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Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 1756 | TRs
Location: Welcome Pass
Sadie's Driver
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Sadie's Driver
PostTue Oct 06, 2020 3:58 pm 
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Timing is everything! Barry and I have been to the Star Lake/Star Peak area several times - mainly to peak-bag. So, this trip was purely to soak up what Mother Nature had to offer. We couldn't have picked better timing. It was smoky/hazy when we left Wenatchee on Thursday - but by Friday Noon, it began to clear up and was crystal clear the rest of our stay. The temperatures were amazingly mild as well.

There were two cars in the parking lot when we arrived; and we saw a couple on their way out as we were headed in. Never saw the other people - but we did see their tent quite a ways from our campsite near Star Lake. We used Star Lake as our base camp and did daily explorations from there. Matt and Carla joined us around dinner time on Friday night and left Sunday morning. We left Monday morning.

In all - 40 miles of wandering; 15,000' of gain and so much gold and red brightness we needed TWO pair of sunglasses!  cool.gif  lol.gif

Day One - Thursday, Oct., 1
West Buttermilk Creek Trailhead to Star Lake.

Crossing West Fork of Buttermilk Creek
Crossing West Fork of Buttermilk Creek
Heading up the West Buttermilk Creek Trail to Fish Creek Pass
Heading up the West Buttermilk Creek Trail to Fish Creek Pass
Starting to see lots of color ahead
Starting to see lots of color ahead
More color on the way to Fish Creek Pass
More color on the way to Fish Creek Pass
Star Peak to the south
Star Peak to the south
Reaching Fish Creek Pass
Reaching Fish Creek Pass
Hazy/smoky when we get to Star Lake on Thursday afternoon
Hazy/smoky when we get to Star Lake on Thursday afternoon
Star Lake - Fish Creek Pass & Courtney in the distance
Star Lake - Fish Creek Pass & Courtney in the distance
Sunset Thursday night
Sunset Thursday night

Day Two - Friday, Oct. 2
Star Lake to Gray Peak -then Tuckaway Lake - two scrambles and back to Star Lake.
Met two women on the summit - twins from Whidbey Island. Two of the four people we would encounter on our whole trip (other than those who were camped at Star Lake during the weekend - but we never saw any of them on the trail/cross country we did). Headed from Gray down to Tuckaway Lake; then scrambled up to Pts. 7925 and 7968 to the north above Tuckaway. Had lunch on Pt. 7968 and saw Matt & Carla's tent at Eagle Creek Pass. We went cross country and connected back with the Chelan Summit Trail back to Star Lake. Carla and Matt appeared right at dinner time (they had to fix their own dinner!  agree.gif )

Gray Peak ahead
Gray Peak ahead
Oval Peak in the distance
Oval Peak in the distance
The twins heading from Gray to Courtney
The twins heading from Gray to Courtney
Descending from Gray Peak to Tuckaway Lake
Descending from Gray Peak to Tuckaway Lake
Pt. 7968 above Tuckaway Lake as seen from Gray Peak
Pt. 7968 above Tuckaway Lake as seen from Gray Peak
On top of Gray Peak - Cooper eyeing Oval Peak
On top of Gray Peak - Cooper eyeing Oval Peak
Looking up at Pt. 7925 from Tuckaway Lake (we would scramble up it)
Looking up at Pt. 7925 from Tuckaway Lake (we would scramble up it)
Tuckaway Lake
Tuckaway Lake
Dog in Tuckaway Lake
Dog in Tuckaway Lake
Looking north from above Tuckaway Lake
Looking north from above Tuckaway Lake
Tuckaway Lake
Tuckaway Lake
Point 7925 above Tuckaway Lake - one of the two "bumps" we would scramble up
Point 7925 above Tuckaway Lake - one of the two "bumps" we would scramble up
From Pt. 7968 - our lunch spot -looking down on Tuckaway Lake
From Pt. 7968 - our lunch spot -looking down on Tuckaway Lake
Still some snow from two weeks ago
Still some snow from two weeks ago
Crooked Larch
Crooked Larch
Looking back at our lunch spot above Tuckaway Lake
Looking back at our lunch spot above Tuckaway Lake
Cross country
Cross country
Looking up towards the Tuckaway Lake Basin and on of the peaks we summited earlier
Looking up towards the Tuckaway Lake Basin and on of the peaks we summited earlier
A lovely trail - part of the Chelan Summit Trail
A lovely trail - part of the Chelan Summit Trail
Just because
Just because
Old burn area on the traverse from the shoulder of Gray Peak back to camp
Old burn area on the traverse from the shoulder of Gray Peak back to camp
Star Peak
Star Peak
Looking up at Star Peak from our campsite
Looking up at Star Peak from our campsite
Star Lake Larch
Star Lake Larch
Home for four nights (it's "ok"!)
Home for four nights (it's "ok"!)

