Navaho Peak

Daylight saving time ends and it now gets dark at 5:00 pm. I wanted to get in one more long trip to a high summit before the snow hits. With the early darkness I set my alarm for 5:00 am By 6:00 I was on the road. I settled on one more trip to the Teanaway Valley this year. I zoomed on to the end of pavement at 29 Pines and reached the dirt road. The first thing I noticed is that the barrier was gone from the Jungle Creek Road. I hope it has been repaired. I was on the Teanaway Road just a few weeks ago and it is even worse now. I took my Saturn Sport Coupe and some of the pot hole/lakes nearly swallowed it up.

At the Stafford Road I turned right and.... the road became even worse. I'm naming the biggest puddle "Teanaway Lake". I reached the Stafford Creek Trailhead just after 8:00 am and was the first to arrive. By 8:15 I was on the trail. It was plenty cold but the sky was blue. Only a few red leaves left on the bushes. Lots of water in Stafford Creek though the side creeks are still easy to get across. I made steady progress. Once out of the valley bottom it warmed up.. a little. After two sets of switchbacks I reached the creek crossing. 1850' gained in 1:20. Now I left the trail and headed straight up. It's 1200' more to reach the saddle between Little Navaho and Navaho.

The ground was frozen higher up. A little icy snow remained. Not so hard that traction devices were needed. I was afraid it would be windy at the pass but it was nearly calm. The ridge of Three Brothers is still snow free. Down below I could see the Negro Creek Valley. It is awash in peaking larch trees. Hundreds of them. I have not been on Navaho in October. There are many larch trees below and in the distance. After a short break I packed up and headed up the ridge towards Navaho.

The boot path comes and goes but it's not hard to find your way up the ridge. Over 6000' it was cold but the bright sunshine made it more than bearable. The Stuart Range has a coating of snow and soon Fortune and Ingalls came into view. The ridge walk is a joy and with fresh snow on nearby peaks and bright sun it was as good as I have seen it. I reached the 7223' summit at 11:30. 5 1/2
  miles with 4200' of gain in 3:15.

There were clouds to the south and some far off to the west. Otherwise it was all blue sky. Mt. Stuart has a coating of fresh snow. Fortune and Ingalls are really covered. Navaho is just as tall though it is nearly bare. I found just a few patches of snow. Best of all the wind stayed away. I spent a half hour on top enjoying the views. At noon I headed down. Just below the summit I found one peaking larch tree on the south side of the peak. Most larch seem to like north sides. Other than a lot of photos the hike down to Navaho Pass went quickly.

At the pass I met the first two people of the day. Larch trees near the pass are about done. Only a few needles remain. Higher and lower they are still orange but at the pass larch season is over. I dropped down through the plain where nothing grows and then down to the meadow. Below the meadow are several switchbacks that go on forever. I passed two bicyclers here. The old trail dropped nearly straight down to Stafford Creek. Now it takes at least four times longer. That old trail has been gone for more than three decades.

Less than a mile later I reached the creek and completed the loop. Now it was just retracing my morning steps. At 2:50 I reached the trailhead. 6 1/2 miles down from the summit in 2:50. What a terrific day! Solitude, fantastic views, a fun scramble, and a great summit. Snow will be coming soon and it may be a long time until I can scramble up to 7200' without snowshoes. The biggest surprise of the day was the amount of larch trees still going strong on November 1st. It was a really great day to be in the mountains.

Only Car In The Lot
Frost Log
First Larch Trees
Larch Along Creek
Nice Color
Little Navaho In Sight
Sun On Larch
Heading Off Trail
Stafford-Standup Ridge
Frosty Ground
Grade Moderates
Navaho Ridge
Icy Snow
Ridge From Saddle
Three Brothers
Snow On Other Side
Saddle & Little Navaho
Larch Below
Negro Creek Larch
McClellan Peak
Ridge To Summit
Fortune & Ingalls
Rock-Snow Contrast
East & West Brothers
Larch Below Ridge
Angry Cloud
Snow On Mt. Stuart
Hawkins & Esmerelda
Earl Peak
Cloud Level
Jolly Mountain
Ingalls Creek
Ingalls & Fortune
Summit Trees
Ice Crystals
Larch Near Pass
More Larch
Gold & Green
Twin Falls
Last Larch
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2009