Larch season – something I have never heard of before until I met Derek. He planned this trip. We were to head out to Lake Ingalls trailhead and make it to the top for sunset. Of course, on the 3 hour drive out there, we made a wrong turn and ended up at the wrong trailhead. About an hour setback. Which in turn, threw us off for our sunset mission. Instead, we made it to the lake for blue hour and had to rely on long exposures to see further than 50′. Backing up, walking through the larches were magical, and I now know why people obsess over this season. We didn’t run into any mountain goats, but heard stories from fellow hikers as we passed them. We met a couple of hikers backpacking and were tempted again with the opportunity to stay, but this time we decided against it. We had no fire lookout or tent or candles to keep us warm. So illuminated by headlamps, we descended back down. The hike down was in the pitch black, barely illuminated by the night sky. It was wild. We experienced rain AND snow on the way down. By the time we reached the car, the Milky Way was out so we grabbed a couple of shots before peacing out.