If I haven’t mentioned it before, I have a thing for alpine lakes. I’m not sure what it is, but something about scrambling around rocks, through trees, over ridges and finding a beautiful lake, nestled between old, mossy trees, surrounded by towering peaks, just gets me every time. Now, I’m all for getting up high atop mountain peaks and seeing the world all spread out before me. That’s amazing and awe inspiring and grand. However, when I’m truly looking for peace in the wild, for me, it doesn’t get much better than the quiet beauty and splendor of an alpine lake. This lake was no exception.
Lake Ingalls is a popular day hike near the Teanaway and just over the ridge into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. The trail is very exposed for most of the way, and as it’s on the eastern slopes of the Cascades, the trail is much drier than over here in the west. Oh, and you come up over the ridge over 6,000 ft, which is about when I start noticing diminishing O2 and start sucking even more wind. After cresting the ridge, however, you’re still not there. Which just seems cruel to me. You are greeted with jaw-dropping views of Mt. Stuart though, as well as the black-fly welcome committee. It’s still about another mile of gentle downhill followed by a short, but very steep, scramble. All of this just serves to make the view at the lake that much sweeter.
When we finally got up there, we thanked our lucky stars that we were able to drag our sorry, sleepy butts out of bed and into the car on that rainy morning. Sun greeted us at a lake that we had it all to ourselves. When the sunlight hit the lake directly, it glowed a turquoise green color that I have never seen before. Beautiful.
We both took quick dips to cool off and sunned ourselves on rocks like lizards while we ate our lunch, (it was late afternoon, but we’ll still call it lunch). The hike back down is rocky and steep, and my knees were screaming the whole way, but it was totally worth it.