Ingalls Lake

Ingalls Way - Trail No. 1390


OCTOBER 10, 2009    Although we graduated from CHS earlier this month, some members of our CHS 1 group decided that we had had so much fun over the summer that we were unwilling to totally disband our group.   Several of us decided to head up to Ingalls Lake for the annual larch display.  I wanted to spend more time taking photos along the way and exploring the lake than the rest of the group, so I made arrangements to leave the trailhead 2 hours earlier and meet them at the lake.  I hiked in with another friend, who met up with her husband in Headlight Basin where he had camped the night before, so this plan worked out well in many respects. 

It was a too early to see the larches at their golden best, but the weather forecast is starting to predict snow in the mountains for early this week so we decided to make this pilgrimage while we still could.  It was 31 when we left the trailhead just before 8:00 a.m., and snowing very lightly.  The falling snow took the form of tiny, hard pellets that resembled styrofoam.  A cold little breeze kept us company as we climbed steadily to Ingalls Pass.  The skies were leaden and the colors were drab, dashing my hopes of taking good photos in the early morning light.  I left my friend and her husband at his campsite below the pass and stated the traverse to Ingalls Lake.  By the time I reached the Lake, wave after of wave of hikers were also arriving at the lake, and I knew many of them if not by name, at least by WTA or NW Hikers pseudonym.  I climbed the boulders around the lake for a while before I settled into a cozy nook with fine views of the lake for lunch and a thermos of hot coffee.  The sky brightened, cleared and became sunny, but it never warmed up.  We were all bundled up in layers and down jackets.  I decided it was too cold to wait at the lake for my CHS friends and started the hike down.  I met the advance party of my friends just as they crested the ridge, but I descended to a more sheltered area and visited with some of our group who had opted out of the final push up to the lake. 

I'll never get tired of this hike, no matter how many times I hike it.