One of my absolute favorite things in the world is the beautiful larch trees which grace the North Cascade mountains for a few fleeting days each fall. In early fall 2023 we were blessed with enough rain to put out the summer wildfires, followed by some of the clearest and most perfect weather I've ever seen in this area. I returned to one of my favorite trails, which has sadly become horrifically overcrowded during larch season with literally thousands of hikers. I hiked the main loop, but my main reason for returning here was a much lesser known spur trail mostly used by mountain climbers. I spent the night at a gorgeous lake which I've seen photos of for years but only recently found out the location. While I've enjoyed many good larch hikes in the past, the trees this time were more at peak than I've ever seen before, along with the best visibility and least haze I've ever seen. After sunset I set up my camera and left it running for two hours, capturing my first ever star trail photo, which turned out great! The next morning, sunrise was like something from a fairy tale... some of the most incredible light and colors I've ever seen.