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Morning At Chinook Pass

The weather from today through the coming Sunday is slated to be HOT, blue skied sunny. Woke up to blinding skies and decided Ford and I needed to get out – work could be done later tonight. Sounded good to me! Loaded up our daypacks and took off for Chinook Pass on Hwy 410, mostly to check out snow levels, etc.

Just below Chinook Pass, looking back at Mt. Rainier. Lower Tipsoo Lakes are just starting to melt, a ribbon of open water in the middle.


Upper Tipsoo Lake, below Naches Peak still mostly frozen:


The outlet has started to break up though:


Looking at Naches Peak from the east side of Chinook Pass. The PCT is visible if you can see the straight line in the snow cutting across. This side always has snow longer.


Ford and I got on the PCT at Chinook Pass and headed North. There was a little snow left at the access for horses but easily crossed.


The open avy slope just pass the parking lot was starting to pop open in Glacier Lilies:


Western Pasqueflower with Glacier Lilies:


More Glacier Lilies:


Lupine and Bear Grass in bloom as we continued on North:


Within a 1/2 mile or so from the trailhead the flowers started changing – the lilies and others that emerge as the snow melts were replaced by Lupine that was just starting along with Bear Grass. I always get so happy when I see Bear Grass – since it is hard to quess when you will see it in bloom!


Scarlet  Paintbrush (I also saw lots of Phlox and even Magenta Paintbrush! As well, the Huckleberries are already forming berries.)


Looking back at Naches Peak:


It was blazing hot by 11 am – the sky was not giving any breaks!


Eventually the trail goes into the woods and as expected we encountered the usual pile o’ snow that loiters into July back there. It was at least 3 feet high and did run down into the woods below as well. Still, it wasn’t bad and later in the day (say after 10 or 11 am) it softens up from a sheet of ice.


On the way back the Bear Grass was just too awesome to pass up.


Snow wise everything seems on schedule or ahead for melt out. The flowers are coming on strong. Still I have to be patient for the other side of the PCT to open up. A couple more weeks is all! But what can I say – I was at 5400 feet hiking in alpine meadows with no bugs. Life was good this morning!