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Forum Index -> Trip Reports -> Enchantments: 7/28-8/1
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Soccer_Dad
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Joined: 28 Mar 2006
Posts: 180 | TRs | Pics
Location: Montevideo, Uruguay (really)
Post Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:14 pm    Enchantments: 7/28-8/1
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What a great trip!  This one will stay with me for a long time.  I'm a big fan of the Wind River Mountains, but I'm thinking that the Enchantments top by having all those features in such an accessible, yet remote, area.  But it's close.

This was my 17-year-old daughter's first real backpacking trip - we hiked in the "full" two miles to the closer Twin Sisters Lake a few years back, but it's so short and we only stayed two nights.  I met my usual backpacking partner, my brother-in-law from Portland, at the Leavenworth Ranger Station, to pick up permits.

I begged Rod to get up at 5 am to make the drive, thinking that we'd want a morning start, and it was pretty effective.  We started about 11:00 am, and hiked until a late, long lunchtime before taking a long break at the waterfall just past the Snow Creek Wall.  This refreshed us, and we hiked to the bridge for the next rest stop, and then on to Nada.

Let me first post this map that the rangers give you of the Nada Lake (and Snow and Colchuk) area, with campsites and toilets marked.  That was something I wished I had pre-trip.

So we got to Nada, and there was this perfect area for a camp at the end of the lake, a low granite knob with some shade and a great set of seats and cooking areas.  But it is "Day Use Only".  But we camped at the spot across from it, and it was basically OUR day use area.  We also heard (probably incorrectly) from day hikers that the Snow Lakes camps were pretty full.

We got up the next morning for the "shorter" trip up to the Enchantments, proper.  I put shorter in quotes because it's a lot tougher part than the easy trail walking to get to Nada.  The way is rocky to Snow, and it seemed like forever to get around Snow Lake (I timed it as 35 minutes coming back).  But Snow surprised us - it was prettier than Nada, and there clearly were spots available.

Then you start the next climb.  It didn't feel dangerous (until just after Vivianne) but was much rougher than before.  We did have the companionship of the cascades coming out of Vivianne most of the way.

So you get to Vivianne, and Prussik Peak just hangs over the lake.  It's spectacular.  We zipped by Leprechaun, even though it's very pretty, and moved on to Perfection.  It's an apt name.  The waterfall on the far side is very inviting, and you have great views of Annapurna and peek-a-boo views of Mt. Adams.

Passing by Perfection, it's a short hike to Inspiration and our campsite for two days.  We camped at the false outflow, and had good shelter for the big windstorm that evening.  Oh, and it has the highest functioning toilet we found - you wouldn't have wanted to use the boxed up higher - enough said.  It also had a world class view of Perfection Lake from inside a grove of trees.  Behind our tent, between Inspiration and Perfection was a wonderful granite knob that my daughter spent hours exploring, and making friends.

The next morning was our long day hike to Annapurna and beyond.  Views were everywhere, short and long. I'll let the pictures do the talking.

For an evening hike, we visited Prussik Pass and Gnome Tarn.

The next day we hiked back down to Nada, with a side trip to Crystal Lake, which was well worthwhile.

After the upper Enchantments, Nada, Snow, and the rest of the hike are all a bit anticlimactic.

John
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Dayhike Mike
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Joined: 02 Mar 2003
Posts: 10997 | TRs | Pics
Location: Going to Tukwila
Post Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:45 pm   
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Glad you guys had a good time.

It's always cool to see a dad getting his kids interested in the wilderness and even cooler that your daughter and her friend help up so well under what is admittedly a pretty exhausting trip. up.gif up.gif

Too bad you guys couldn't exit via Colchuck. It's sooo much prettier than the long hot death slog down the Snow Creek valley.

--------------
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke
"Ignorance is natural. Stupidity takes commitment." -Solomon Short
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yahmus
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Joined: 13 Mar 2007
Posts: 54 | TRs | Pics
Location: Richland, WA
Post Tue Aug 05, 2008 4:50 pm   
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Thanks for the trip report!!  I pretty much live vicariously through those of you who are able to get up into the enchantments.   Hopefully I'll be able to get up there later in the year.

