August 11, 2018 was our sixteenth wedding anniversary. Gabriel only had one day off for it this year so we had to choose carefully how to spend it; we opted for a day-trip to the beautiful Snoqualmie Falls. (As fans of Jacob and Addie's engagement scene in Love Will Find A Wheel may have worked out, we have a soft spot in our hearts for the romance of waterfalls.)
The origins of Snoqualmie Falls might be described in two different ways: through the medium of legend, or that of science. The people of the Snoqualmie tribe tell a story of the falls being created by dukʷibeł, the moon, who was the son of a star and a woman who was brought up to live among the Sky People; it was at Snoqualmie Falls that Moon the Transformer created all the rivers and filled them with fish. Modern geologists report that the falls were created when an active seismic fault cut an ancient volcano in half 20,000 to 60,000 years ago. In more recent history, the town of Snoqualmie was platted in 1889, and in the 1890s a hydroelectric power plant was constructed at the falls. The Victorian power plant is still in operation today, together with a second plant built in 1911.
There are viewing areas for the falls across from the top of the cascade and near the bottom of the 270-foot cataract. The falls are Washington state's second-most popular tourist attraction (after Mt. Rainier) and viewing space was tight, but the crowds were pleasantly respectful as everyone took turns stepping up to the railings. It was delightful to hear the tongues of many lands which filled the air as visitors from around the globe gazed on the beautiful falls. After we'd seen the falls from the top, watching the plunging waters and the mists which drifted from them, we hiked down the short but very steep trail to the bottom. The scene was an iconic Northwest forest, with towering evergreens, picturesque nurse stumps, and closely-crowded berry bushes on either side of the trail.
We weren't the only ones to be attracted to the romance of the falls: when we arrived at the viewing area at the bottom, a young couple there had just that moment gotten engaged. There is something about the powerful rush of waters that calls out to the hearts of lovers.
After we'd seen the falls from the bottom we climbed back up the trail again and had a very special anniversary lunch at The Attic restaurant at the Salish Lodge. Perched atop the falls, the Salish Lodge was originally built as The Snoqualmie Falls Lodge in 1916, and is now owned and operated by the Muckleshoot tribe. To people outside the Pacific Northwest, the Salish Lodge is perhaps best known for the role it played in a television series: it served as the set for "The Great Northern" hotel in David Lynch's Twin Peaks. (This fact is referenced in a subtle, "twinkle-in-the-eye" way in the menu: when our bill came after lunch I had to smile when I saw my dessert listed as cherry pie and "Damn fine coffee" —an oft-repeated quote from the series.)