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Forum Index -> Trip Reports -> Enchantment Lakes, 09/29 - 10/2/06
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Opus
Wannabe



Joined: 04 Mar 2006
Posts: 3248 | TRs | Pics
Location: The big rock candy mountain
Post Thu Oct 05, 2006 10:56 am    Enchantment Lakes, 09/29 - 10/2/06
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Valhalla.  Shangri-la.  Eden.  Enchantments.  Wow, what a spectacular place.

Day1.
We met the fourth in our party at the Leavenworth ranger station around 8:30.  The rangers filled us in on the regulations, gave us the permits, and off we went.  On the way up to the Colchuck trailhead we could see larch shining on he hills above.  The temperature was slightly cool and the trail was shady - perfect for speeding along.  We made good time up to the Colchuck shores and then saw the pass behind the lake.  Boo Aasgard pass - hooray Colchuck!

Getting around to the base of the pass was much more tedious than the climb for me.  The trail here is very rough and the rock hopping is tricky with lots of big gaps in the rocks and unlevel steps.  The climb up Aasgard is what it is - alot of elevation in a short time.  The tread was pretty good, hands were only needed in a few places on the way up, and then only because we were unbalanced with big overnight packs.  Lots of dayhikers and a few overnighters were on their way down as we neared the top.

Over the top and we could see the lakes!  We poked along to the shores of Isolation lake and took some photos.  The sun was dropping behind the ridge and it was getting cold, so we found the most sheltered site we could and setup camp.  Everything was calm and warm with clear skies and shooting stars - until around 11pm.  The wind came up and slammed the tents in huge gusts, the strongest wind I've ever been in.  My Hubba-Hubba shook and bent heavily but held up.

Day2.
The winds were calmer but still going strong.  As I filtered water I had my hat and filter cap go sailing away.  I managed to find them some 50ft away.  We decided to pack down lower to find some shelter.  Before leaving I hopped over to the ridge behind Isolation and looked down on the valley - spectacular!  Larch everywhere!

We moved down slowly and found a fantastic campsite at the end of the string of tarns sheltered in a stand of larches.  It had a great overlook of Crystal lake below.  We took many photos on the way down, and even more on a dayhike down to the shores of Inspiration lake.  Larches everywhere and Prusik Peak looming over everything.

Back a camp we cooked dinner and settled in for the night.  The clouds sailed off so we didn't get a sunset.  A ranger came up right near dark and apologized for setting up camp so near by but had to get her tent up before dark.  Again the wind came up and cut through every layer we had, so we retreated to the tents again.  Still windy, but calmer than last night.

Day3.
Spectacular sunrise.  We ran around the tarns snapping tons of photos as the color got better and better.  Very quickly though the sun went behind some clouds and the light went flat.  Back to camp for breakfast.  Here we found Angry Granny sitting on a rock.  Someone had left a McDonalds Happy Meal toy of an old woman behind our camp, we didn't notice it the night before.

We moved camp yet again, this time down to Leprechaun lake based on a dayhike by Yumi all the way down to Viviane.  This was easily the most spectacular part of the trip.  Larches everywhere from Perfection on down.  Beautiful blue water and golden reflections.  The sky was blue with nice fluffy clouds making perfect photo backdrops.  The granite slabs added to the mix, fantastic!

Leprechaun knocked our socks off.  Surrounded by granite slab and larch trees everywhere glowing in the low fall sun.  We claimed some sites on a rocky peninsula and poked around the area in case we found something better.  While looking we came across a beautiful pool of blue-green water at the lake outlet.  The larches were glowing in front of a big snow patch on the hill behind it.  In the pool there were many trout playing just below the surface - a few really big ones too!

After returning to camp for lunch we split up to explore.  Three of us took a fun scramble up the slabby ridge to find Gnome Tarn.  Don took his tripod and medium-format camera for a dayhike back up towards Perfection lake for more shots.  Gnome was partly dried but still beautiful.  The calm winds left fantastic reflections of everything in sight - Little Annapurna, Prusik, larch!  Finally we found a goat!  The only one we would see on the trip.  He seemed totally unconcerned as we trailed him through the larch snapping photo after photo.  Sadly I had left my zoom lens back at camp.

Back at camp we cooked dinner and watched the sun light up the larches before disappearing.  Again we had no clouds so no sunset.  The temperature plummeted, the coldest night of our trip, but thankfully no wind.  We hung our food, built a creepy bear-scare out of a tripod, poles, and extra clothes (though it ended up spooking us more - we quickly forgot about it in the dark!)

Day4.
Our last day.  We found ice on the edges of the lake and streams nearby.  The ground was swollen and crunchy with ice crystals.  We run around a little before leaving, taking pictures of a nearby waterfall.  I scrambled up to a small ridge overlooking Leprechaun for one last Enchantments photo.

The hike out was one heck of a long slog.  The slabs near Viviane were pretty slow going, and definitley nowhere I'd want to be in the rain or snow.  It took us a few hours to descend to the edge of Snow Lake.  From the shore we got one last look back at the Enchantments, larches shining up on the rock.

I cant wait to go back!  Four days and we still had so much more to see.  We quickly abandoned our plans to go up Little Annapurna when we saw all the larch and shiny lakes everywhere, so this became a strictly lake bagging trip.


Tons of Enchantment lakes trip photos!
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Davidą
Mr. 3000



Joined: 25 Jul 2002
Posts: 2999 | TRs | Pics
Location: The Great White North
Post Thu Oct 05, 2006 11:17 am   
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OK thats it! - No more Enchantments trip reports until I get there!

