On a mostly cloudy December day with sun breaks – a common weather occurrence around here – I went for a drive and found myself zipping down a lonely two lane road, 56 miles from Seattle…
A pretty waterfall tumbled down a steep hill and passed underneath the road. I pulled over, parked and got out to take a closer look.
On the concrete barrier at the side of the road was a plastic glass, full to the brim with cold rainwater,
as if set down mid-gaze by the last person who stopped to admire the pounding creek.
I never know what I’ll find when I explore back roads around here.
The road clung to the roiling Skykomish River at one point, opening up a view to Mt. Index in the distance.
Around a few curves and over a hill, “Dr. Seuss trees” gently swayed in the wind, their trunks and limbs laden with soft, wet moss.
Further on in the small town of Index (population 184 in 2012) I stopped to get coffee and look around. An old railway bridge crosses the Skykomish River there, and when you step back, there’s Mt. Index, rising to a precipitous peak.
With its crazy-steep slopes, this mountain is a well known landmark here in the Cascades. The tiny town of Index is a picturesque spot too, with its river and mountain views. Europeans began coming to the area in the late 1800’s – gold had been discovered farther east and there was plenty of logging everywhere. Nowadays river sports and the Index Town Walls draw people – Index is a rock-climber’s minor mecca. A tiny museum in town is open on summer weekends. We went in once and found it fascinating but the old gentleman who was minding the museum and wanted an audience smelled terrible. Oh well.
You can get a decent espresso or a beer and snacks at the Outdoor Adventure Center, open all year for kayaking and rafting. The last time I visited, in August a couple enjoyed a picnic behind the OAC building:
Also from the summer, the tiny Index Town Hall:
Reflecting the local penchant for idiosyncratic expression, a yard in town displayed glorious lilies set against polka dotted posts holding an old box-spring which supported vines. One aspect of the Pacific Northwest that delighted me when I first came here is local people’s freedom of artistic expression in their yards, along the streets, in parks – just about anywhere.
Before too long, those lilies will be back!