Saturday and more rain coming on Sunday. What to do? Gary and I were
thinking about a wet day on Tiger Mountain just to get in some mileage
and elevation gain. Why not take a chance on better weather in the
Teanaway area? At the last minute we decided to head east. We had mist
or rain most of the way to Easton then it began to clear. By Cle Elum
it was looking pretty good. We still had to drive back west. Things
were still looking okay at the Stafford Creek Trailhead. We were the
only car there at 8:50 am. By 9:00 we were on the trail.
It was chilly but we set a good pace and before long my pants legs were
zipped off and stowed. Strong winds were forecast but down in the
Stafford Creek valley it was calm. Colors are turning and only a few
flowers remain. The creeks and Teanaway River are very low. We reached
the four mile mark at the Standup Creek junction in 1:30 and started
the interminable switchbacks. Long switchbacks with very little
At the meadow there are still some flowers blooming. We were still
feeling good on the hike through the moonscape section then on to
Navaho Pass. Two hours fifteen minutes for 5.75 miles with 3000' of
gain is a pretty good pace for me. Much of the Stuart Range was in the
clear though the taller peaks were in the clouds. It had been four
years since I hiked up the trail to Navaho without snow. Recent reports
showed it to be more a trail than the old scramble boot path. That
proved to be true.
Just above the pass there was a very loose scree section of the County
Line Trail. It has been rerouted. The old boot path has been swept free
of rocks and sloping tread has been leveled. It really is just a trail
walk to the summit now. Even the junction with the County Line Trail
now has multiple cairns and a path hacked out of the hard ground. We
slowed down as the route became steeper but still kept up a pretty good
pace. We reached the 7,223' summit at noon, exactly three hours after
starting. The wind began blowing as we neared Navaho Pass and it was
blowing very cold on the summit.
We headed out of the wind taking the summit register along. The peak
has had a pretty busy summer. While we were eating and enjoying the
view two folks came up from the east ridge side. They were a couple of
hunters out for the high hunt. The ridge from Navaho Pass to the summit
is the wilderness boundary so we were never in the hunting area. They
had come up from Shaser Creek on a long journey. Nice guys. We talked
for quite awhile.
The calendar may say summer was only a few days past but it was cold on
top. We brought along winter clothes and used much of them. Before
leaving we headed a short ways down the east ridge. Gary spotted some
larch trees below on the north side of the ridge. In fact, some of them
were just starting to turn golden. I not never noticed larch trees
there before. With sub freezing temperatures coming the next few days
golden larch may not be far away.
Despite the cold we managed to spend 1:45 minutes on the summit.
Offsetting the cold was a lot of sunshine. It was cloudy all around us
even raining hard near Ingalls Lake but we were under a donut hole of
sunshine. It took us less than half an hour to reach Navaho Pass. We
shed the gloves and jackets as we were almost out of the wind. Soon we
saw fresh foot prints but not any people.
We were within about two miles of the trailhead when we met two hikers
coming up. Right at the very end we met two more. Two groups were
packing up after just beating us back to the lot. That was it for the
whole day. Almost total solitude on a pretty popular trail. We came
down at 4:15. Later I looked at our Navaho trip from 2004. We met at
7:00 just like this day, we started at 9:00 again and strangest of all,
we finished at 4:15. Matching all three times without knowing them in
advance is a weird coincidence.
It rained most of the way from Cle Elum to North Bend. Our trip east
proved to be exactly the right prescription for a soggy day in the
mountains. Snow will soon be flying but it was nice to get in one more
7,000' summit on dirt.
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.
Some Blue Sky
Near Navaho Pass
Stuart Range From Pass
Trail To Summit
Stuart In The Clouds
Stuart Range Clearing
Gary On Summit
Jim On Summit
Larches Below Ridge
Lots More Larches
More Golden Larch
Rain To The West
Twisted Old Log
Lone South Side Larch
Harebell Hanging On
More Fall Color
Trips - 2008