Navaho Peak

Gary and John were free for a hike on the middle day of the Memorial Day weekend. Where to go? We kicked around a number of ideas. A snow scramble seemed to be the favorite idea. Gary suggested Navaho Peak. I was fine with that. John had not done any snow scrambles in the Teanaway area and was okay with it too. Then I found that a Meet Up group of 15 was heading there too. I had to lobby to keep the destination. They guys agreed. We met in Bellevue at 6:50 am and headed east. Over Snoqualmie Pass, up highway 970 and onto the Teanaway Road. Most all visible campsites at 29 Pines were taken. The NF Teanaway road was in good shape after the pavement ended. The Stafford Creek Road is always some degree of awful. Until this year. It was graded to a condition better than I have ever seen. We arrived at 8:35 am. The parking lot was full with a couple cars parked along the road right above. A big group was in the parking lot. We recrossed Stafford Creek and parked off the road. By 8:45 am we were on the trail.

We had a number of wildflower sightings though it was far from a great show. Indian paintbrush showed up early. We also saw some calypso orchids. The side creeks were easy to cross with dry feet. I checked my trip log and this would be my 17th time up Navaho Peak. Add in trips to Three Brothers and I have been up this trail many times in the past 35 years. The old trail ran right alongside the trail most of the way but several spots have washed away and detours climb above the creek then descend again. Other than those spots the route climbs at a pretty steady grade. Not too steep at all. We soon began to meet backpackers coming down. I did not expect to find folks well down the trail so early. We were able to account for a lot of the cars in the lot already. Apparently, there were not many morning hikers ahead of us.

It was nice to hike in shorts and short sleeves. A warming day but not yet hot. We reached the switchbacks under Little Navaho and continued up. We saw some glacier lilies in the meadows and spring beauty too. Before crossing the next creek we took a short break. After that is was straight uphill. We gained over 1000' in the next half mile. The grade lessened and we reached the saddle between Little Navaho and Navaho Peak. This far we had seen only a few patches of snow. We brought ice axes but never needed them. The route up the ridge was steep but snow free. Part way up the ridge I heard voices. Below in the saddle were two hikers. They caught up with us fast. John was behind taking photos. They caught him and stopped to talk. Gary and I went to the ridge top and waited there.

The other two guys went up Miller, followed the old route of the County Line Trail over Little Navaho, and were next heading for Three Brothers West Peak.  A whole lot more difficult day than we had planned. Once up on the ridge top there was snow on the left side and it was bare on the right. We had no trouble avoiding snow. Where the County Line Trail comes around Navaho and then drops off the ridge the trail is getting hard to notice. Lack of boots have left it almost invisible. There are now more of the mysterious posts down at the saddle than near the trail crossing. The last part up is not steep. Nearer the top it was no longer possible to avoid snow.  Once on the snow, it was much hotter.

Now the big question was would we meed the big group at the summit? We found only two small groups. Not all that crowded at all. There were just a few clouds. The views were outstanding. Not even much glare for this time of day. Snow is melting fast but the snow on all the peaks really looked great. We reached the summit at about 12:45 pm. The first group left then a little later the second. We had the summit to ourselves. We stayed for a little more than an hour. Perfect weather and solitude. That is not easy to get on Navaho.  When the big group arrived we packed up to go.

The top was all snow but soon enough we were back on dirt. The boot path of old is a very obvious trail now. No difficulty finding our way down. We passed a few more groups who were coming up. After 1200' of descent, we reached Navaho Pass. There is still some snow below the pass but it is melting fast. Down at the big meadow it was very wet. I did not see much dry ground to set up camp. There was a tent up at the pass. The long flat switchbacks below the meadow took a long time to descend. We stopped at the junction with the Standup Creek Trail. The two long distance hikers reached Three Brothers and caught up with us again. The last four miles seemed to take a long time. After a mile or so we closed our loop. The afternoon was quite warm but not too hot. That will change as summer arrives.

We finally reached the trailhead at 5:07 pm. My car was in the shade. A happy circumstance. This was a great day on the trail. A loud creek, some wildflowers, a surprising lack of other people, great summit views, and some off trail scrambling. There are good reasons that I find my way back to Navaho every couple of years. With the long drive and 12 miles hiked with 4200' of elevation gain it made for a long day. Long but lots of fun. One final point. Somehow, early in the day my camera switched from 16 megapixels to 2.5 megapixels. Most of my photos are low resolution and square.

Indian Paintbrush
Small Falls
Vanilla Leaf
Calypso Orchids
Below Little Navaho
Heading Up
Deep Ravine
Western Anemone
Small Old Tree
Saddle Is Above
Three Brothers In Sight
Heading That Away
John Approaches
Mt. Rainier
Little Navaho
Gary Climbs Higher
Rocky Slope
Arrowleaf Balsamroot
On Upper Ridge
Looking Down Ridge
Snowy Upper Ridge
West Three Brother
Interesting Rock
Earl Peak
Ascending On Snow
Snowy Earl Peak
All Three Brothers
Mt. Stuart
View Southwest
Navaho Summit Views
John On Navaho Peak
Stuart Range
Cascade Crest Peaks
Three Queens
Hibox & Alta Mts
Fortune & Ingalls Peaks
Volcanic Neck
Heading Down
Spiral Log
Big Meadow
Snow Around Meadow
Glacier Lily
Stafford Creek
Sunshine On Trail
Panorama View From The Summit Of Navaho Peak
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2018