Rattlesnake Mountain Hike: Teenage Wasteland

Narrowing down our choice for a day hike near Seattle was tough. We only had one day set aside so we had to make it count, and there are so many options. Ultimately I decided on Rattlesnake Mountain so we could get used to hiking at higher elevations, because it had a lake, and because it wasn’t far from Snoqualmie Falls, another stop on our itinerary.

It was only a 40 minute drive, but by the time we’d gotten coffee and breakfast, and stopped at Pike Place Market to peruse the vendors, it was well past noon. The sun was beating down and the temperature had crept into the high 80’s. This was going to be a hot hike.

Rattlesnake Lake
A beautiful day at Rattlesnake Lake.

The lake was a brilliant shade of turquoise; crystal clear and shallow, with the mountain reaching skyward behind it. Standing on that beach in the blazing hot sun and looking out at that lake. . . we couldn’t resist. We ditched our shirts, swapped our hiking boots for water shoes, and waded into the cool, heavenly water. After we were sufficiently refreshed we laced our boots back up and hit the trail.

The trees were towering overhead, providing some much needed shade as we hiked. It wasn’t a secluded area, we passed countless hikers on our way up the trail. Many of them were teenagers which, I’m not gonna lie, I found annoying. I go into “Mom Mode” when kids are around, I feel responsible for them. I will most definitely be the old lady yelling at kids to “get off my lawn.” I’m not begrudging America’s children their right to be there. I actually think it’s awesome that they’re outside instead of sitting in front of the TV. I just prefer other people’s children in smaller, quieter doses and not when I’m getting my nature on. More remote trails are preferred, but it was a lovely hike nonetheless.

The Hike
Hiking up Rattlesnake Mountain.

The view once we made it to the top was beautiful. The lake looked so far away; the brilliance of the blue water on full display from such a distance. It was hard to believe we’d come so far!

Just like the trail, there were quite a few people milling around the observation area when we reached the top; the would-be peace interrupted by the chatter of half a dozen conversations and various teenage shenanigans. We found an empty boulder as removed as we could get from the crowds and sat down to enjoy the view. Despite the throngs of teens, it was nice to sit on top of a mountain, eating a snack, and soaking up the sunshine.

A little squirrel was scurrying around looking for handouts while we were chilling there. He was a ballsy little fella, came right up to people with no trepidation, sniffing thoroughly before moving on when he didn’t find what he was looking for. I got the feeling he knew how to use his cuteness to manipulate people, cause he didn’t look like he’d missed a meal in quite some time.

 

After another brief dip in the lake once we’d finished our hike, our next stop was Snoqualmie Falls and the Salish Lodge, which were used during the filming of Twin Peaks, a show Lindsey and I were both fans of. We meandered around the viewing area for a while, admiring the falls and making Twin Peaks jokes. We wished we’d had more time to hike around the area, but the sun was setting and we were starving.

We went up to the Lodge for dinner and immediately felt out of place. It was a pretty classy joint, and we were in our dirty, sweaty hiking clothes after trudging up a mountain and frolicking in a lake all day. Awkward, but not so awkward that we chose to go elsewhere.

 

We got a table at The Attic, their more casual restaurant, and Lindsey ordered a “Dale Cooper.” Named in honor of a character from the show, she said it was the best drink she’d ever had. We were still gushing about how good the homemade chips and dip were when our entrees arrived. I have to say, their pizza may be the best pizza I’ve had in my whole life. Lindsey finished off dinner with a “Damn Fine Coffee,” another reference to Twin Peaks, and we headed back to Seattle, deciding that had been one of the best meals we’d ever eaten.

We immediately slid into the hot tub when we arrived back at Winston House. We were relaxing after smoking a joint when the kid who was renting the room next door came outside. He was young, kind of nerdy, and just stood there looking out at the dark backyard, smoking his bong and pretending he didn’t see us.

He was one of those guys who undoubtedly hadn’t spent much time around girls. It was like even though he wanted to, he didn’t know how to start a conversation, so he just inserted himself into the vicinity, smoked his bong so we knew he was “down,” and waited for us to talk to him.

Clearly this was going to be a strained interaction that neither Lindsey or myself had any interest in participating in, but we felt obligated to acknowledge him. We said hello and he came over and stood next to the hot tub, staring down at us. He was only giving minimal responses between creepy stares and bong hits (which he never even offered to share—rude) so we were forced with deciding between peppering him with questions like he was a toddler, just to keep the conversation going, or sitting in awkward silence while Young Buffalo Bill leered at us like he was trying to figure out how many lampshades he could make out of our skin. We opted for door number one and ended up having the world’s most painfully boring conversation, during which we learned he was a “gamer,” and was in town for a gamer convention. Hello, Cliché.

The whole thing was starting to feel like the opening scene of a Law and Order SVU episode.

SVU Seattle: Two best friends go on vacation together, looking for fun and adventure. The young, disturbed man with the troubled past and extensive juvey record happens upon them in the hot tub at their [insert AirBnb knock off name here]. Camera shows the women exchange a concerned look when they start to sense danger. Switch to close up of Creepy Perv’s face right before he pulls out a knife. Screen goes black. Women scream. End scene. Next thing you know Mariska Hargitay and Ice T are pulling our chopped up bodies out of Puget Sound and piecing together our last known whereabouts through our social media posts and the GPS in our rental car.

Things were getting weirder by the minute and Lindsey was the first to call it a night. I wasn’t ready to get out of the hot tub, but about 4 seconds alone with the villain from an after school special and I was heading in as well. I’m sure he was a perfectly nice, harmless kid, but there’s a limit to how long I can tolerate being looked at as though being mentally undressed. . . And possibly dismembered. Besides, we had a big day ahead of us: backpacking to Shi Shi Beach, so a good night’s sleep was required.

I’d later decide that between the crowds at Rattlesnake Mountain and The Creeper on the deck, it was my least favorite day of the trip. Then I’d marvel at how fortunate I am to have “being around a few teenagers,” and “being looked at by a weird dude” be the worst things to happen on our entire vacation. Win!

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