Yes, the air quality is garbage. But non-strenuous activities with limited outdoor durations are fine. Which is how I found myself all by myself at Franklin Falls on a Monday afternoon. To make a short story long, I was headed home after a supply run into Issaquah when I decided I wanted to see the pass's latest "art" installation, a gutted & abandoned boat discarded on Tinkham Rd. Of course, from there, my curiosity got the best of me and after chasing down a lady who was about to get onto WB I-90 with a dog leash still tied to her bumper, its metal clip spraying sparks as it scraped along the pavement (worry not, the dog was in her car) and yelling at another fella who was yakking away on his cellphone while pissing over the jersey barrier directly into the S. Fork Snoqualmie, I figured why not take the scenic route home. So I crossed over I-90 and hung a left and proceeded up Denny Creek Rd.
It was unusually quiet for a summer where the low-reaching fruit has been constantly ravaged, I figure the poor air quality must be keeping most folks at home. As I passed Denny Ck. CG I noticed only the host's camper was there and thought maybe it'd closed for the season after Labor Day and they were still cleaning-up. But as I passed the massive TH parking lot for Denny Creek & Franklin Falls I couldn't believe my eyes - not a single car was parked there! I looked for a closed sign but there were none. What happened next surprised me even more - as I continued to drive up the road to the last switchback below the falls I saw no cars. No people. No one! I had to stop and go for a walk - the opportunity was simply too good to pass up.
I grabbed my rapidly-cooling bag of take-out from the passenger's seat and stuffed a cold tallboy into my pocket. I jostled up the 500' to the falls and it was true - nobody was to be found! You could see the sun through the haze and visibility was roughly to the I-90 bridge, it didn't even smell all that smoky, nothing compared to how bad it was down in Issaquah. As I gobbled-down my crispy burrito and mexi-fries I looked around and realized the place was a mess - there was trash everywhere. So after finishing my meal, I set about cleaning-up after others and surprise, surprise, I filled the whole take-out sack. Most disgustingly, I plucked a bag of doggie doodoo from the river which had a sizable hole in it and began leaking runny poo the second I hoisted it out of the water. I let that dribble-out across the most popular sitting rocks. Also of note is the enhancement and outright creation of numerous social trails, many in environmentally-sensitive areas. Ugh!
I walked the Wagon Trail down to the regular TH then the regular trail back to my car and didn't find too much additional trash, but there's just so much along the road, esp. the side most folks have been parking on. The biggest disappointment was discovering that Dru Bru had pulled the plug for the day due to the hazardous conditions for their staff & customers, who are all req'd to sit outside due to the continued prevalence of COVID. Not that I disagree with it one bit, but it would've been nice to enjoy a rewarding cold one (or three).
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