Central Cascades

Lake Wenatchee and Stevens Pass
Monday, October 1
Because of almost certain sustained rain in the north, we decided to move a bit south and spend some time in the Central Cascades where rain was much less likely. We found a very nice Forest Service campground very near the shores of Lake Wenatchee. It is still quite cold here, but other than light showers last night, looks to be a dry couple of days. The campground is nearly empty. Amazing what a little rain and cold will do.Monday morning we set out for a short hike around the lake. The trailhead was just a few miles down the road from us. It runs through Wenatchee State Park – which is also just across the road from our camp. A short drive to the trailhead and we were walking through the groomed forest within the state park.The groomed thinning allowed for lots of new undergrowth to flourish, and this time of year it means lovely bursts of color.Mult-colored vine maple is most abundant, but birch is turning now as well as multiple other shrubbery.  The 2.5 mile trail is wide and very easy to walk. It meanders through colorful forest for a time before breaking out to the lake itself. Todays gloomy cloud cover, while not producing any rain, has made the lake look rather dull. So back into the forest we went.

Deception Falls
It was still early afternoon and we wanted to see more. Clouds were increasing though, so we decided on a drive-look over to Stevens Pass on WA-2. The pass itself was kind of disappointing. The heavier cloud cover obscured much of the mountainside and no roadside pull-outs meant pulling off was to risky. The color just wasn’t happening here. We drove on to Deception Falls just a few miles further. The falls actually pass under the highway as they cascade down the mountain.There was really one vantage to make pictures, and that involves walking under the overpass on a steel walkway to a platform. There is also a short half-mile path that ran along the river an through the very mossy forest.  As the trail switchbacked down to the river, I came across a small set of made objects sitting on a log. Seeing them brought to mind language and communication. What would a civilization look like who used these objects to communicate? Down along the river I found a nice frothy cleft of water and rock.  As we finished the short loop, light rain began falling. It wasn’t going to get better this late in the day, so we returned to camp for the night. It’s really amazing how much time we can spend of stuff like this. Even today when the photography was not going particularly well, we managed a few nice images.

Icicle Gorge and Tumwater Campground
Wednesday, October 3
|A very cold and sunny morning was waiting for us when we awoke. Outside, ice formed on any surface holding last evening’s raindrops. We didn’t rush to rise until the shine started to. Once the ice melted, we got moving and managed to get out on the road. We headed to Icicle Gorge and a trailhead 17 miles up in there somewhere. Along the way we stopped a couple of times for views of the Wenatchee River. It’s about the first sun we’ve seen in last few days. Icicle Creek Road starts out in the town of Leavenworth, but quickly heads out towards the mountains. Once in the canyon, the road turns to gravel and narrows. There are plenty of turnouts and wide spots for passing. Quite a few campers out here as well. Many looked long-term. At the start of the canyon, there was little foliage turning color, but as we gained altitude, more and more were seen. We found our trail with no problem. The entire loop is 4.5 miles and looked to be pretty easy, but we decided to do only a portion of the trail that follows Icicle Creek. We could hike to a bridge the crosses the creek and decide whether to go on from there.
I had in mind more flowing water pictures, and at the bridge we found some nice vantage points to work from. The creek (not sure a torrent like this should be considered a creek exactly), thunders through a chute of solid rock. It has created potholes and worn smooth rock revealing interesting veins of quartz. A good piece of time was spent here. We continued on the trail a little further to an overlook of the creek. From here, the trail turned back toward the starting point, but on the other side of the creek. Mary decided to turn around here, but I wanted to walk the rest of the trail back to another bridge. Mary would meet me there, cutting about a mile off my extended hike. There was some nice color here and there, but little access to the water from this side. In fact, the trail leaves the river completely for a time before coming back at the next bridge. Just as I was walking across the bridge, Mary pulled up from where we had parked at our original starting point. Here at the  bridge I found pine needles getting caught on a submerged log and being guided along the edge as a stream before being released at the end. I made a few versions of it. We were done for the day. Not real energetic for us, but a nice day.On the way back to camp, we decided to stop for a time at the Tumwater campground. We’d heard this was a great location for autumn color, but when we arrived, we found it closed. We parked outside the gates and walked around inside. The place looked to have been  closed for a very long time. We found out later it was closed after a large fire elsewhere. It seems it would often be in the path of flooding caused by the now denuded mountainsides. It has been closed for several years now. The color here was not spectacular, but good for a few more images. Tomorrow, we hike another favorite: Sauk Mountain trail.

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