Backpacking to Earl Peak vie Bean Creek Trail
9 miles roundtrip, 4500′ elevation gain
September 12-13, 2015
I decided to take the guys out to the Teanaway area for our second annual backpacking trip. Although there aren’t too many lakes to swim in, I figured with the cooling fall temps they would rather bag a peak. I had Earl Peak in mind from my trip to Navaho Pass a few weeks back. The meadow along trail 1369 that I scoped from the Navaho Pass trail seemed like a nice place to camp with easy access to the shoulder of Earl. I figured rather than hiking in on the Stafford Creek Trail (1359) as we did last year, we should check out the Bean Creek Trail instead. We had a group if five including Luke, Luke, Nick, Ricky, and me.
We got a late start from Seattle because some people thought meeting at 8 am meant starting to pack at 8 am 🙂 We got started hiking at 11:30 am. It was a bit hotter than I was anticipating, but as we got further up the trail the elevation and breeze cooled things off. We made it to the southwest ridge of Earl Peak around 1:30 pm. I had read the map a little bit wrong and hadn’t really anticipated us dropping down before going back up as much as we did. We descended about 400′ before reaching the spring marked on the green trails map. We were beginning to get a little worried because we hadn’t seen water in a while, but were greeted by a flowing stream when we reached this point. We filled up here and slugged back up the 400′ to our campsite on the southeast ridge of Earl and made it there just before three. This campsite was awesome with views of the whole Navaho Pass area and no other groups coming through the entire night! We actually camped just above the meadow that I had in mind heading into the hike.
We did some afternoon lounging in the bug-free, prefect temperatures while enjoying some of the snacks and beverages we carried in. We made dinner before heading up the ridge of Earl Peak for the sunset at 6 pm. It took us about forty-five minutes to hike up the ridge and we timed it perfectly for the sunset! We enjoyed some beverages while watching the sun go down. It was very windy at the top which made it difficult to make tea with our stove. Nonetheless, it tasted delicious. The sun set at 7:30 pm and we made our way back down to camp with headlamps. We played some cards before calling it a night.
It ended up being one of the windier nights I have spent in a tent. Fortunately, no tree limbs fell on any of us and we were treated to a beautiful sunrise from our tents at 6:30 in the morning! We got an early start hiking out and were back to the car at 10:30. This was an awesome trip with a great group!