After a successful hike last month up to Franklin Falls, we got the group back together and tackled the ever-beautiful Bridal Veil Falls and Lake Serene. The forecast was what you’d expect from a late February hike in the Pacific Northwest; overcast with an 80% chance of rain and a 100% chance of fun. Our group of 12 met at the trailhead at 9:30 and once everyone was booted up, we set out for Bridal Veil Falls with poles in hand and an ecstatic puppy leading the way.
The group made quick work of the initial 1.7 miles along an old road bed which gently sloped up towards the falls and served as a nice warmup for the steep half mile climb that lay ahead. Having never been to the falls, the views were breathtaking and the falls were much bigger than I had anticipated. Although the low floating clouds obscured the valley below, they made it seem as though the falls were tumbling off of the edge of the earth and into the unknown. The roar of the water provided an excellent backdrop for a quick snack before we continued onwards towards Lake Serene and away from the freezing spray.
The rest of the hike took us past four smaller waterfalls which were great places to rest our legs, catch our breaths, and immerse ourselves in nature and conversation as we waited for the rest of the group to catch up. Recent storms had left trees lying across the trail in several places which required us to scramble over or under them, but we (puppy included) made it through with little trouble. The last stretch of the hike took us well above the low blanket of clouds obscuring the valley below and gave us an opportunity to test our poles on snow covered switchbacks. Needless to say, they passed the test with flying colors and everyone made it through without incident.
The summit of Lake Serene definitely lived up to its name as we sat in the snow enjoying hot chocolate, cider, homemade cookies, and other snacks provided by Dan and Mallory. Everyone got a chance to fill their stomachs, talk, and get to know each other before finally being driven back down the mountain by the rain.
What separates Uphill Adventures from regular hikes for me is that these trips aren’t necessarily about the hiking or the views you see when you reach the top, they’re about bringing together a community of people who share a passion for the outdoors. I’ve been on my fair share of hikes over the years and even though their scenery lived up to that of Lake Serene, this hike sticks out because of the people I hiked with. A few years down the road, I probably won’t remember this eight mile hike for its truly spectacular views or for the half mile climb to the waterfall which seemed to go on forever; I’ll remember it for the new friends I made and the community I was lucky enough to be a part of.