Teneriffe Falls hike: (labeled as an easy to moderate hike on the Washington Trails Guide!)
Trailhead elevation: 950ft
Elevation gain: 1420ft
Summit elevation: 2370ft
Roundtrip: 6miles 4hrs 40mins (with some little side excursions to go off trail and down to the water, and a short snack break at the top)
Eagle Mountain hike: (highest point in MN)
Trailhead elevation: 1751ft
Elevation gain: 550 ft
Summit elevation: 2301 ft
Roundtrip: 3.5miles ?time
It was a very beautiful hike. The scenery was exactly like what you'd think of NW Washington mountain/forest to be like; wet, muddy, large trees, old growth, thick moss everywhere. I guess the switchbacks are a new addition to the the trail. It used to be a very difficult and hazardous muddy, steep trail. The trail was often just a path across large loose rocks the size of 1-2 fists. They would shift under your feet and there would be holes between them. I'm surprised it was like that cuz I constantly felt on the verge of twisting an ankle or something. There were several areas where the trail was right next to the water, which was waterfalling down the mountain the whole way of the trail, so it was really cool. Some areas it would be just rushing past over a slight edge, maybe 1-5 feet, and other places it would be falling down a large fall up to 3 stories high. It was an incredibly impressive sight the whole way. Plus you could look out over the valley and see the neighboring mountains (most of which were a lot higher).
I was a little sad to realize that the trail didn't actually go up to the top of the huge waterfall. The official trail ends just above the bottom of the largest fall, which is very high, at over 100 foot drop. The WTA considers this the end of the hike, but there is an unofficial path to the summit. I stopped to enjoy the view and allowed myself to be sprayed by the extremely cold glacier water for a few minutes before deciding to try to press on to the summit. After about 25 mins of very scary and extremely difficult scrambling up this unofficial path, I ran into 3 people slowly and carefully making their way down. I stopped to talk to them and they admitted that they were not able to reach the top because the trail just gets worse, and then it becomes covered in ice and slush. They admitted that they had been scrambling back down for about 20 mins at the point where we met. I sadly turned to follow them down. I had purchased hiking sticks that morning for the hike, and had been grateful for them all day, but decided that I was unprepared to continue up this "trail."
I made my way slowly back down the trail, stopping to go off trail and make my way right up next to the quickly running waterfall at several scenic spots, and to take several pics. I found that very large black things that I thought were animal poop, were actually very large snails/slugs! Are they snails if they don't have shells??? Once I realized what it was that I was actually seeing, I saw them everywhere! I would see up to 10 every 1/4 mile or so.
My knee started hurting about 1/3 of the way back down the mountain trail :( but I pressed on. This was def a moderately difficult hike, and tho I was tired, I now know what it feels like to be pushed to my complete and ultimate limit; to be unable to continue; to be entirely in the belief that I am simply going to pass out or die from the effort (Peru!), and this was not even close! :+) It was very much worth the effort of a moderate hike because it was very beautiful.