Larches in the North Cascades

We wanted to take one last opportunity see the larch trees at their peak of color.

On October 5th we packed the car and headed up Highway 20 for Colonial Creek Campground. Along the way we saw the dismaying effects of summer fires on ridges and meadows.

Once we had set up camp, we decided to hike up nearby Thunder Knob. Shocked by low water levels in Thunder Arm and dead pine trees along the trail, we still found beauty in scarlet vine maples and yellow big leaf maples. We heard the calls of chickarees and the swishing wings of a raven overhead as the sun set.

The next day we got up early to hike and search for larch trees. We started up the Blue Lake trail about 9:00 in cloud and fog. We saw the first clusters of golden trees at 5500 feet and ascended into glowing groves of them all around the rim of Blue Lake by lunchtime.

Rain was coming in the distance, and with it, the golden needles were about to fall. We had gotten there just in time to see them.larches2