Day Three - Saturday, Oct. 3
Star Lake to Baldy Saddle - ridge walk to Baldy Summit. Then to Indianhead Pass and Finney Lakes and back to Star Lake.
Matt left us at Baldy to go try and find Scaffold Peak (and ended up not getting back to camp until 10:15 p.m.!) Barry, Carla, Cooper and I headed down from Baldy to connect to the Chelan Summit Trail to the junction with the Indianhead Pass trail. We hoofed it up to Indianhead Pass; then dropped down to Lower Finney Lake, then Upper Finney Lake and made up our own route to get to the basin below the Pass and the Lakes to get back onto the trail to hike back to camp. At the junction with the Indianhead Pass/Chelan Summit trail, we ran into two women - of course, Carla knew them. The only two other people we would see in our wanderings. They were headed into Finney Lakes.

Looking west across the meadow below Star Lake
Looking west across the meadow below Star Lake
Meadow below Star Lake - Baldy summit the peak on the left
Meadow below Star Lake - Baldy summit the peak on the left
Heading up to Baldy saddle
Heading up to Baldy saddle
Cold morning . . .
Cold morning . . .
Gray Peak in the distance with faint snow trail on the shoulder
Gray Peak in the distance with faint snow trail on the shoulder
On our way up the trail to Baldy saddle
On our way up the trail to Baldy saddle
Reaching Baldy Saddle
Reaching Baldy Saddle
Star Peak in the distance
Star Peak in the distance
Leaving Baldy saddle to cross-country to Baldy summit
Leaving Baldy saddle to cross-country to Baldy summit
Morning haze
Morning haze
Heading to the round knob of Baldy (which we determined is NOT the summit - so we did the real summit instead!
Heading to the round knob of Baldy (which we determined is NOT the summit - so we did the real summit instead!
Matt at Baldy saddle to run the ridge to Baldy summit
Matt at Baldy saddle to run the ridge to Baldy summit
Early morning traverse to Baldy saddle
Early morning traverse to Baldy saddle
On our way to Baldy - Star Peak prominent
On our way to Baldy - Star Peak prominent
Baldy saddle below - looking north to Star and Courtney
Baldy saddle below - looking north to Star and Courtney
Looking south to Finney Peak
Looking south to Finney Peak
From Baldy summit
From Baldy summit
Selfies on Baldy summit
Selfies on Baldy summit
Summit dog
Summit dog
On summit of Baldy looking west
On summit of Baldy looking west
Looking back up at Baldy
Looking back up at Baldy
Connecting with the trail to Indianhead Pass
Connecting with the trail to Indianhead Pass
Ho-hum
Ho-hum
Heading to more Larch
Heading to more Larch
Along the trail to Indianhead Pass
Along the trail to Indianhead Pass
Too bad the colors are so blah
Too bad the colors are so blah
Looking northeast - back across the first basin/meadow we traversed
Looking northeast - back across the first basin/meadow we traversed
On our way to Indianhead Pass
On our way to Indianhead Pass
Surprise Lake below
Surprise Lake below
Basin/meadow below the trail to Indianhead Pass
Basin/meadow below the trail to Indianhead Pass
Looking across from trail to Finney Peak
Looking across from trail to Finney Peak
The meadow below Indianhead Pass
The meadow below Indianhead Pass
Looking east from Indianhead Pass towards Bigelow - Surprise Lake below in foreground
Looking east from Indianhead Pass towards Bigelow - Surprise Lake below in foreground
Looking west from Indianhead Pass
Looking west from Indianhead Pass
Lower Finney Lake as we are coming down from Indianhead Pass
Lower Finney Lake as we are coming down from Indianhead Pass
Seasons are changing
Seasons are changing
Larch
Larch
Thru the Larch wonderland
Thru the Larch wonderland
Gentian
Gentian
Carla heading to Lower Finney Lake
Carla heading to Lower Finney Lake
Colors everywhere
Colors everywhere
Simply gorgeous
Simply gorgeous
Carla & Barry with a dog in the water at Lower Finney
Carla & Barry with a dog in the water at Lower Finney
Colors
Colors
Colors
Colors
Colors
Colors
Lower Finney and reflection
Lower Finney and reflection
Heading to Upper Finney Lake - lower Finney below us - Indianhead Pass behind
Heading to Upper Finney Lake - lower Finney below us - Indianhead Pass behind
Upper Finney Lake (a bit shallower than Lower Finney)
Upper Finney Lake (a bit shallower than Lower Finney)
Bonus Phinney tarn
Bonus Phinney tarn
The photo-bomb photo (Carla was hungry)
The photo-bomb photo (Carla was hungry)
The artsy photo
The artsy photo
Dried up Finney tarn
Dried up Finney tarn
Looking down on Surprise Lake
Looking down on Surprise Lake
Broad meadow below Finney Lakes
Broad meadow below Finney Lakes
Looking back towards Finney across the basin/meadow
Looking back towards Finney across the basin/meadow
Traversing one of many basins today
Traversing one of many basins today
Summit Wilderness Trail that goes from Stehekin to a junction to Prince Creek
Summit Wilderness Trail that goes from Stehekin to a junction to Prince Creek

