Last October I made my first visit ot Lake Ann in the
Teanaway to see the golden larch trees. I found many larch and no people.
This year Gary and I had planned an overnight trip along the Carne High
Route to see larch. The poor weather report changed our plans and Lake Ann
looked like a good fall back option. Suzanne and Sadie joined us. Suzanne
and I were on the road by 6:00 am and met Gary at the Issaquah P&R at
6:30. By 8:30 we were on the trail. There were a half dozen or more iced up
cars and one school bus in the 4243' Ingalls/Esmerelda parking lot. It was
32 degrees as we began to hike and a good early pace helped us warm up.
The trail is so gently graded that a fast pace is easy. We were in clouds
most of the drive over but the sky was now blue. We soon had good views
up to Esmerelda Peaks. There are not many leaves along the trail but the
grassy meadows and ferns were golden. A little before reaching Fortune Pass
we turned off on the County Line Trail heading up towards Lake Ann. The ground
was frozen but we were now in the sun and it was feeling much warmer. The
trail up to the ridge top is a little rocky but easy enough to follow.
The trail soon crested the ridge coming down from the summit of Fortune
Peak at an elevation of about 6480'. To this point we gained just over
2200' in about 4 miles. There are no larch trees visible all the way to
the ridge top. The north side of the ridge is covered in larch. We also
had a good view of some fresh snow on South Ingalls Peak. The sun was just
peaking over Fortune Peak giving us some interesting light and dark conditions
for photos. As we began the 300' descent to the lake we heard voices. Down
at the switchback we met the backpackers. It turned out to be Bob and Kolleen,
the Trail Pair. In a strange irony, we had invited them to join us on our
Carne trip for this weekend. Each of us chose Lake Ann instead. They recognized
Sadie, Sadie's Driver, and Gary form previous reports. They had spent the
night at Lake Ann and were just heading out. We said our good byes and continued
down to the lake.
Sadie was quick to jump in the lake. What she didn't know was that the
entire lake was covered by a coating of ice. The ice broke, she ended up
in the water and quickly jumped out. That was the end of her aborted swim.
The larch were just about at their peak. Suzanne and I had 4 days of larch
in the Enchantments two weeks before. For Gary this was his first larch
trip in two years. We all took advantage of the sun and golden trees to get
in some photos.
After a bite to eat we headed back up to the ridge. It was time for
part two of the trip. I had been up Fortune Peak three times previously
but never up nor down via the usual ridge route. One spot on the ridge
looked bad from the trail coming up. I knew there was a scramble trail and
was interested in how it ascended that spot. We headed up the ridge staying
close to the crest. The south side of the ridge was sunny and dry though
some ground was frozen hard. The north side was shaded and had some light
ice and snow cover. We were able to follow the route much of the way. When
I got off route the going was still pretty easy to figure out.
At the bad looking spot there is a gully which goes right on up. At one
point we had to traverse to the left side of the ridge but the footing was
fine although icy. Sadie, with four paw drive, had less trouble than any
of us. In due time we reached the 7382' summit of Fortune Peak. Some clouds
were now coming in but the views were outstanding. Mts. Daniel and Hinman
had nice white coatings of fresh snow. Rainier and Glacier Peak were visible.
On my last visit to
the visibility was about 10 feet. Ingalls Lake was below and Gallagher
Head Lake shone in the sun through a gap in the ridge to the south. Directly
below were all the golden larch in Headlight Basin. The summit really does
have some outstanding views.
The summit register is still missing but someone has built a huge cairn.
We had a leisurely lunch while enjoying the views. There was virtually
no wind and with the sun the temperature was almost pleasant. All to soon
it was time to head on down. We followed, more or less, the route Gary
and I took on our last visit. We started down the ridge route a short distance
and then went straight down the slope. It remained moderately steep the
whole way back down into the valley but the footing was excellent. In less
than a mile we lost 2200' and popped out onto the trail right where a group
was taking a rest. They did not seem the least bit surprised to see us
coming off the side of a mountain.
The rest of the way out was on the very gentle trail on which we had
begun this hike. Over the course of the day we saw the Trail Pair, one
hiker at the ridge above Lake Ann, and several groups in the last few miles
on the Esmerelda Trail. Not bad considering that the parking lot was full
with 16 cars parked down the road as well. Totals for the day were about
the same as a hike up Mt. Si, 8 1/4 miles with 3400' gained. Ingalls Pass
and lake are deserving of a visit in October but for some larch and solitude
it's hard to beat Lake Ann and Fortune Peak.
Several photos courtesy of Suzanne Hartman
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.
South Ingalls Peak
Larch At Lake
Photo Page 2
Trips - 2005