Ingalls Creek-WF Teanaway

Gary joined me for a trip to Ingalls Creek. We did this trip in 2017. It has great spring wildflowers and a roaring creek. The forecast was for poor weather west of the crest and a chance of rain even on the eastern edge of the Cascades at Ingalls Creek. We met at Eastgate P&R at 6:30 am and headed east. It rained much of the way to Snoqualmie Pass. The clouds began to break a little at Cle Elum. We arrived at the trailhead at 8:10 am. The lot was mostly full. There were plenty of people milling around. It was also sunny. We were on our way at 8:21 am. We stopped for the first flower photos at 8:22 am. We saw prairie star, lupine, false Solomon's seal, and mariposa lilies right from the beginning. The mariposas were at their peak. They were only near the start. Ingalls Creek  was running high and fast. The snow melt has been slow this cool spring leaving snow high up to keep melting. It was loud. Loud enough to make conversation difficult all day.

We also saw purple larkspur and one's with a lot of white. There were some arrowleaf balsamroot at places along the route. They were nearing the end down lower and still doing pretty well higher up. Our trip started at about 1950' and at our turnaround point at Falls Creek we were just over 3400'. Ups and downs added to the elevation gain. Indian paintbrush occurred in many places. Some of it was red, much was orange, and there were some very light yellow varieties. The crowds were not passing us early. With many photo stops a necessity, we expected to be passed quite often. Some hikers did go by but less than I expected. Those we did see were predominantly female. I would guess 75% or more were women. We saw two large backpacking groups of about 8 each. All were women. There were some families too. We saw them mostly on the way out as they hiked in. I think we saw one other group of just guys. Everyone seemed to be having fun.

For the first 3 or so miles, there were no creeks to cross. There were some spots where the trail was a muddy lake. My non-waterproof hiking shoes let in some water but it was a warm day and no problem. Other flowers showed up including death camas, yellow violets, fairy bells, red currant, ball head waterleaf, arnica, and calypso orchids. On past visits, I have seen Oregon anemone and shooting stars but did not see any this day. The last and probably most numerous were the trilliums. Most of them were light pink to purple. They were well past their peak. Farther down the trail we did see some that were bright white and fairly new. Some were very wet from rain yesterday and overnight. They were partly to mostly translucent. We could see through the leaves. I ended up with a lot of very different trillium photos.

The night before I broached the possibility of doing 10 miles instead of 14 on the Ingalls trail. We could then go back to where I had seen an incredible display of blooming bitterroot two weeks earlier. Much of those seen then had not yet begun to bloom. That was only a 4 mile round trip hike. As we neared the 5 mile mark we decided to do the two hikes instead of just one. Right at 5 miles we reached a spot we both immediately recalled from our 2017 trip. The trail came right to the side of the creek. A short drop down the bank allowed for sitting right on the shore. We headed down for our lunch at 11:14 am. As mentioned, the creek was fast and loud. It was quite a spot for lunch. Unlike the forecast, The sky was still mostly blue. We had some shade or sun at our lunch spot. For the second weekend trip in a row, Gary had a butterfly that was happy to land and sit on his hand. I took way to many photos of that. We were in no hurry to leave but we still had 5 miles to hike back, another hike to do, and a 2 hour drive home.

We finally packed up and headed out at 11:51 am. A look at the map showed we were close to the big campsite area at Falls Creek so we headed a little farther up the trail. There were a number of creek crossings and muddy spots in this section. We also saw a terrific large display of trillium from fresh white to old and very purple. This spot had a number of translucent ones. There were several groups at the campsites with room for more. We checked out the creek for a log that might go across the roaming torrent to the Falls Creek Trail on the opposite side. None was seen. It looked to be suicide to try fording at this time. Our extension turned out to be half a mile long each way. We departed the camp at 12:11 pm. Heading back we took fewer photos and made a little better time. Almost nobody passed us coming out. We did see quite a few people hiking in. The trail is mostly pretty narrow and we stepped to the side many times. The trail has many sections of forest followed by more open meadows. We had sunshine and shade. A nice combination.

