WA – Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Ingalls Creek Trail (Sept 2021)

I’d landed in Washington in my continued attempt to escape wildfire smoke. After three days of refuge at Newberry Volcanic National Park (blog link), smoke found me and it was time to run again. I continued north finding options like Bend and John Day with very unhealthy air quality. I had moderate success in finding places to spend the night or hike waiting for the wind to shift again. One winner was in the Leavenworth area where I hiked up Icicle (1,800 feet 5.5 miles) and Nason (1,600 feet 4.5 miles) Ridges. Neither were wow worthy but helped me build my post-knee surgery fitness and kept me moving.

Between those strenuous hikes, I took a stroll on the Ingalls Creek Trail. Once again not wow worthy, but just what I needed in terms of miles, elevation gain and solitude.

Early fall colors were one reward.

Another reward was plentiful water.

After this preview of the Ingalls Creek Trail and with an inviting weather and smoke forecast, I decided to try a 3-day, mini backpacking trip. This would be my first solo since Joan helped me by carrying part of my weight in July.

I was limiting my mileage so my first campsite didn’t offer much in the way of views. This is my new weight-saving Zpacks Plexamid tent, and my first trekking pole and stake dependent shelter. After watching a couple videos I had good success at getting a decent pitch. First impressions leave me concerned about being able to avoid touching the sides in condensation situations. It’s height makes for great in-tent stretching. The DCF material won’t absorb water, another weight-saving benefit when overnighting in rain, which hasn’t yet presented for a test.

I spent a lot of time looking up at these cliffs, remembering my trip into the Enchantments (blog link) many years ago. If I was ready for more strenuous hiking I might have attempted a walk-up permit. One of the things I’m learning is patience and compromise. Baby steps will get me back faster than set backs.

Views from my second night campsite were much improved albeit the temptation to explore were almost more than I could manage. I had to say NO more than once.

Up there is Little Annapurna which I hiked when I was in the Enchantments. Here I am looking down on Ingalls Creek.

I even found a few late blooms.

Most of the fireweed had gone to seed and with each puff of wind the cotton was everywhere. I was sneezing plenty.

The magic of morning light.

One of the few friends I found on the trail.

When you are limiting your mileage, having places like this to break up the day is much better than hanging out in camp.

I can’t wait until my body is up to hiking long days again but until then I’m grateful for trails like this that don’t require advance planning.

I’m happy to have my base weight below 14 pounds.

ADVENTURE DATE(S): September 7-13, 2021



Sunset at Lake Wenatchee with a wildfire smoldering off in the distance

10 thoughts on “WA – Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Ingalls Creek Trail (Sept 2021)

  1. Looks like a lovely area! “Baby steps will get me back faster than set backs.” – Good reminder for all of us coming back from injuries and sometimes too eager to get back out there. Hopefully the smoke dies down for the west coast soon.

  2. We have a second home pretty much right across the road from the Icicle Ridge Trail. I try and hike it a few times a week, usually early morning. I like taking a thermos of coffee and a peanut butter sandwich for my break at the top. I would have liked to share your trip to the top and bought you breakfast, chatted a bit. I know you have some good stories. Next time your up this way please let me know. Stay well..

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