We finally got a chance to make it back up Esmeralda Basin. It has been several years and our last trip was in the fall. It has a great spring bloom.
It was the usual 2.5 hour drive from Seattle to the trailhead. The road up the Teanaway is very good but we got stuck behind a horse trailer and it was slow and dusty. Cough... Cough...
The parking lot was pretty full but it is shared with the Ingalls Lake and Long Pass trails. We saw few people on the trail.
The trail starts in the woods and after 1/4 mile it passes the trail to Ingalls Lake. Shortly after the junction, we crossed some of the many side streams and started seeing wildflowers. At first, it was mainly penstemon, lewisia and delphenium. Gorgeous blue delpheniums.
A bit further, we came across one of the great meadows along the trail. It was filled with just past shooting stars and just starting to bloom Elephant Heads. We had some nice views of the surrounding peaks. Farther along, the steam followed the trail and looking closely along the mossy edges we found a native sundew. It is always great to find native insectivorous plants.
We continued on and emerged out of the tree into the rocky serpentine area. The scarlet gila was just starting to bloom. We stopped for lunch under the shade of a low pine.
The trail continued up and re-entered the trees. Here we came across amazing slopes of shooting stars among the streams. We could see the saddle of Fortune Pass above but first the trail would make a couple of wide switch back up the slope gaining us more views down the basin.
After about 2 hours we made the pass. Here among the silvered snags we looked out over the Alpine Lakes wilderness and Mt. Daniel in the distance.
A quick trip down and it was out for burgers in Cle Elum before heading home.