After three consecutive groups of two women passed by we bet when the next one would show up. A few minutes later two women passed by. When we started hiking some 4+ decades ago there were women on the trail but far fewer than men. It is nice to see that has evened out. We took one more food and water stop with a couple of miles to go. Another spot right by the river was hard to pass by. This stop was a lot shorter than our lunch break. We arrived at a quite toasty trailhead at 2:42 pm. I brought an extra pair of socks in anticipation of wet feet. I was ready for hike #2.

We drove south over Blewett Pass and down to the Teanaway Road. We were heading for the West Fork.  As expected there were no other cars where we parked. We were on our way at 3:49 pm. Gary had seen the big meadow in early spring and late fall but not in late spring. The trees along the river were all leafed out. The grass was blowing in the wind. One reason we were a little concerned about trying this hike was the forecast for 20 mph wind gusts in the afternoon. There was a steady wind in the meadow but it was not that strong. The hillside of yellow monkey flowers seen two weeks earlier were not just some patches. The abundance of blooming wildflowers in the forest was much less now. We did see Indian paintbrush, larkspur, violet and yellow violets, and many fewer chocolate lilies. Gary did manage to get 9 chocolate lilies in one photo, however.

When we reached the slickrock I expected to see some bitterroot in bloom down lower and most of the ones up higher to be fading away. Instead, the lower ones were now in bloom and the upper ones were too. A few were past prime but most were still going very strong. Per my comment 2 weeks earlier, Gary said it was the most bitterroots he had ever seen. We took our time climbing the slope and taking photos. There was wind up here but it was still not very strong. The bitterroot are so low to the ground it did not impair photos. The real question was the status of the bitterroots on the higher next and higher slope. We dropped down to the base of it and could already see many small pink or white flowers above. Two weeks earlier this slope was mostly just buds. Now it was a riot of colors. We took more time slowly climbing up the slickrock.  At the top we stopped for one final break. For the first time since early morning, we had a cell signal and posted a few flower shots.

We took our break at about 5:19 pm. We started down at 5:46 pm, The trip down was much quicker. We took fewer photos. The slickrock sections were not fast but once off them, we set a steady pace. We heard two mountain bikers on the road as we approached. Gary saw one of them. I saw neither. That was the closest we came to seeing anyone on our second hike of the day. We reached the car at 6:41 pm. We were on our way before 7:00 pm. I arrived home a few minutes before 9:00 pm. Unlike many Sunday drives on I-90, traffic was light. It was a little later than normal and the weather looked to be poor. It turned out to be outstanding east of the mountains. A warm dry day that was not too hot. Those too hot days should be coming to the east side soon.

This turned out to be an excellent day of hiking. We did two trips totaling 15.4 miles with 2800' of elevation gain. Add in the 10.73 miles with 3400' of gain three days earlier and we had 26 miles with 6200' of gain this week. The wildflowers at Ingalls Creek were very good. The bitterroots at WF Teanaway were beyond incredible. We expected crowds at Ingalls but it was not all day long. We were early enough to limit those seen on the way in. The Teanaway hike was nearly empty as expected. With gas prices now at over $5.00 per gallon, a long drive is not cheap. Split two ways it was money well spent on a day I was away from home for 15 hours.

Lupine At The Start
Mariposa Lily
Lupine Lined Trail
Common Yarrow
Big Rock
Ingalls Creek Below
Yellow Paintbrush
Lupine Close Up
Water Catcher
Bright Paintbrush
Death Camas
Purple Flower
Gary At Work
Fairy Bells
Enchantment Peaks
Red Flowers
Big Fungus
Calypso Orchids
Arrowleaf Balsamroot
Creek Lunch Spot
Gary By Creek
Butterfly Magnet
Sky & Clouds
Wet Trillium
My Favorite Trillium
Lone Calypso Orchid
Me & Calypso Orchid
Narrow Log
Sunny Meadow
Ice In The Rocks
 Big Meadow - Hike 2
Chocolate Lilies
Great Color!
White Bitterroot
Pink Bitterroot
Very Pink
Best Colors
Gary & Bitterroot
A Fiver
Colorful Lupine
Slickrock Slope
WF Teanaway River
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2022