Ingalls Lake (Oct 26, 2019)

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ingalls_lk_coverConditions: Day hike
Gear: nothing special
Map: USGS Mt Stuart
Area: Teanaway
Reference: 100 Hikes in Washington's Alpine Lakes
Stats: 8.78mi, 3076' gain (round trip)

Yes, this is a popular trail most any time of the year. Sprinkle in some golden larches and you can't exactly expect solitude. But holy cow! The crowds!

First...No dogs are allowed on the trail up to Ingalls Pass or beyond. There are signs everywhere. One at the TH, one at the first trail junction...another at Ingalls Pass. I don't subscribe to hikers I encounter who have dogs where dogs don't belong saying "what was I to do?" My response has always an alternate hike. To flagrantly disregard the no dogs allowed notices really pisses me off...and I like dogs! You can't claim you didn't know. The information is pretty easy to find on the FS website. In'd have to be blind to miss at least 3 posted signs advising the no dog regulation.

Second...The party size limit once you enter the Wilderness (at Ingalls Pass) is 12. The trail to Ingalls Lake enters Wilderness right at Ingalls Pass. Again...see first note. There are signs at the TH and again at the pass indicating there are party size restrictions in the Wilderness, in this case it's 12. Since no dogs are allowed...that means 12 people. Read up more on the regulations. If a group larger than 12 shows up you can't just split into two groups...there cannot be any coordination between the two groups and the groups must be completely separate (including a physical distance of 1 mile between the two group).

I'm not sure I'll ever understand why some people (dog owners here) think they are so special that they get to ignore the NO DOG rule on this trip. I have complete and utter distain for those of you who blatantly think you are that special. Get over it. Your dogs aren't' permitted and aren't wanted here.

Steve had never been to this lake so given how long larch season seemed to be lingering this year...I figured we could eek in one more trip. Larch trees were definitely past prime but...the needles haven't yet started to fall. So, by my book this trip counted as a larch trip!

We arrived early and managed to fit into the trailhead proper parking area. It wouldn't be long after we arrived that people would be forced to park along the road. We did find this on the drive out. One car parked almost half way into the roadway forcing cars trying to leave to enter the ditch to get around the poorly parked car. Good grief.

Sparse snow just out of the parking area that ever so gradually increased the higher up we hiked. By the time we reached the pass there was probably 1'+ of snow on the ground. Never used the gaiters since the snow was so well packed down to form a mini trench. This continued all the way through Headlight Basin and up and over to the lake.

Lots of hikers at the lake but not crazy mobbed like I've seen on previous trips. That's definitely because the larches were past prime color.
Headlight Basin Slideshow

(click on map to view a larger version)

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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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