Mountain Top Waterfall in the Tumwater Canyon

Wenatchee River in Tumwater Canyon

 Stevens Pass on Highway 2 crossing the Cascade Mountains is a spectacular route for a roadtrip anytime, but particularly in early June. As we headed east toward Leavenworth to celebrate our anniversary, we watched for the changing vegetation to signal our crossing into Eastern Washington. Soon lodgepole pines infiltrated the Douglas firs and vistas became more open.

  We knew we were almost to our destination when we entered Tumwater canyon. Nineteen years ago, beginning in July, 1994, a raging wildfire had started on nearby Icicle Creek, destroying a number of homes near Leavenworth. It burned over the mountains and down to the tumbling waters of the Wenatchee River, leaving a blackened skeleton forest interspersed with untouched trees. Now the slopes were green again, though bleached and ghostly snags still stood along the ridges.

It was while I gazed up at some of those craggy ridges that I glimpsed a waterfall I’d not noticed before. It seemed to pour out of the very top of a mountain as if blasted from a fire hose. I saw it for only a minute before another mountain’s shoulder hid it from view, although we saw a large creek plunging down the rocky bank into the Wenatchee River.

Next morning we went back, hoping for pictures. Fortunately not too many people were on the road that early, because we had to drive back and forth several times before we found it again. We pulled off where the shoulder widened a bit and I shot the photo below. The waterfall looked much smaller than it had the afternoon before. I wondered if it came from snow melt which would increase as the day warmed. Perhaps it isn’t even there later in the summer. (Can you see it, next to the peak in the center?)

An east-side Cascade waterfall and snags burned in the 1994 Hatchery complex fires

Through a telephoto lens

From :

In 1994, about 180,000 acres of forested land in Chelan County burned. In Leavenworth two fires – “The Hatchery Complex” and “Rat Creek” – burned out of control and people were forced to evacuate.

• 2,400 firefighters from 24 different states worked to save the town.
• The fire traveled at speeds exceeding 50 mph.
• 950,000 gallons of retardant were dropped over Chelan County.
• 14 homes were destroyed in the Icicle Creek Canyon.
• The fires started July 24th and were out December 24, 1994

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