This hike is in the Teanaway area outside of Cle Elum, WA. We drove over the pass Sunday afternoon and camped at the one campsite adjacent to the Stafford Creek trail head parking area. I never noticed this campsite before, but then I was never looking for a place to camp.
Nf-9703 is a notoriously bad road and a couple of years ago a portion was closed while they were logging along the road. That portion of the road has been graded and, while not a good road, it is at least reasonably flat with no large rocks sticking out of the ground.
We hit the trail before anyone else arrived and had the trail to ourselves until we hit the main trail after completing the loop. There is an avalanche area you pass through and you can sometimes see that a few trees where snapped off during the winter. This year, almost all the trees were snapped off and most had the tree carried some distance down the hill leaving only the stumps.
After leaving Navaho Peak, we quickly worked our way through the trees and attained the ridge much early than our trip last year. This avoided a steep rocky section we hit last year. Some snow was still on the ridge in a few spots.
After crossing the County Line trail, a boot path exists along the ridge that you can occasionally see. This is the trail for the Three Brothers mountain. Sly and I just followed Blue, he has a real knack for finding the trail as long as there aren't any squirrels to distract him. The route along the end of the ridge and the descent into the saddle is on a steep slope with loose rocks. I make sure I know exactly where I'm stepping.
Google Maps link Switch to Terrain for a better view
Along the lower portion of the trail.
The edge of the avalanche area.
It is hard to see in this picture, but many of the snap off trees were carried to the other side of the creek. Notice the damaged areas on the larger trees on the other side.
The only real creek crossing along the trail. This area also had an avalanche.
A wet area full of flowers.
Chasing sticks in the meadow, popular camping area.
Sly taking his last cool break about 1/3 of a mile from Navaho Pass. This is the last water until we close the loop after ascending Navaho Peak.
Happy dogs on top of Navaho Peak
Mt Rainier and, if you look closely on left side, Mt St Helens 105 miles away.
The Stewart Range
Looking back up the ridge towards Navaho Peak.
Looking down the ridge
The intersection with County Line trail.
Almost to the end of the ridge. Blue kept stopping and looking back.
He was looking at the deer that were looking at us.
The end of the ridge. Descending this ridge is the only risking part of the hike.
Water at last! Almost back to the main trail.
Color along the trail. These are all from the lower part of the trail.
If you have never eaten a ripe wild strawberry, you have never actually tasted a strawberry.