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Ingalls Way Trail #1390
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2018-10-01  
mini location map2018-10-01
22 by photographer avatarkeepmoving
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Ingalls Way Trail #1390North Cascades, WA
North Cascades, WA
Hiking avatar Oct 01 2018
keepmoving
Hiking11.44 Miles 4,057 AEG
Hiking11.44 Miles
4,057 ft AEG
 
1st trip
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With reports that the Alpine Larch were at peak color, I headed up to Lake Ingalls to take a peak. The weather didn't look very promising- the weather forecast showed rain that evening and overnight, but that didn't detour me from making the 5 hour drive from Portland.

Arrived at the trailhead to about a dozen other cars. It was very overcast with some ominous looking clouds overhead, but I was too excited to care about that. I headed up trail and passed a couple small groups of people headed down. One group of older ladies told me the view of larch trees from Longs Pass was spectacular- so I made a detour and headed up the pass to check it out.

I was feeling a bit mislead as I climbed towards the pass- I was eyeing all the ridges and surrounding terrain and couldn't see a single tree. Finally, right before reaching the top I spotted a single larch tree on the side of the trail that was a nice yellow color. Really hoping this was not the only tree the ladies were talking about- I continued up to the pass. The view from the top was spectacular- yellow larch trees lined the canyon on the other side of the pass and low hanging clouds danced over Mt. Stewart.

Instead of retracing my steps, I decided to head over Longs Pass and drop down into the valley- then head uphill again until I hit Stewart Pass and follow the ridge back to Lake Ingalls. I wasn't entirely sure this was possible, the maps I had all seemed to disagree as to whether or not a trail existed, but I figured it was worth a shot.

Dropping off the far side of Longs Pass was a fun class 3 scramble for the first 100 feet or so. Then the trail dropped quickly through the larch trees and down to Ingalls Creek. It definitely doesn't see as much traffic as the trails on the other side of the pass, but it was never hard to follow.

By the time I made it to Stewart Pass it started to gently rain. There was no marked trail leading across the ridge to Lake Ingalls, but I followed a faint boot/goat path and eventually ran into cairns. The lake itself was quite superb, although I was disappointed there were no larch around the shore.

Going through Headlight Basin I opted to follow the lower path to scout out campsites. I was prepared to stay the night, but none of the sites really caught my attention, so I opted to hike out instead. I passed through some more nice larch groves before going over Ingalls Pass where it finally got dark and I pulled my headlight out for the final downhill section.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Substantial
LARCH EVERYWHERE!!! The hills are golden!!!
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