|Panorama, click to enlarge|
I'd read about Dirty Harry's Balcony a few times over the years. It's not a well-documented hike and of all the guidebooks I own (and that's a LOT), only two of them mention it. One of the recent ones is 55 Hikes near Snoqualmie Pass, another one of Harvey Manning's compendiums. Buy it for a song on Amazon.
Casey and I stopped at Trucktown at Exit 34 for some trucker food. Kids eat free on Saturdays and Sundays right now, so Casey ordered some chicken fingers. He wasn't hungry so we got it to go and I put the fried chicken it in my pack. We continued 5 minutes up I-90 and to exit 38, crossed the river and parked our car at the unmarked trailhead.
The hike itself is only 2 miles; an easy grade on an old logging road-gone trail. At an ancient milk jug, turn right through some trees and break out onto the SPECTACULAR balcony. The rocky point exposed 180 degrees of cliff facing east. The cliff was 200 feet down at least. I set our backpack down and told Casey he could not approach closer to the edge than that (about 8 feet). We took some great pictures, some of which I've put into a panorama at the top of this entry.
|From 2010 Hiking and Camping|
There was another father-and-son at the balcony (like us, but 20 years older each) with a golden retriever. The dog sat right next to Casey and Casey munched on the fried chicken from Trucktown. Without warning, and for reasons that are unclear even now, Casey just tossed the fried chicken up into the air out over the cliff. The dog was on its feet immediately, running.
As the fried chicken left Casey's hand and arced off the cliff, three things happened simultaneously.
- The dog launched itself for its final leap into oblivion.
- I jumped up and yelled something unintelligible.
- The long leash that held the dog to a tree went tight, pulling it back.
If you go, be careful at the top!