Day Four - Sunday, Oct. 4
(Matt and Carla left in the morning to head to Tuckaway Lake and then out)
Star Lake to Baldy Saddle - traverse over several basins to reach the ridge above Bernice Lake. We stayed too high on the way over and got into some nasty side-hilling - but found a much more agreeable route on the way back. this was one of the prettiest, most Larch-intense areas I have seen. Lots of BIG old Larch, too. An area that hasn't seen a fire in a long, long time - fortunately. It was so pretty. On our way back, we could tell the weather was changing. It got windy and chilly. A lot fewer people back at Star Lake by the time we returned. The winds died down and the temperature moderated overnight.

Glacier Peak in the distance to the west
Glacier Peak in the distance to the west
The saddle ahead of us that we will climb (above Bernice Lake)
The saddle ahead of us that we will climb (above Bernice Lake)
More of our traverse
More of our traverse
Part of our traverse
Part of our traverse
Barry below me - at the edge of the basin below Bernice
Barry below me - at the edge of the basin below Bernice
The steep slope we had just traversed down
The steep slope we had just traversed down
Red and gold
Red and gold
Lots of shutter delay - with a contrail above
Lots of shutter delay - with a contrail above
Coming into the basin west of Bernice
Coming into the basin west of Bernice
A huge ol' Larch
A huge ol' Larch
Entering perhaps the most spectacular Larch basin below the west ridge above Bernice Lake
Entering perhaps the most spectacular Larch basin below the west ridge above Bernice Lake
Bernice Basin
Bernice Basin
Bernice Basin
Bernice Basin
More of the Basin below Bernice Ridge
More of the Basin below Bernice Ridge
Basin below the Bernice Lake ridge
Basin below the Bernice Lake ridge
Looking across the basin below Bernice to Baldy (on the right) and Finney (on the left)
Looking across the basin below Bernice to Baldy (on the right) and Finney (on the left)
Bernice Lake below
Bernice Lake below
Oval peeking over the top of the ridge
Oval peeking over the top of the ridge
Really cool-looking clouds above Star Peak
Really cool-looking clouds above Star Peak
Heading back to camp
Heading back to camp
Quack
Quack

Day Five - Monday, Oct. 5
Star Lake to trailhead
A bit nippy in the morning - but not terrible. We were on the trail a little before 9 a.m. and made it back to the car by a little after Noon. We saw two solo hikers on their way in. Just as we were coming to the parking lot, we heard this loud rustling in the brush - thinking it must be a huge creature - it actually was THREE huge creatures! Not exactly the wildlife we were expecting to see - Cooper went nutz.

