Sometimes in life, we all need a slap in the face from a perfect stranger to wake up and pay attention.
Well. I certainly do.
So last week, when I read this random blog post about a glorious trip to Washington's Snoqualmie Falls, I considered myself slapped.
Snoqualmie Falls, in all her thunderous natural glory, seen from the main observation decks.
See, the author of said post wrote about her longstanding, Twin Peaks-inspired crush on the Pacific Northwest. Calling it her "dream vacation," she and her hubby trekked all the way from good ol' Cleveland to Seattle, and specifically, to Snoqualmie Falls.
With a slightly wider angle, the trappings of civilization can be seen.
I much prefer the natural look.
Snoqualmie Falls is a 268-foot waterfall, one of Washington's most popular scenic attractions. Famously featured in the intro to Twin Peaks, the falls have an international reputation and cult status. They are just a stone's throw from the Seattle area, and rank high on the must-see list of any respectable visitor to the Emerald City.
So certainly, I've been there many times, right?
After a ten-minute hike down a steep gravel trail and a short stroll down a clip-clopping boardwalk,
the falls pop back into sight.
No, I have not.
Full disclosure. I have been to Snoqualmie Falls exactly once - when my husband and I came to Seattle as newlyweds with an unsolicited job offer in our pocket and an unexpected opportunity to move half a continent away from our home in Chicago. In an effort to tempt us here permanently, our hosts advised us to check out the natural scenery of this amazing corner of the country, and with a few hours to explore, we made our way to the Falls.
Obviously, we took to the place.
But four daughters and several decades later, I never thought to go back to Snoqualmie Falls.
Once the water tumbles down the falls, the river sweeps past rocky, moss-covered granite cliffs,
over a series of rapids and countless boulders,
and continues on its course through the pristine evergreen forest.
Well, until last week, that is.
Because finally, on a cloudy July afternoon when we were in the mood for an adventure, my second- and fourth-born and I hopped in the car and drove a mere hour to this breathtakingly beautiful site.
The place has changed a lot.
Smooth, wide paths lead through gorgeous natural landscaping to beautiful new observation decks.
A steep trail through lush green forest leads to a boardwalk and more fabulous views of the falls.
Everywhere we looked, interesting details and well-planned design abounded.
What appears to be an abstract sculpture along the hiking trail is actually a section of the pipes used in the last century to divert the water to a pumping station.
The view of the forest from one of the many artful benches generously placed along the trail. You know, not that I needed to rest or anything.
All of the various signboards and kiosks around the park have 'green' roofs, meaning that they were covered with darling little succulents. I wanted to kiss each one and take them home with me.
As I absentmindedly scanned the text on this signboard at the front of the park, my brain suddenly exploded. It took me a few seconds to realize what had happened. At the top of the display, I had seen the phrase, "Selamat Datang," which means "Welcome" in the Malay language. Although I understand a smattering of that foreign tongue, my neurons have never before encountered Bahasa Melayu on this continent and it came as a bit of a shock.
And you know, the Falls weren't too shabby either.
* * * * *
So to the author of the post that woke me from my slumbers and reminded me of the beauty in my own backyard, I can only say, "Thanks. I needed that."