I joined Karen, Kim, and Steve for a return trip to
the Standup Creek trail off the Stafford Creek Road in the Teanaway area.
Rather than the usual race up Earl Peak this trip was more a case of stop
and smell the flowers. Or in this case, stop and photograph the flowers.
I have been here in the spring and enjoyed the flowers but this time they
were even better than I recalled. We met in Preston at 8:00 am and reached
the Standup Road intersection at about 9:40. There was a hand written sign
stating that a log blocked the road 1/2 mile up. The road is very narrow
with little chance to turn around in the first 1/2 mile so we chose to walk.
It's only 1 mile to the trailhead.
The road turned out to be in surprisingly good shape. There were several
logs across the road and all had been recently cut out. There are half
a dozen eroded dips but my Subaru could have handled them easily. Most cars
could make it up. If in doubt the road walk is easy and goes fast. On my
last visit in 2002 the road continued past the trailhead and on up to the
old lookout site. Now the road ends at the trailhead and a foot bridge is
in place where a culvert allowed cars to continue on. There is a trail sign
at the footbridge but not one where the trail quickly leaves the road. The
sign there has been removed. Do not walk far on the road. The trail starts
The flowers began with monkeyflowers at the edge of the parking lot.
They continued almost without a break for the whole day. Tiger lilies and
columbine were present early on. In fact, we saw the rare yellow columbine.
It was a challenge to photograph them in the wind. There was enough to make
photography difficult all day. The trail begins on an old road. When I
began hiking this trail it was very much a road. It is now looking more and
more like a trail as trees and brush narrow the route.
We made very slow progress as there was plenty of photos to take.
It very soon was apparent that flower photos and not a summit was the
goal for the day. There are seven creek crossings and in the spring they
can be challenging. We all brought creek crossing shoes just in case.
On the first one several of us rock hopped and several crossed on logs
a little upstream. The flowers continued including lupine, indian paintbrush,
vanilla leaf, nootka roses, honeysuckle, bead lily, bog orchid, waterleaf,
larkspur, solomons seal, and more in the lower elevations.
Most of the other stream crossings were too wide to step across but
we managed to get across with dry feet. The water was definitely lower
then early June of 2002. After a steady gentle climb the trail got down
to business. Much of the elevation gain is in the last half. While steeper
it remains well graded all the way. The few very steep exceptions are in
places where the trail at one time avoided a downed tree by going steeply
up. Now the detour has become the new trail.
Elevation gain took us from the dense underbrush to more open country.
Here the flowers changed to more paintbrush and dry soil flowers. A bit
higher we reached balsamroot in full bloom. A flat spot gave us a chance
for a food and water break. From here you can see up to near the summit
of Earl Peak. We found several yellow and red paintbrush just above here.
Just before the Standup/Bean trails intersection we found lots of shooting
At the intersection we took a right turn. Our last crossing of the
creek was an easy step across. The creek here is a series of waterfalls
on a grassy hillside. We had sun much of the day but clouds were now coming
in. The trail traverses the slope to the right and into forest. Here we found
snow. The trail was increasingly snow covered here but still not hard to
follow. Soon we were at the saddle. From this 6200' spot the trail drops
to meet the Stafford Creek Trail. The other side of the ridge was snow free
though there is still snow down in the Stafford basin.
We sat out of the wind to finish our lunch. Across the valley Miller,
Little Navaho, Three Brothers, and Navaho were clear of clouds. McClellan
Peak in the Stuart Range was also visible. The top of Little Annapuna
and the other Stuart peaks were lost in the clouds. It was already past
2:30. The debate was whether to continue on to the summit of Earl or head
straight back down. We decided to give Earl a shot.
We stayed below the ridge top where possible to reduce the wind. The
summit was a little cloudy and light snow began to fall. Three of us still
had shorts on but it was getting cold. At 6500' we went up to the ridge
top and across to escape the wind. With the clouds and increasing wind we
chose to turn around. Above the pass we did see douglasia, pasque flower,
and a few other new flowers.
The drop to the pass went quickly. Rather than slog down the snow we
went cross country to reach the trail. The rest of the descent was slow
and steady. Carol and her boyfriend Scot passed us on the way down. Young
knees went down much quicker than our group. We took many fewer photos
on the way down. At long last we reached the trailhead. That just left
the last mile of road. As always it seemed to have become much longer since
We stopped in Cle Elum for dinner. On the drive home it began to rain
just west of Cle Elum. By Easton it was raining hard. It did not let up
until near North Bend. A long wet drive home. In the Puget Sound area it was
completely dry. At least we were not rained on that hard while on the trail.
This was a very good flower hike. I had fun hiking with Karen and Kim again
and for the first time with Steve. For the day we covered 11 miles with
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.
False Solomons Seal
Photo Page 2
Trips - 2007