Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Challenging Fall in the Pacific Northwest

Ingalls Peak and fall larches from snow-covered
Headlight Basin in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
The snow came early to the mountains of the Pacific Northwest this year, making it more challenging to visit some of the more popular larch shows in our area.  Couple this with colors running late and the government shutdown closing all the national parks in our state, and it has been a test for even the most patient and understanding photographers and hikers.

Despite a run of nice weather over the last week or so, temps remain cool up high (as one would expect) and the snow does not appear to be going anywhere.  The usual suspect for displays of larch have only been available to those prepared for snow travel.  These destinations include:   Ingalls Lake, Enchantment Lakes, Lake Stuart and Horseshoe Lake, Carne Mountain, Cutthroat Pass, Snowy Lakes, Blue Lake, etc.

What do we have to look forward to?  According my weather forecasting friends, October is not supposed to see any storms this year.  While we might have some minor systems move through, the extended forecast is one of relatively nice weather.

There are many areas of bright fall colors remaining to be enjoyed lower down in the coming weeks, including along the Columbia River Gorge, the lower western slopes of the Cascades, Sol Duc, Crescent Lake and Dosewalips areas of Olympic NP, and if one is willing to put some miles under their wheels, the northeastern part of our state is always a great choice.

Wherever you elect to go, remember that hunting season is well underway and the wearing of bright colored clothing is highly recommended if hiking in areas with hunters present.

Good luck in your search for colors and hope to see you on the trail!

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