Hike day, Thursday 6/24--trying to get a hike in before the Great Heat Wave descended on us. Arrived 0815 and took the 10th spot in the lot just as the Forest Ranger was pulling out with a truck bed full of woody debris. Thanks for the clean outhouse. Found the road conditions fine for my Highlander, potholes ez to navigate around. The trailhead with wilderness register stand is easily located across from the lot toward the bridge.
WoW.. the flowers began right away and continued to the top; pretty amazing show. 'AlpsDayTripper' offered a fantastic floral list on their June 6 report. I'll add that: the Jeffrey Shooting Star in the upper meadow (1/2 mile from Pass) are so bountiful! As well the Anemone drummondii is in full bloom all over. I believe we also saw one of the endemic flowers, Wenatchee Mtn. Desert Parsley. And many others.
The sight and sounds of the very full Stafford Creek was an added bonus; multiple small creeks to cross. Easy stepovers and great paw relief for the canine hikers. Plenty to filter from as well. The last creek is on the uphill side of the top meadow, 1/2 mile from the Pass.
What a vista to behold when your eyes crest the Pass; almost surreal. I was gonna stop here while my son went on to the summit but another hiker suggested continuing on to 'the saddle' for the views of Rainier, Adams, and Mt Stuart. A/OK! So off towards Navaho Peak we went...but Oof-that 1/4 mile was steep and slippery---just as advertised. Craig Romano says it's just a few minutes to the saddle....ha...took me 40. I ran out of ergs. Alas, the views at the saddle kept me occupied while my son jogged off the to the top. Reported that the snow field at top is ez to navigate and melting fast. And don't worry Ma....your views were 'nearly' as good.
Passed about 16 backpackers headed up in the late afternoon heat as we descended. FN: No Girl Scouts on this hike; just this leader and an Eagle Scout.