Trail No. 1215
May 22 -23, 2010 A Mountaineers backpack trip on the Ingalls Creek trail to the junction of the Falls Creek trail. We were originally scheduled to hike to Packwood Lake, but the weather forecast predicted a 60% chance of snow in the Goat Rocks Wilderness area, so we changed plans at the last minute and headed to Ingalls Creek instead. It was a good choice, as we had sun and mild temperatures for our trip.
The creek was running high and wildflowers were blooming. Although balsam root was past prime, there were plenty of the other usual suspects in full bloom: lupine, flowering currant, paintbrush, small woodland star, arnica, trillium, and glacier lilies to name a few. We set up camp at the Falls Creek campground, then took a short hike past camp before clouds threatened us with rain. As we stood on the trail, we could see a fine rain falling but we couldn't feel it. We gathered around a warm fire at camp for dinner and cheesecake, then called it a night. In the morning the weather was moody--first overcast, then sunny, then sprinkling, then more sun. We spent a leisurely morning packing up camp and by the time we started hiking out, day hikers were hiking in.
About a mile from the trailhead, we encountered an unusual hiker, and our imaginations ran wild. He claimed to be hiking to Snoqualmie Pass, the PCT and Pyramid Peadk and was wearing blue jeans, flannel shirt and work boots. He was hauling in the strangest gear I have ever seen on the trail. A body-sized canvas duffel bag, a large suitcase on wheels, a huge water container....his progress was slow, and we could see his tracks on the trail for a long distance. Our group should be screen writers, judging from the scenarios we bandied about on our hike out! A little research at home revealed that we had met Robert the footlocker hiker. Apparently he is legendary in these parts for his unique backpacking style, but he seems to have traded in his footlockers for a wheeled suitcase.
One last surprise was in store for us; 15 minutes from the trail head, the skies opened up and dumped rain and hail on us. The hail was large enough to hurt and covered the ground in a blanket of white. A great trip made memorable by meeting Robert the footlocker hiker.
11 miles roundtrip