Ingalls Creek

Janet and I headed east again for another wildflower hike. After the 90 degree day we had last weekend north of Wenatchee the mid 60s forecast sounded great. I was out the door at 5:10 am and we met in Monroe at 6:00 am. Mist and light rain across Stevens Pass. Sunshine in Leavenworth. We cruised into the Ingalls Creek parking lot at 7:55 am and by 8:10 we were on the trail. I was surprised to see a dozen cars in the lot. Lots of backpackers spending the weekend up the trail. It was chilly at first though that did not last long. Wildflowers began immediately. I hiked this trail for the first time in 2011. fantastic flower show that day. A pretty good one this day too. Some balsamroot at the start though it is starting to fade. The Indian paintbrush was blooming all over. Red, orange, and yellow varieties.

The trail is easily graded and very fast to hike. That is if you are not constantly stopping for photos. Plenty of lupine in bloom. Ball head waterleaf too. Spring flowers of the deep forest like trillium, vanilla leaf, and false Solomons seal. Lots of color all day long. The creek is loaded with spring melt. At times it is close and roaring. Within a mile or so we met the first group of backpackers coming out. I was surprised to find folks nearly back to the trailhead at only 9:00 am. With an early start we were in my hurry and took many photo stops. With the slower pace I expected faster hikers to catch up and pass us. It never happened.

We kept looking for all the calypso orchids seen on my first visit. It took awhile but soon we began to see them. The trail is mostly in forest with occasional breaks into the open. It worked will to warm us up and cool us down as needed. There are quite a number of campsites along the way. Short side trails lead to camps or just to the edge of the creek. We took advantage of several of these on the way back. A short distance before Falls Creek Camp the trail comes near the creek where the creek has gone wild over the years. Bare rocks and numerous braided channels tell of a flooding creek that tore out most everything in its path. Much different than the forest along most of the creek.

At Falls Creek we dropped to the creek crossing bridge that leads across to the Falls Creek Trail. The logs are largely submerged on the far side. Not the place to cross this time of year. Back on our way we crossed a rocky avalanche prone creek area where slide alder is most of the vegetation. A good view up to the big waterfall above. The route climbed to where we turned around last time. here is a good view down to the creek and across to a hillside of bright green larch trees. this open spot had balsamroot in bloom. Last time we found a big garden of shooting stars. This time we were too late. A few shooting stars were hanging on but most were done and gone.

Since we had lots of time, we chose to go on a little farther. To this point there were half a dozen trees down across the trail. One was a paint to get over or under but boot paths went around most of the rest. We found more downed trees on this final section. The trail goes into a burn. I think it is the one that burnt up the Crystal Creek drainage a half dozen or so years ago. We stopped about a half mile short of Crystal Creek. There is a big campsite on the creek that made for a good break spot. Our turn around was just over 7 miles up the trail.

Coming back a short way we heard and felt a pounding of the creek. A short off trail exploration showed the spot where the creek was forced into two narrow channels by big rocks. Back at the shooting star spot we finally met some folks hiking in. We met several other groups before getting back to Falls Creek. Some clouds blew in keeping the temperature down. The whole hike was very comfortable in shorts and short sleeves. As mentioned, we stopped several times on the way out. Nice spots right on or above the creek. It's a shame that the long drive did not allow for even more time sitting by the creek. Finally in the last few miles we saw a few groups heading in. All in all, the crowds were far less than I was expecting.

It was about 4:30 pm when we reached the trailhead. There were only half a dozen cars left in the lot. For the day we covered about 14 miles with 2200' of gain in 8:20.  We took 4:30 hiking in with many photo stops and 3:35 hiking out with several breaks. If there is an easy 14 mile hike with 2200' of gain this is it. It is never steep and the tread is mostly soft. Easy on the feet and knees. With a stop for dinner at the 59er Diner it was near 8:00 pm when I made it home. A long and very enjoyable day of hiking.

Blooming Lupine
Lots Of Lupine
Mariposa Lily
Moss Pattern
Multi Color Paintbrush
Balsamroot Bloom
Rock Field
Vanilla Leaf
Ingalls Creek
Lupine Droplet
Orange Paintbrush
Dark Trillium
Calypso Orchid
Yellow Violet
Fungus Cup
Tree Hugger
Roaring Creek
Trillium At Peak
Creek Crossing Logs
Multi Colored
Single Calypso
Calypso Pair
Oregon Anemone
Shooting Stars
Some Snow Above
Turn Around Campsite
Sunny Balsamroot
At Creek Level
Fast & Loud
Last Paintbrush
Final Flowers
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2013