Alpine Wilderness is always a WOW moment!

I’ve completed a few hikes in the Alpine Wilderness and I always seem to be saying WOW, or beautiful, gorgeous, and the list goes on.  Lake Ingalls did not disappoint!  I’ve had a couple goals this year. One was to see goats and the other was to see a bear, but from a safe distance!  I definitely checked off one of these goals!

We’ve had some kinda crazy weather here in Washington recently plus some devastating forest fires. For a time Lake Ingalls was closed due to the Teanaway fire. It opened last week and Sunday’s forecast called for sun and 50 degrees which sounded perfect!

Four of us headed for the trail. We were a group blend of PNW outdoor women and PNW happy hikers. We all share a love of the outdoors!  Along the road to the trailhead we could see hillsides of burned trees, along with some sparesd houses. The little houses were the only things to survive. Amazing how they were surrounded by char but appeared to be unscathed. We even saw some smoldering sections and wildland firefighters doing some control burns. Amazing people!!

The temperature was a bit brisk when we arrived but the trail starts steadily uphill right from the get go so we were warmed up in a few minutes. The trail had a little bit of everything. A little mud, a little snow, a little slush and quite a bit of rocks. Let’s not forget lots of fantastic views!!  So much to look at along the way. We even had several spots to view Mt Rainier which also amazing!  It always surprises me all the different locations where you can see Mt Rainier. Such a beauty!

It appears the trail gains about 2,500 feet up to the pass. It is steady with lots of switchbacks. This is a very popular trail so there was a steady stream of people headed up and quite a few backpackers on their way out.  Everyone told us they saw goats so I was pretty excited to get to the top!  It’s a workout hike!  Took us about 3 hours to get to the pass. There were 4 goats just hanging out. One walking down the trail towards us. I’m pretty sure I acted like a kid in a candy store!  They are so darn cute!  You just want to hug them, except for those horns. They really didn’t seem to be bothered by the hikers. They just went out their own business.

At the top was the first time we got to see larches. They are quite the sight especially contrasted by the deep blue sky!!  So pretty!  Seeing a whole meadow of them either the snow and blue sky was definitely a WOW moment!!

I have to admit I honestly had no idea what they were beyond bright yellow color. Come to find out they are a deciduous conifer. They have soft needles that turn yellow in the fall before dropping them come back in the spring as green needles.  Learn something new everyday!

From the top you can see the trail around the meadow that heads to Lake Ingalls. It is about an hour hike so we headed to the lake. Most of the trail is flat except for the last 500 feet uphill. The last bit is a scramble up  rock to the lake. Luckily the snow had melted so we could see the whole hill. I would imagine in snow this would be very difficult to climb safely.

The lake looks like most of the Alpine Lakes. Deep blue water surrounded by jaded mountains!  They are just breathtaking.  We grabbed a quick lunch and decided to head back as the wind was starting to pick up.  Only took about 2.5 hours to get down. Tired feet and we were starving!  Mama Vallone’s restaurant in Cle Elum hit the spot!

This is a great hike. The scenery is amazing and did not disappoint!  I would imagine in the summer this is a popular spot for backpacking.

Another fun adventure!  Great meeting some new hikers.

Happy trails!

Hello Fall. This is Winter calling. I’m coming home early this year!

I’ve hiked to one Lookout before and that was pretty cool so I’ve been looking for a few more. Tolmie Peak Lookout in Mt Rainier National Park fit the bill!  The weather was looking a bit sketchy so I packed some warmer clothes just in case. Boy was I glad I did!

We arrived at the trail at 9 and it was snowing!!  October 1. Fall has just started and it’s snowing!! Maybe we are going to have another snowy winter!  It looked like it had snowed a couple inches overnight already. I saw a couple people loading up their car from the campground. Yep that would mean tent sleeping!  I asked how the night went and all they could say was “chilly”. I bet!  I’m a fair weather camper so no thanks!

