Snoqualmie Falls

It’s that time of year in Western Washington state when the weather toys with your sensibilities.  One day the sun will shine, the thermometer hits 60 degrees, Mt. Rainier smiles down upon you in clear view, and blooming cherry trees, daffodils and tulips are everywhere.  All is right in the world on those days.  And then the rains return for what seems likes weeks.  So here’s a picture to celebrate all that water gushing down mountains, filling aquifers and hopefully not flooding your living room and cow pastures.

Snoqualmie Falls – April 1, 2010

The Falls is where the Snoqualmie River tumbles down a 270 ft cliff in Snoqualmie, WA.  Perched on top of the cliff is the Salish Lodge, a destination hotel and restaurant which was used as a backdrop in the filming of the short running cult hit on TV, Twin Peaks.  The exterior of the lodge was used as the fictional “Great Northern Hotel” in the opening shot used at the beginning of every TV episode.

Salish Lodge

Since 2007, the Salish Lodge has been owned by the Muckleshoot Tribe, who out bid the Snoqualmie Tribe (a subgroup of the Salish Tribe) to acquire the famous hotel.  The Salish consider Snoqualmie Falls a spiritual place of great power.

Puget Power operates a 113 year old power generating facility at the falls.  The power plant diverts much of the flow that would pass over the Falls to an electricity generating plant which was blasted into the rock behind and beneath the Falls. For the Snoqualmie Tribe, the diversion of the waters which would flow over Snoqualmie Falls is a considered to be a desecration of this sacred site, as was the blasting done to create the plant.

In 2005, Puget Power was granted a license to continue operations for another 40 years.  The power company is currently implementing upgrades to the plant and recreational site.  The trail that takes you to the bottom of the Falls is closed until 2013.

The largest volume of water flowing over the falls will often be in early winter when the mountains have accumluated some snow pack, and then it briefly warms and rains like crazy, causing the snow to melt and rivers to swell and flood.  This picture was taken December 12, 2007 during a warming spell.  It was not raining; the mist from the falls was so thick I couldn’t keep my lens dry:

Snoqualmie Falls, December 2007

I love this photo I found on Wikpedia Commons, a free licensed media repository.  The gentlemen in suits make the picture!

Snoqualmie Falls 1890
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