And, as we were packing up to leave, three hikers arrived back to the parking lot . . . what a surprise! Andy Dappen and his daughter Allison and friend Adam. You may know Andy from all his adventures and formerly owner of Wenatchee Outdoors. He lives in Wenatchee and is a good friend. Nice to see a familiar face.

So, we had five blissful days - off the grid and unaware of the craziness going on - thankfully. Thank you Mother Nature! Looks like the weather will turn by Friday. We couldn't have picked a better weather window and the Larch were either at peak or just past. Seems early this year.

Looking back from Fish Creek Pass
Looking back from Fish Creek Pass
Many colors of Fall
Many colors of Fall
Wildlife at the trailhead!
Wildlife at the trailhead!
The end
The end

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Four-paw buddy lets me tag along!
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triad
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PostTue Oct 06, 2020 5:43 pm 
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WOW those are some great larch views! I need to make it out there in the fall some time. The larches were all still lime green when I covered a lot of the same ground earlier this summer.
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kloria
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PostTue Oct 06, 2020 6:12 pm 
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Looks like I was following in your footsteps. I was on Buttermilk Ridge and Courtney on Saturday, camping on the ridge between Courtney and Gray. Then did Gray and Baldy on Sunday. Your shots around Finney have me wishing I ventured more that way. Nice photos, it's cool to see others perspective in the same terrain. Here's my photo dump from this weeks episode of Larch Porn (larch enthusiasts only).
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Matt Lemke
High on the Outdoors



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High on the Outdoors
PostTue Oct 06, 2020 7:34 pm 
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Wow, excellent photos. Looks like it's still smoky there too

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Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 1756 | TRs
Location: Welcome Pass
Sadie's Driver
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Sadie's Driver
PostTue Oct 06, 2020 8:49 pm 
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Matt Lemke wrote:
Looks like it's still smoky there too

Matt - we were getting the smoke from a new round of wildfires in California. It was pretty much gone on our second day in the afternoon. Beautiful blue skies after that.

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Matt Lemke
High on the Outdoors



Joined: 15 Jul 2010
Posts: 1960 | TRs
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High on the Outdoors
PostTue Oct 06, 2020 9:26 pm 
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Sadie's Driver wrote:
Matt Lemke wrote:
Looks like it's still smoky there too

Matt - we were getting the smoke from a new round of wildfires in California. It was pretty much gone on our second day in the afternoon. Beautiful blue skies after that.

Nice that's awesome. It's been lingering here in Colorado. I cut my long weekend last weekend short because of it.

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bobbi
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stillaGUAMish
PostWed Oct 07, 2020 8:12 am 
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WOW!  excellent!  thanks for sharing your photos!  someday, LOL

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"Today is your day!  Your mountain is waiting.  So…get on your way!" - Oh, the Places You’ll Go! By Dr. Seuss
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Nancyann
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PostWed Oct 07, 2020 8:42 am 
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That looks like a fun trip wandering through larches for 40 miles, away from the crowds. Beautiful pictures!
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BarbE
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PostWed Oct 07, 2020 9:32 am 
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Sadie's Driver wrote:
Simply gorgeous
Simply gorgeous

That‘s downright indecent! biggrin.gif
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Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
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Location: Welcome Pass
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Sadie's Driver
PostWed Oct 07, 2020 9:39 am 
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BarbE wrote:
That‘s downright indecent! biggrin.gif

I warned you!!!  lol.gif  agree.gif  embarassedlaugh.gif

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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Larch Porn in the Chelan Sawtooths - Oct. 1 - 5
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