Well, not real Rattlesnakes. We don’t have them in the Northwest (CORRECTION: While there are no Rattlesnakes in WESTERN Washington, there are in portions of the state east of the Cascade Mountains, Idaho and eastern Oregon). We DID hike up to a place called Rattlesnake Ledge out by North Bend in the Snoqualmie Valley (I will tell you how it got its name later).
Who thought it would rain in the Snoqualmie Valley on a day that said 70% chance of rain? That area only gets an average of 60 inches a rain a year, 23 inches more than Seattle, and receives an average of 10 inches per month during the winter. I mean, come on. We were hopeful. Or naïve.
The dogs are not fans if rain but they know us enough that we don’t let them succumb to wet belly syndrome. We are mean like that. In Seattle, if you wait for it to stop raining to go outside or for a hike you will never get out.
We showed up at the trailhead to find fellow Adventureweiner Marshall and his owner waiting for us, already soaked. We headed up the trail even though we knew we wouldn’t be able to see anything. We figured we were already wet so why bother to get back in the car to go somewhere else.
There is a lake at the base of the ledge and I had never seen it so full. It was clearly at flood stage. It looked more like a wide spot in a river than a lake. Water was swiftly flowing out the east end of the lake where usually there is no outflow at all.
The foot bridge at the east end of the lake, which is usually high and dry when we get there, was sitting in about two feet of water. I always wondered what that bridge was there for. Now I know.
It was raining so hard it was streaming down my face. Chester wore his jacket but half way up it became a soaked lead weight so we took it off of him. All of the dogs were coated with mud.
As we expected, we could see nothing at the top except the rocky ledge itself. At least we could see enough to walk around without falling off. The rain slowed down for maybe two seconds then picked up. This time it decided to blow sideways and pelt us.
We tried to get some photos to prove the dogs made it in the rain but the lens of the camera kept getting wet. My friends still managed to get a few good shots despite the conditions but they are camera pros.
When we made it back down near the end of the trail, it started raining at least twice as hard. It was ridiculous. My pants were soaked and my bomb-proof rain jacket was starting to leak. We couldn’t have gotten any wetter. There was literally water running down the middle of the trail like a small stream. The dogs looked like sad, little drowned rats.
Anyway, after a serious toweling off session back at the car we loaded the dogs into the back seat and headed back to Seattle. We got about 10 minutes down the road and it all but stopped raining and the sun started to come out. It figures. That’s Western Washington Weather for ya.
So, I promised to tell you how the trail got its name since Rattlesnakes are conspicuously absent from the area. Well, I don’t know for sure but the best answer I have been able to find is that the name stems from the sound of dried seed pods rattling in the autumn breeze – which sound like snakes rattling their tail.