Thursday, July 28, 2011


I was dropped off at the Rattlesnake Lake Trail Head for the John Wayne Trail at 11:30 on Wednesday. 
Shortly after taking off I saw this sign:  Snoqualmie Tunnel is my destination.  The John Wayne Trail is a multi-use path (biking, hiking, equestrian) which follows the route of the now defunct Milwaukee Railroad. 
Grades are generally slight, no more than 4 or 5%; however, it is a constant uphill climb for the 18 miles as you go from 1000 ft at Rattlesnake Lake to 2550 at the entrance to the tunnel. 

The road surface is very coarse gravel (several inches deep in places) with fist-sized rocks occurring quite frequently. 
The larger trestles have been retained with appropriate safety fencing added.
There is a plethora of flora along the way however, I saw very few animals--my wheezing and gasping for breath undoubtedly warned them of my approach. There are also numerous waterfalls, visible and unseen but heard.
I finally arrived at the west portal about 5:30 and after taking an obligatory picture, began setting up my camp for the night and preparing a most welcome dinner.

The next morning (today) I entered the dark hole that is the west portal. Almost immediately, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel--2.2 miles away! The east portal is the white spot in the lower center of the picture--the white spots on the left and right are reflectors along the sides of the tunnel.

After a relatively short 20 minute ride, during which I was 'rained' on by water seeping through the hundreds of feet of earth above me, I arrived at the east portal.
The remainder of the trip was mostly a downgrade however, since there is less traffic on the eastern approach to the tunnel the areas of deep gravel and fist-sized rocks became more numerous. I got some good scenery views from the 'other side' of Lake Keechelus.

After being battered by the increasing number of rocks for 20 miles, I decided to call a halt when I reached Easton. I was going to ride the remaining 12 miles to Cle Elum on the freeway, but as luck would have it, Frances was only five minutes behind me on her way home from Tacoma. Thus ended my jaunt through the tunnel; it was a good experience but not one that I would want to do again--I'll stick to paved roads from now on!

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