A Day in The Enchantments

 

Staring at the roof of my tent I contemplated the ambitious day that lay ahead. We were to day hike in and out of The Enchantments. This is common for locals to do, as its rare to secure an overnight permit in the lotto system. But we were no locals and having spent the winter in the flat Midwest we were far from being in local hiking shape. What lay ahead was a 13 miles with an elevation gain of 4500 feet with 1900 of those feet being jammed into less than a mile, the infamous Aasgard Pass. I personally feared that I was in the worst shape of my hiking party as Kelcie had just ridden portions of Ragbrai, the bike race across Iowa, and Ailin is a collegiate swimmer back in Florida. They had also formed a tight hiking bond during their time in New Zealand, being known for their swift pace over ambitious distances. I thought I might be left in the dust.

We packed up camp, and made our way to the trailhead. The hike to Colchuck Lake was a tame 4-mile hike encompassing a mix of switchbacks and gradual bends weaving through a scenic section of the Wenatchee National Forest. With the lower section often paralleling a strong clear water creek, and at two points crossing said creek. You could tell the lake was approaching as we hiked the last quarter mile before Colchuck, the terrain started to round off and flatten in that final stretch.

Pausing to take in the brilliance of the lake we scanned the perimeter looking for Aasgard.

We immediately wrote off the opposite side of the lake as impassible and assumed it was around the corner to our right. Heading in that direction we came across another hiking party who was heading back down the trail. They corrected our course pointing us in the direction we had only minutes ago regarded as impassible. Aasgard was not grueling switchbacks as we had all assumed, rather it was an intimidatingly steep mile long rock scramble. They also warned us to stay left as a pair of hikers had already died this season trying to navigate the pass on the right side. Dope, I was actually really excited about the revelation of a rock scramble; I have a decent distain for switchback hiking as its head down hiking that leaves you gassed and often times traverses dense foliage leaving you without a view until you reach the pinnacle. Not to mention Ailin and Kelcie absolutely crush uphill swithchbacks. There was absolutely no way I would have been able to keep pace on switchbacks, but I am a pretty agile scrambler so this revelation assured I wouldn’t end up lagging into nonexistence.

As we made our way up the scramble every rest became more scenic then the last. Gaining elevation Colchuck Lake only grew in beauty. It was slow going but highly enjoyable, the attention that was required to find hand and foot holds was a welcomed change of pace from our previous hiking on the trip. Not to mention our excitement grew with the elevation, the top was near and we had no idea what lay beyond.

These photos are what laid beyond that mystical climb. I didn’t pull my camera out until reaching the top so that’s where the photographic journey begins. We were in pure bliss after reaching the summit, so I won’t even try and transcribe further. I hope you Enjoy!