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Minchi
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PostTue Sep 10, 2019 3:44 pm 
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I got a couple 3 day/2 night permits for the enchantments in mid October (yay!). However...I can't find a single friend who wants to tag along. The date is approaching quickly and I really don't want to pass the opportunity up. The idea of doing a solo backpacking trip has grown on me although it would be my first time. I'm confident in my physical abilities and backcountry skills, but I'm a little nervous about travelling as a solo female in my 20s (also I'm from California, not PNW). Are there any solo girls out there who have done this? I'd love to chat about your experience! Also are there a good amount of people on the trail every day that I can find help if I need it? I hike and backpack regularly but would love any other advice (also if you think I'm insane and stupid for doing this please also let me know). I'm looking for car rental recommendations for about 6 days where I'll be spending 3 days on the hike and another 3 living out of the car driving place to place. I don't want to spring for a campervan since it'll just be me. Also any nearby backcountry hot springs/hikes/etc. recommendations are appreciated!!
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thunderhead
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PostTue Sep 10, 2019 4:20 pm 
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Winter hits early in the high cascades.  Keep a close eye on the weather forecast.  How prepared are you for a little snow travel and cold wet windblown nights?   If the answer is "no problem so long as their is no avy danger on aasgard pass" and there are no major storms, you should be good.

Should be plenty of people up there if the weather is decent.
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Just_Some_Hiker
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PostTue Sep 10, 2019 4:20 pm 
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I'm not a woman but all of my Enchantment thru-hikes have been solo. Lots of people up there this time of year, if you get into trouble and need help. Consider buying or borrowing an inReach if you're really that worried about it. IMO you're probably safer out there alone than walking around Seattle.
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MangyMarmot
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PostTue Sep 10, 2019 4:21 pm 
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Solo female hikers are not rare around here. Yes, there will be other people around. All permits will probably be in use and there will be day hikers.
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Tom
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PostTue Sep 10, 2019 4:24 pm 
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Wherever you go, your biggest concern will be the weather in mid October. Too many variables to say at this point. Even in nice weather it can be very cold up there late season. Sounds like you are comfortable with your backcountry experience although that can mean different things to different people.
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Kim Brown
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PostTue Sep 10, 2019 4:26 pm 
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I wouldn't hesitate to do a solo trip there. There will be a lot of other people up there in mid-October. Go for it!  up.gif

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" I'm really happy about this! … I have very strong good and horrible memories up there."  – oldgranola, NWH’s outdoors advocate.
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rubywrangler
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PostTue Sep 10, 2019 4:55 pm 
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ditto.gif  If you're comfortable with what you're getting into and sure of your own abilities than go for it!*

I've done a good amount of solo female backpacking in the Cascades and Olympics and never had any issues. Feel free to PM me if you have specific questions/concerns.

*That said, I agree with others about the weather. My first trip to the Enchantments (not solo) was in mid-October and it snowed about a foot on the first night and we didn't see any other people past Aasgard pass. I was very happy to be with someone who had been there many times and knew his way around.

You could always post in the partners forum if you want company.
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Cyclopath
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PostTue Sep 10, 2019 5:55 pm 
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Bring more warmth than you think you need, at least some of it synthetic.  Keep an eye on the weather before you leave.  With luck it'll be dry, and warm-ish during the day in the sun, but cold at night.

October is when the area shows off its fall color, and people come from far and wide to see it.  They've recently changed the parking rules though and it won't be the mad house most of us in here know and love.

It's not a stupid idea on its face, I hope the weather cooperates and you have a great time.

I'm available as a guide, my qualification is that I have a cat named Bear for protection.  He's very ferocious.  Actually that's not true at all, he's afraid of his own shadow, he earned the name because he loves stealing food.
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RandyHiker
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PostTue Sep 10, 2019 6:04 pm 
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Good points above on weather and clothing.  The upper Enchantment plateau is rather stark and wind swept and at high altitude for the region.  Navigating it in fog and snow could be deadly, there are steep smooth rocks leading to cliffs.  Easy with good visibility and dry conditions, but easy to get off track and stuck in fog and snow.  Also consider bringing bear spray or perhaps mace to fend off unwanted attention from "wildlife".
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Backpacker Joe
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PostTue Sep 10, 2019 7:31 pm 
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Ive been up there as late as October 15th. It was sunny and 80 degrees.  ANYTHING is possible weather wise.  You MUST be prepared for rain and snow.  You simply can't get out of there fast, so have some insulation and some rain gear.

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Pahoehoe
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PostTue Sep 10, 2019 8:05 pm 
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I wouldnt worry about anything except the weather.

If the weather is reasonable, there will be people up there.  If the weather is good, there will be a ton of people up there.

Just know that you have to get back down... if you climb up to the core and the weather changes and everything freezes up and stays frozen, it could be treacherous getting back down.

Also know that it's usually pretty easy to hitch a ride from the snow lake trailhead to the colchuck trailhead, so be sure to be well aware of your options should you need to get out due to unexpected weather.
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hbb
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PostWed Sep 11, 2019 8:17 am 
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Minchi wrote:
Also are there a good amount of people on the trail every day that I can find help if I need it?

You will likely never be more than 500 yards from the nearest person, and will probably encounter hundreds of people on the trail over the course of 3 days during peak larch season.
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texasbb
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PostWed Sep 11, 2019 9:11 am 
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I'll side with the dangerous-weather-is-the-only-reason-you-should-ever-waste-an-Enchantments-permit comments.   up.gif
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Schenk
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PostWed Sep 11, 2019 9:24 am 
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And there is always Bear Spray...

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Walkin' Fool
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PostThu Sep 12, 2019 12:41 pm 
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I'm a female backpacker, often solo. Ditto all of the above saying go for it, weather depending.

In addition, if there's snow on the ground or anything less than a stellar forecast for the foreseeable future, I'd bring microspikes just in case. There are places where it's a little spooky when the rocks are coated in ice.
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