The Great Outdoors (WA State)

It’s funny that I’ve lived in Washington state as long as I have without having explored most of what it has to offer: a multitude of national parks, forests, mountains and mountain ranges, hiking trails, camping areas – everything I’ve come to love in the last couple of years I was in Japan, of all places. Ironic. I should put “lived” next time.

I’m trying to correct this by slowly re-introducing myself to all of the different great spots around the state, starting with those closer to Seattle. About a month back I took a day trip out to Coal Creek Falls in Issaquah, WA with Tomoka and her friend Yoshi (who is also a doctor). It was a beautiful fall day, and although we didn’t know what to expect in terms of the actual falls, we were hoping for a nice splash of color and some quality time away from the city. I usually like to shoot film when I’m out hiking, but I didn’t have any decent stuff on me, so instead I brought my Canon 7D and a few lenses with me. No sense keeping a 1200 dollar camera if I’m not going to use it!

Tomoka and Yoshi at the trailhead. The sunlight filtered down beautifully through the towering trees on both sides.

It was a Sunday, yet there was almost no one out on the trails. The trail to the falls – aptly named Coal Creek Trail – was only about a mile in length so we were able to take it slow and enjoy the beautiful October weather. The air was so crisp and clean it was refreshing simply to breathe. There aren’t many times when you can have such a feeling, and it’s always a good reminder to take life slow and enjoying being alive.


A bit of color at the start of the hike.

Piano Keys

Piano Keys.

Single Maple

A single, mottled maple.

After about 30 minutes of hiking, we finally made it to Coal Creek Falls. Maybe I should say “Falls” (I’m using “” a lot this post…!). I had half expected it after Yosemite; with runoff from snowpack at its annual low in the fall months, waterfalls are often times reduced to mere fractions of their former selves. It was no different in the case of Coal Creek Falls. There wasn’t anything more than a tiny trickle left of, what looked in the pictures, to be quite a substantial flow.

Dried Up Coal Creek Falls

Coal Creek Falls, dried up.


Leaves caught between stones slow the flow of water.

Only a Trickle

A vertical shot of the above picture.


A bit of a slow shutter; without a tripod I couldn't get it super slow.


Leaves on moss, red on green.

Huge Leaf!

Tomoka holds up a huge maple leaf.

On the way back instead of coming back the way we came we decided instead to loop around and back and see a few more trails on the way.


I thought this shot summed up the feeling you get when you're there: quiet, calm, delicious air, verdant greens, and beautiful sunlight shining through the trees.


Self portrait (more shadow play)

Berry and Bokeh

Berry macro.


These small yellow flowers lined both sides of the trail, and I couldn't help but stop and take a quick picture.

At the end of the hike we were rewarded with a small grove of poplar (?) trees that still had most of their leaves on them. The yellow of the leaves contrasted perfectly with the pastel blues of the sky – it was pretty magnificent.


Poplar grove.


Yellow on blue.

Two Poplars

What I love about fall.

I’ve been sorting through a lot of the pictures I’ve been taking from going around campus the last few months. Now that the fall leaves have all blown off or fallen, I won’t be adding any more pictures! (<— This is what has stopped me from making that post so far!) A post should be coming soon about re-acquainting myself with the University of Washington and Seattle in the fall. When people tell you the leaves don’t change color in Seattle, they’re lying 😉 Till’ then, thanks for reading!


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