How can it possibly live up to all this eye candy? - Are you guys just faking all this in Photoshop? It CAN'T really be that nice...

--------------
Warning! Posts may contain traces of sarcasm.

Hiking Website: http://members.shaw.ca/karenanddavid/Index.htm
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faelynn
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Member


Joined: 27 Apr 2005
Posts: 7916 | TRs | Pics

Post Thu Oct 05, 2006 11:24 am   
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It is karen it is!

Opus I so enjoy your photography! very nice work they all rock!
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Opus
Wannabe



Joined: 04 Mar 2006
Posts: 3248 | TRs | Pics
Location: The big rock candy mountain
Post Thu Oct 05, 2006 11:27 am   
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David & Karen wrote:
How can it possibly live up to all this eye candy? - Are you guys just faking all this in Photoshop? It CAN'T really be that nice...

Photos just do not do this place justice!  eek.gif  I blew through all my camera memory and wished I'd had more!  The light up there was great, even at mid-day.  One hiker in our party brought his medium format camera and shot more than 20 rolls of film, I cant wait to see how his turn out.
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mtngrl
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Joined: 22 Mar 2004
Posts: 248 | TRs | Pics
Location: Belfair
Post Thu Oct 05, 2006 11:36 am   
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Wow. Beautiful pictures. Great TR too.
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Gil
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Joined: 29 Sep 2004
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Post Thu Oct 05, 2006 11:51 am   
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Now I have to wait a whole year to go there in the fall. Arrgggh!
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JimK
Member



Joined: 07 Feb 2002
Posts: 5051 | TRs | Pics
Location: Ballard
Post Thu Oct 05, 2006 12:18 pm   
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Glad you had such a great trip. Sun and larch are quite a combination. You're right. You still have a lot to see up there. There's always next year...

--------------
Hiking Northwest
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Dean
(aka CascadeHiker)



Joined: 02 Mar 2002
Posts: 1928 | TRs | Pics
Location: ex Kennewick, Wa & Lehi Utah
Post Thu Oct 05, 2006 12:34 pm   
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Those pics are so beautiful and so enticing that I will head for southern Oregon again this weekend.  I can't take all that so will settle for medium level beauty.  Great TR.  I've been linking TR's at the SP Enchantment page and this one will go to the top of the page.  Nice work !!!

--------------
Dean - working in Utah for awhile and feeling like it is a 'paid' vacation.
http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=1160
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Backpacker Joe
NWH Joe-Bob



Joined: 16 Dec 2001
Posts: 21165 | TRs | Pics
Location: Cle Elum
Post Thu Oct 05, 2006 12:41 pm   
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Great pics.   You left via the Snowlakes highway?  AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Ill never do that again.  Two times is enoughl....  up.gif  crazy.gif  souse.gif  uhh.gif  crazy.gif

--------------
"I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people and I require the same from them."

—Wayne's John Bernard Books in The Shootist
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faelynn
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Joined: 27 Apr 2005
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Post Thu Oct 05, 2006 12:42 pm   
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CscdHkr (Dean) wrote:
southern Oregon I can't take all that so will settle for medium level beauty. 

What! battlecage.gif   winksmile.gif
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Opus
Wannabe



Joined: 04 Mar 2006
Posts: 3248 | TRs | Pics
Location: The big rock candy mountain
Post Thu Oct 05, 2006 12:49 pm   
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Backpacker Joe wrote:
Great pics.   You left via the Snowlakes highway?  AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Ill never do that again.  Two times is enoughl....  up.gif  crazy.gif  souse.gif  uhh.gif  crazy.gif

Heh, yep, we did.  hink.gif  doof.gif  doh.gif  souse.gif

And we were warned too by JimK.  But this being our first trip we wanted to make a grand tour through.  Next time however we'll go in and out via Colchuck.  That was the longest hike out ever!  We passed one guy going in via Snow with the biggest pack I've ever seen.
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



Joined: 15 May 2003
Posts: 13982 | TRs | Pics

Post Thu Oct 05, 2006 7:33 pm   
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Opus wrote:
The slabs near Viviane were pretty slow going, and definitley nowhere I'd want to be in the rain or snow. 

This is one reason why I opted out of the trip, if I had to leave a day early - if it were rainy or snowy, I'd be a major wuss on those slabs going it alone.  I said I'm a wuss, and I meant it.

Nice trip report, and fantastic photos.  chants are the windiest place - listening to it howl all night makes the place even more primeval-looking than it does anyway.

I wish I had been able to join. Glad you found a 4th.

Snow Lakes trail sucks.

--------------
"How much does a case of beer weigh?

Z, NWHikers' Backcountry Travel Consultant
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trailjunky
Backcountry Bumpkin'



Joined: 14 Jun 2004
Posts: 1118 | TRs | Pics
Location: timberline
Post Thu Oct 05, 2006 8:05 pm   
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stun.gif
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jeffstatt
Flair police



Joined: 14 Jun 2005
Posts: 47 | TRs | Pics
Location: Vancouver (Not BC) WA (not DC)
Post Thu Oct 05, 2006 9:17 pm   
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I second 'trailjunky's reply!

Great photos!  I want to rip off your photo "new camp" for my computer desktop.  Don't suppose you'd mind supplying a hi-res version of it?

(I'm a long-lurker on this site - but sometimes I just have to reply!  great work!)
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reststep
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Joined: 17 Dec 2001
Posts: 3284 | TRs | Pics

Post Thu Oct 05, 2006 9:36 pm   
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Nice report and great photos.

It makes me want to go back.  I will have to see what this weather does after the 15th.

--------------
"The mountains are calling and I must go." - John Muir
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