomizes the phrase ‘small town.’ I don’t know what I expected, but it was something larger that what it is. The general store serves as the post office, which has original (or what must be close) post office boxes still in use. If only I had taken a picture! They have two combination dials to turn before they open. So cool! The best part about the town is the river, which was deceptively fast, something I think the Outdoor Adventure outfitters use to their advantage as they prep for the season.
The town was quaint and quiet, and I couldn’t help but think of the original settlers who landed there to try to get rich on gold, coal, or what Index is now known for, granite.
I got a postcard, an ice cream sandwich, did a brief walking tour as the historical society was closed, and left town with the scenic mountains in my rearview mirror.