We started at Mowich Lake which is a really dark blue. The trail goes along the edge of the lake before heading into the forest. We ran into Ryan on the trail just before the forest. This is a really nice trail. It weaves through the forest on some rolling hills but no real steep parts. You come out on a crest line and can see down to the Wonderland Trail.  That was a pretty nice view into the valley!  I have to admit I was hoping to see a bear down there but didn’t!  I really want to see goats and bears. At a safe distance that is!  We did see a couple deer up close but that was all. 

At one point you emerge from the forest at Eunice Lake. It looked kinda black today with all the cloud cover. It made some of the pictures look black and white.  We walked down to the lakeside and it was a bit slushy so of course I fell!  Luckily the snow was a nice landing. 

From the lake you could barely see the Lookout up on the Ridge. The clouds were low and fairly thick. We weren’t anticipating seeing much from the Lookout but we headed up the hill anyways. I was surprised at how quickly we made it up the hill. I was a steady climb but pretty easy. Just as we came out of the tree line a huge blue patch of sky appeared. We were able to see all the way across the valley. The snow covered tress looked like a winter wonderland with the sun shining down. It was pretty cool. We walked up to the Lookout and could see this Ridge not far away. It was encased in clouds and looked like a harsh winter environment, like Everest!!  

The birds were flying around. Someone had made a snowman by the Lookout. I took my love rock with me(that I carry on all my hikes). It honors a family who lost their son this past summer. He liked to hike so I take the rock with me on all my adventures so he can keep hiking and I photograph it for the family!  This hike I added my heart rock to the snowman at the Lookout for a photo. I packed it back out for the next adventure!

We waited for about 45 minutes at the Lookout but were only able to see a Peak a boo view of Mt Rainier. I didn’t realize how close it was.  I love hiking in the snow. It is so peaceful. So quiet. Everything is so clean and fresh. The snow resting on tree limbs. Just allows you to clear your mind and just be present in the moment. Just you and nature. ❤️

You can rent the Lookout and stay overnight. Totally adding that to the bucket list!!  That would be some incredible photos for sunset and sunrise!! Someone put a funny sign up at the “hot tub rules”. It caught everyone’s attention and you heard everyone, including us, say “there’s a hot tub up here”?  So funny!!
This one goes on the list for next summer!  A nice summer day with clear blue skies!  Mt Rainier in all her glory. 

Another excuse to stop at Pick and Shovel tavern in Wilkeson!  So good!  Best handmade onion rings ever!  The black and blue burger was pretty awesome too!  Well and the beer!

Happy trails!

Beckler Peak in Skykomish 

There are a few gems out Highway 2 around Skykomish. I’m pretty sure I saw a WTA trip report that showed some pretty spectacular 350 views from the top. I kind of have a rule about choosing hikes. I love the outdoors so really anytime outside is my idea of a good time but when it comes to hiking I want a reward. That can be an amazing waterfall, spectacular views, colorful flowers or leaves or wildlife!  Over the summer I became addicted to Alpine Lakes. The water color is just something you won’t forget. 

However now Fall has arrived and I do love maple leaves that are turning yellow, orange and red!  The colors can overtake a hillside and make it look like a painting. 

Todd and I headed out to the trail. I missed the trail sign along the highway so we had a make a short turn around. Oops!  

We were the second car in the lot and in typical Seattle fashion it was raining!  In Washington you have to be okay with hiking in the rain because they is about 8 months of our year. It’s not hard rain so really it’s not a big deal. 

This trail meanders through the forest for pretty much the entire trail. There are a couple spots where you get a clearing and can see across the valley. Well you could see across the valley if the ceiling wasn’t so low!  We were only able to get spectacular views of clouds!  We did get to see some nice Fall colors though!  A few scattered maples were very colorful and stood out next to the lush green of the firs. We saw the remnants of an old forest fire. Charred remains with ground cover that had already regenerated. The power of nature!

The top has some nice stairs that I bet a WTA work crew made!  You can stand on top of a huge granite rock and bet that view is amazing!  Again we just saw clouds but we also had a snow shower!

This is definitely a hike hat is worth coming back when the skies are blue!  I want to see the view!!

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