Sunday, March 14, 2010

Nooksack Falls 03/06/2010

On the way back home from a sunny snowshoe to Huntoon Point I decided to swing by Nooksack Falls.

Nooksack Falls is located a short ways off Hwy 542, along the Wells Creek road.

The falls are of a pretty good size, but they are located in such a manner than it is nearly impossible to capture a full image of them without putting your own safety at risk.

At the falls there is a little kiosk explaining some of the history around the falls, a nearby dam and a little history about the town of Excelsior which used to be located just down the road, back in the gold rush & logging days. Excelsior is now a campground along the Nooksack river... and also a peak about 4,000 feet above Nooksack falls.

Just off the parking area there is a massive water pipe. This pipe carries water from the dam to a powerhouse downstream where water flows through the turbines to create electricity. Just west of the parking lot, this pipe heads directly under the road and into a tunnel as it continues toward the powerhouse. To the east a short distance the metal pipe turns into an old wooden pipe, as pictured below. Numerous warning signs exist here to prevent people from proceeding, warning of wet, slippery rocks which can easily result in someone falling into the river and being washed over the falls, which are less than 30 yards away.

The water was an unusual crystal-clear-green today. It was somehow eerily beautiful.

If memory serves me correctly, my first visit to Nooksack Falls was probably the winter of 1990/1991 with a few of my very best friends from WWU. We drove up Hwy 542 on a Friday or Saturday night, in search of snow... finally encountering enough to make the road slick just as we reached the Wells Creek Road intersection. Since it was nighttime, there was little traffic so we parked right off Hwy 542 and proceeded on down the road all the way to the falls. I can't recall whether we had flashlights or not.. without a clue as to how far away the falls were. It was just an impromptu road trip that ended up being a ton of fun... like so many things back in the 'good old days'.

If any of you happen to read this... Nooksack Falls looks completely different in the daytime. :) Snow or no snow, it's still beautiful.


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