Rattlesnake Ridge, a Wonder of Washington
“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” — John Muir
Sometimes the most important part of any new adventure is just making sure you get out the front door. This morning on the trail up to Rattlesnake Ridge, one of the 7 Wonders of Washington, Kim and I kept reminding ourselves about how important it is to always make the time to explore the beautiful areas where we live.
The Pacific Northwest has been home for longer than I can remember. Rattlesnake Ridge towers high over the cool waters of Rattlesnake Lake and the Snoqualmie River valley. The hike from the parking lot to Rattlesnake Ridge is 4-miles roundtrip with 1160 ft. of elevation gain, no permit or pass required and the views are simply breathtaking.
We packed a paper bag full of lunch snacks we could munch on once we got to the top. Tiny mountain chipmunks greeted us at the ridge. We couldn’t believe how many people were out and about enjoying the day. Evidences of the incredibly dry summer this area has had were all around us. Rattlesnake Lake itself was looking ever dried up and smaller than in many past years. A lot more of the enormous ancient stumps that hug the lake’s edge are exposed right now for clearer observation and admiration of their size. I was so grateful to have my new pair of Mountain Pass Cedar boots on. They’re crafted incredibly well for being such a lightweight boot. I can’t wait to continue breaking them in over time. Danner Boots have never failed to impress me with their heritage for making some of the best quality boots on Earth.
Hardly any traces remain of a town called Moncton which existed at the northern edge of Rattlesnake Lake from 1906-1915.
The City of Seattle began building a dam in 1914 on the Cedar River, right between Cedar Lake and Rattlesnake Lake. The dam was meant to generate electric power for City Light. There was a big problem though, the entire dam was built on top of a giant glacial moraine. This meant it was ultimately going to leak water like a sponge. Residents at the time began noticing lots of mini-geysers erupting from the hills above Moncton. All the extra water had nowhere to flow but right into Rattlesnake Lake. The lake slowly began to rise. Within days the streets were completely muddied and it is said that in the month of May 1915 water began rising a little over a foot per day. Rowboats were floated in to help remove furnishings and personal belongings that could still be salvaged. Ultimately the City of Seattle condemned the town of Moncton and residents were paid for the damages to their land and homes. Again, very few traces remain of the forgotten town. It’s only when the water recedes enough during summer months that brick foundations from the original town are exposed and can still be seen today.