This sucker was all about the bridge for me. Instead of doing anything productive at night—after the kids are all in bed—I lie in bed and watch Tik Tok videos. Tik Tok must have the best algorithms because it knows exactly what I want to see, which somehow includes Russian Tik Tok?! Because Tik Tok somehow knows I live in the PNW, one video I watched showed a compilation of cool hikes around here. Including the Pratt River Trail. So we went.
It was kind of confusing. Reading helps. The directions say:
Drive the Middle Fork Road to milepost 9, and park in a parking area on the right side of the road. A bridge immediately crosses a creek, then a short trail leads out to the riverbank. Find the river ford by heading upstream while looking across to the opposite bank. Cross the river where you see the trail continue on the other side.
That’s exactly what we did. Problem is, I stopped reading there. The next sentence is super helpful had I read the whole damn directions: This is only a safe option during the summer when the water is low. Hahaha. Yeah, crossing the river wasn’t an option unless we were up for a super cold swim. We backtracked and hopped back in the car. Luckily I had taken a screenshot of the Pratt River Trail and the Pratt Connector to Pratt River Trail (there’s no cell service). We drove two more miles down the road and found the Connector trailhead. Score. Always an adventure!
At the milepost 9 start. The bridge goes to a nothing sign.
Not only was it an adventure getting to the trailhead, the morning started out with car problems. When I went to leave, our van battery was dead. Awesome. And since Laine has practice on Sundays, I couldn’t take the Suburban. Brian needed to drive her to practice while I was gone. Luckily Karann was able to grab me on her way to our meeting spot. Already an eventful morning with car problems, and then trailhead problems. (Spoiler: The day ended with car problems for Karann.)
It felt more right at the Connector trailhead. There is a large parking lot and there were actually other people. We hadn’t seen anyone since starting down Middle Fork Road; there were several cars parked at the Mailbox Peak trailhead. What we did see, at the milepost 9 trailhead was a large board—like several trailheads have—except this one has nothing on there. No map, no trail information, nothing… only a flyer of a female missing hiker. Lovely. I sure hope she’s been found.
Finally, a proper trailhead with our second go. There are boards, signs, people… we set out. We were immediately hit with the bridge! I had it in my head the bridge would be further down the trail. Like a surprise along the way. I’m not even sure why I thought this but I was pleasantly surprised to see the thing right away. There was a family at the other end of the bridge. The mom was in a beautiful dress and heels. We quickly realized she was taking maternity photos, with her belly bump and all. Luckily they were finishing up and passed us on the bridge, which left only us and the opportunity to take pictures.
I’m not sure what’s up with my bridge love but it keeps growing with age. Even though I am not much of a fan of being on them. I remember not liking driving across the Bay Bridge. And then the 1989 earthquake hit and yeah, a section broke. And then up here, driving to West Seattle and always feeling iffy on the West Seattle Bridge. And now it’s closed indefinitely because of growing cracks on the thing. Another bridge experience, after moving to Carnation, the Tolt Hill Bridge over the Snoqualmie River. It never sat well with me. Sure enough, it closed for emergency repairs not long after moving here.
The bridge last Sunday did not disappoint. What a beautiful creation. And what a great way to kick off the trail. The trail continues from the bridge along the river for a bit. The trail was pretty dead so we were able to enjoy the sounds of the river as we hiked along. The river down below on the right, and trees and rocks galore along the left. I can’t get over how many large rocks and boulders protruded out from the hill. I mean, of course they’re there but actually seeing them was pretty cool. Especially the ones with trees growing on top. Add in moss galore and the few little water features along the trail, it was a perfect hike.
We ended up hiking up the trail about two miles before turning around. I was on a time schedule; I had to be home about 2pm for kiddo commitments. Those two miles in were impressive. Nothing particularly special other than the standard PNW trail views. I was entertained by what felt like a ridiculously high amount of downed trees. Some hillsides had more trees down than standing. Makes me wonder what all happens when nobody is around. I think in all my hiking and years living up here, I’ve only heard two trees fall on the hill behind our home. But I’ve never actually seen one fall. Only the aftermath. Like along the Pratt River Trail. Another thing to note, it was a muddier trail than I prefer. But nothing that couldn’t be negotiated. The strategically placed wooden boards helped.
Downed trees all around. And a muddy trail.
Hiking back we came upon a beautiful view. I feel like we should have noticed this on our way in but our backs were turned. Duh. I also grabbed a picture of the other bridge we crossed not long after starting. On our way in, we passed a small group of hikers with their super cute pup. I figured I’d grab a shot on our way back.
That view! And another bridge.
It was a nice introduction to the Pratt River Trail. It’s a calm, easy trail. We plan on heading back this summer and hiking the full length of the thing, including the whole river crossing part. Rumor has it there is an old growth forest a few more mile down the trail from where we stopped. We’re interested in experiencing this also. And if we’re really feeling adventurous, I’d love to toss in Stegosaurus Butte. The only downfall about summer is that it’ll be busy. We lucked out and pretty much had the trail to ourselves last Sunday.
One last photo, of the trees and moss between the parking lot and bridge. Pictures don’t do it justice. It so pretty, all green. And it looks like the most soft place to flop down, even though it totally isn’t with all the logs and rocks. But in my head, it’s super soft, and cozy and warm.
Until next time, next weekend. And hopefully no more car problems. After dropping me at home, Karann’s car started smoking on her way home. She ended up having it towed and needed a new water something, pump maybe? I’m not a car person.