Walter and Sara Let the good times roll
Walter has renewed his interest in old mining sites of late. And the good news is that there are a TON of them in the Washington Cascades not far from home. So on July 13, 2010 we went up near Index (just 25 miles from home) to visit the Lake Serene Mine just off the Lake Serene Trail.

The cool thing about this hike is that not only did we get to visit the old mine that Walter wanted to see but we also got to visit Bridal Veil Falls which is on a spur trail off the Lake Serene Trail--a two-fer!

It being a Tuesday we thought that we'd have the trail to ourselves as we usually do on our mid-week hikes. This must be a really popular hike because there were 12 cars in the parking lot when we arrived at noon and we saw tons of folks on the trail.

The trail starts up on old mining/logging road and at first we thought that it was going to be kind of boring. Wrong! The road washed out a number of years ago and it doesn't take long for the trail to become steep narrow and rocky.

Early on, it crosses a creek with the strangest bridge I've ever seen.

Bridge on Lake Serene Trail near Index WA

This is looking back at it after we crossed it. The slats are just far enough apart so that you have to pay attention to where you're walking and the big gap in the middle is a step down in the middle of the stream of goodness sake! But it does the job; you do get from one side of the creek to the other so let's not complain too much.

The plants growing along the trail are pretty typical of areas where there's been a lot of mining and logging--the underbrush is kind of thick and there's lots of very common roadside sorts of plants rather than anything exotic.

There is a large grove of big old alders that are moss covered and pretty neat. And in one section the moss was so thick I had to take out the camera.

Mossy tree on Lake Serene Trail near Index WA

Doesn't the moss growing in the roots on the left look like a fairy used moss to cover the steps up to her house?

Two different kinds of moss on Lake Serene Trail near Index WA

This moss looks soft to the touch but instead it was wet and scratchy!

Mossy tree on Lake Serene Trail near Index WA

Here's Walter under a moss draped tree patiently waiting for me to finish taking photos.

Walter Cooke under a mossy tree on Lake Serene Trail near Index WA

Here's a close-up of one of the branches. Cool stuff, huh?

Moss draped limb on Lake Serene Trail near Index WA

We hiked along until we found the unmarked turn-off to the old mine site. Thank goodness for the Internet where Walter found detailed instructions on how to get there.

The trail to the mine connects up to the old Lake Serene Trail which was basically an unmarked scramble up Mt. Index (an over 2000 ft gain in a couple of miles). At the beginning of the old trail is a grotto with a memorial to 3 hikers who died in an avalanche on the trail in the late 90's.

The cliff was dripping with little streams of water and had a very nice collection of Maidenhair ferns on it.

Grotto with Maidenhair ferns on old Lake Serene Trail

Having found that landmark it wasn't hard to find our way to the entrance to the mine.

Adit of Lake Serene Mine near Index WA

We hiked on down to the entrance...

Adit of Lake Serene Mine near Index WA

And peeked in...

Entrance to the Lake Serene Mine near Index WA

It's more than a little dark in there and well known to be wet and muddy. Neither of us had much desire to go inside (thank goodness) so I just shot this photo with my flash. Mostly what I got was the wall of the mine but you get the idea. It's an old copper mine so it has some interesting colors from the oxidized copper.

Inside the Lake Serene Mine near Index WA

There's an upper entrance to the mine too (or maybe a different mine known as the Honeymoon Mine) but it requires a serious scramble up the mountain and over lots of wet mossy rocks. Two young men who stopped by the mine while we were there were more than willing to make that hike but we decided that the hike to the waterfall would be more our speed.

We rejoined the Lake Serene Trail and hiked a ways to the trail sign pointing up the hill.

Bridal Veil Falls sign on the Lake Serene Trail near Index WA

It's only a 1/2 mile hike up to the falls from here but beware not only is it up hill, it has stairs.

Stairs on the Bridal Veil Trail spur of the Lake Serene Trail near Index WA

In fact, there are two sections of them totaling 13 staircases in all.

Stairs on the Bridal Veil Trail spur of the Lake Serene Trail near Index WA

There are also lots of minor stream crossings and rock scrambles. We were lucky in that some of the stream crossings were dry even though it had rained the night before. And just when you're least expecting it, the view opens up and you can see the Skykomish Valley.

Skykomish Valley view from Bridal Veil Falls trail near Index WA

That little beige squiggle to the left of the shrub on the right is Hwy 2!

After the second set of stairs you come to the falls.

This is the view from the bottom of the falls.

Bridal Veil Falls from the lower viewing area near Index WA

And the cascade that flows from it's base.

Cascade at foot of Bridal Veil Falls near Index WA

From here we hiked up yet another set of stairs to a second viewing area. The falls were really roaring and the mist was blowing back on us. It was a trick to try to keep the camera lens dry.

Bridal Veil Falls from upper viewing area near Index WA

You can see the water boiling over the top in this close-up. By this point I was getting wet which felt good after getting heated up climbing all those stairs.

Closeup of top of Bridal Veil Falls near Index WA

We hiked back down to the lower area again and I got this photo of Walter with the falls before we started the glorious nearly all down hill hike back.

Walter Cooke and Bridal Veil Falls near Index WA

We stopped on a big old rock to take a picture of this self heal (Prunella vulgaris) and eat a snack bar. And of course two sets of hikers passed by in just that little bit of time!

self heal (Prunella vulgaris)  on Bridal Veil Falls trail near Index WA

While I was at it I shot some photos of this Western Boykinia (Boykinia occidentali).

Western Boykinia (Boykinia occidentali)  Western Boykinia (Boykinia occidentali)

We saw tons of folks coming up the trail as we came back down (we'd seen a bunch coming down when we were hiking up too) including guys running for goodness sake!

Just before we got back to the trailhead we came to this lovely patch of coastal hedgenettle (Stachys chamisonis var cooleyae). It's awful pretty stuff for such an ugly name!

coastal hedgenettle (Stachys chamisonis var cooleyae)  coastal hedgenettle (Stachys chamisonis var cooleyae)

If you get a chance take the hike up to Bridal Veil Falls--it's a bit of a challenge but worth it. It's 4 miles round trip with an 800 ft elevation gain.