Long’s Pass – near Mt. Stuart

Even though I still have a huge photo backlog, I’m posting this from last weekend. Otherwise, it won’t get published for quite awhile.

Last Saturday, I wanted to see the larches change color. In case you don’t know, larches are one of the few coniferous trees that shed their needles every autumn, but only after the needles change to a gold color. So, I headed up to the Teanaway region, in the vicinity of Cle Elum.

Most people never see the larches, because they only grow at about 6,000 feet (2,000 meters) elevation. Okay, technically, there are some varieties that grow at a lower elevation, but those are not in the Cascade Mountains (they’re in eastern Washington). Besides, that high elevation gives me an excuse to go hiking! 🙂

My original plan was to hike up to Ingalls Pass or Lake Ingalls. I saw from trip reports that there was a couple feet of snow, so I brought my snowshoes. However, there were a lot of people on the trail (you should have seen the full parking lot!), and all the snow was stamped down. On the way up the trail, I saw a sign for a trail to Long’s Pass. This was very appealing, because there was only one set of footprints in the snow (the road less traveled, don’t you know?).

So, I basically broke trail by making my own path to Long’s Pass. Gad, what a workout! One advantage of hiking in the snow is that you can ignore the existing trail (if you can even find it), and go straight up the slope if you want. This is very tiring, but it’s exhilarating because you feel like you are the first person to go that way. Also, since it is on snow, you don’t have to be concerned about causing erosion.

Long story short, I made it up to Long’s Pass and discovered that I was too early, because all the larches were still green. I didn’t care, though, because I blazed a trail to the pass, which is an achievement in itself. Also, the view from the pass was stupendous! Mt. Stuart towered in front of me. In the opposite direction, I could see Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams in the distance. Wow!

Still, I haven’t seen the larches change color, so I’m going back next weekend, this time to Lake Ingalls.

On to the pictures. Enjoy!

Esmeralda Peaks (only one is shown here). I like the texture of the clouds next to the mountain)
Esmeralda Peaks (only one is shown here). I like the texture of the clouds next to the mountain)
Wider view of Esmeralda Peaks
Wider view of Esmeralda Peaks
A slightly more artistic view of Esmeralda Peaks. Mt. Rainier is visible on the far left.
A slightly more artistic view of Esmeralda Peaks. Mt. Rainier is visible on the far left.
View from Long's Pass. In the foreground are my footsteps. In the background, you can just barely see Mt. Adams. To the right is Mt. Rainier.
View from Long’s Pass. In the foreground are my footsteps. In the background, you can just barely see Mt. Adams. To the right is Mt. Rainier.
Mt. Stuart as seen from Long's Pass
Mt. Stuart as seen from Long’s Pass
Another view of Mt. Stuart
Another view of Mt. Stuart
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