Phelps Creek Trail No. 1511
JULY 13 - 15, 2007 - I reached the trailhead 5 minutes before an impressive thunderstorm and waited it out in my shaking car as the wind whipped through the parking lot and lightening flashed around me. The sky cleared within a few minutes after the storm passed, almost miraculously turning a bright, clear blue. The rest of our group arrived after the storm passed, and we started our hike at 1:01 p.m. The Phelps Creek trail climbs on an easy but steady grade through a beautiful forest and enters the Glacier Peak Wilderness, crossing many small stream along the way, and finally reaches a magnificent U-shaped valley. Only one of these stream crossings, Leroy Creek, presented a bit of a challenge to cross. The hike in was hot and humid and warranted frequent stops to dip hats and bandanas in the many streams along the way. At the campsite, my tent looked out from the lower end of the meadows towards Phelps Ridge, Spider Gap, Red Mountain and Phelps Basin.
On Saturday morning I chose an option to day hike to spectacular Phelps Basin. The Phelps Creek stream crossing was a little tricky, especially on the return trip when snow melt caused the creek to run high and fast. And cold! Shortly afterward we crossed Phelps Creek, we climbed high enough to get a good view of the U-shaped valley before continuing on to Phelps Basin. Words are not enough to describe the beauty of this often overlooked basin. Jeffrey kept thinking we should climb up to green meadows in search of eidelwiess. Too many wildflowers were in bloom to list them all by name, but notable varieties included goatsbeard, pearly everlasting, cow parsnip, queens cup, western anemone (both in flower and in seed pod), glacier lily, pink monkey flower, yellow monkey flower, tiger lily, columbine, valerian, shooting star, spring beauty, lupine, alpine daisy, tall blue bells, small flowered penstemon, and sandwort.
Prelude to a Hike