For now I'm good for another couple weeks before I go into withdrawels!
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mtnman7984
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Joined: 21 May 2008
Posts: 30 | TRs | Pics
Location: snoqualmie
Post Tue Aug 05, 2008 7:41 pm   
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awesome pics, a must plan for me  up.gif
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Dave from Bothell
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Joined: 03 Aug 2008
Posts: 4 | TRs | Pics

Post Wed Aug 06, 2008 10:03 pm   
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Dayhike Mike wrote:
Too bad you guys couldn't exit via Colchuck. It's sooo much prettier than the long hot death slog down the Snow Creek valley.

I'm going to chime in my two cents here.  Tuesday I went up and down Aasgard Pass (for the first time), which you're recommending as an exit for backpackers.  I was day hiking from Colchuck (couldn't get an Enchantments permit - I've been in the Enchantments before via Snow) and only carried a daypack, albeit a heavy one.  I would not consider hiking down that route with a full pack.  That's just mho, but it's not safe.  Almost the whole route is on very treacherous (for downhill) small unstable rocks or loose dirt.  Unless it was snow covered I would not consider it.  It's a guaranteed fall.  I know, everybody packs out that way, I guess.  Oh well, just my .02.  And I'm a very experienced backpacker.
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rdyhiker
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Joined: 07 Dec 2007
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Post Wed Aug 06, 2008 10:36 pm   
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Dayhike Mike wrote:
the long hot death slog down the Snow Creek valley.

Got that right, DH!   agree.gif
I hiked UP from the Snow Lakes trailhead to Leprechaun last month in one day without any problem and with energy to spare when I arrived.  But the hike DOWN the following day was another matter.   While it took a 1/3rd less time, it nearly finished me off, esp. the last 3 miles or so dropping into the steaming valley that had absorbed all the heat of the day...  I have rarely ever felt that hot or mentally fatigued and had begun to believe the trail would never end.  Have never come out through Aasgard, so can't compare it.  But I sure will go that route next time.
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Dean
(aka CascadeHiker)



Joined: 02 Mar 2002
Posts: 1934 | TRs | Pics
Location: ex Kennewick, Wa & Lehi Utah
Post Thu Aug 07, 2008 7:18 pm   
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Nice report and very nice set of pics.  Glad you enjoyed the area that is truly my favorite area anywhere. I've attached a link to your report on my Enchantments summitpost page (see overview). Click HERE  Your report deserves to be highlighted a bit more.   up.gif

--------------
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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frogamigo
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Joined: 09 Aug 2008
Posts: 25 | TRs | Pics
Location: Skagit County
Post Sat Aug 09, 2008 7:46 pm   
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Amazingly beautiful pictures! smile.gif
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Dayhike Mike
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Joined: 02 Mar 2003
Posts: 10997 | TRs | Pics
Location: Going to Tukwila
Post Sun Aug 10, 2008 3:46 am   
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Dave from Bothell wrote:
I would not consider hiking down that route with a full pack.† That's just mho, but it's not safe.† Almost the whole route is on very treacherous (for downhill) small unstable rocks or loose dirt.† Unless it was snow covered I would not consider it.† It's a guaranteed fall.† I know, everybody packs out that way, I guess.† Oh well, just my .02.† And I'm a very experienced backpacker.

It's really not as treacherous as you make it sound.

I've never had any trouble descending it with a full pack, and didn't feel in any way endangered as I walked down it alone a month ago.

I have no qualms recommending Aasgard for both entry and exit of the Enchantments. *shrug*

--------------
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke
"Ignorance is natural. Stupidity takes commitment." -Solomon Short
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Backpacker Joe
NWH Joe-Bob



Joined: 16 Dec 2001
Posts: 21346 | TRs | Pics
Location: Cle Elum
Post Sun Aug 10, 2008 8:37 am   
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One of the times I went into the Chants I did a three dayer with 17lbs on me back.  On the way down Asgaard I made these log jumps.  I was lighter then as well. hockeygrin.gif   In the right places the trail is so steep you can make these long jumps and you land on steep shale like rock and you slide a long ways.  I made it down in 29 minutes.... And my knees hurt! hockeygrin.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."

óWayne's John Bernard Books in The Shootist
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Dean
(aka CascadeHiker)



Joined: 02 Mar 2002
Posts: 1934 | TRs | Pics
Location: ex Kennewick, Wa & Lehi Utah
Post Sun Aug 10, 2008 7:38 pm   
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The hike down Aasgard with a full pack is very doable.  Take your time and
don't push it.  Hiking poles help a lot also.  I've been up and down both Aasgard and Snow Lakes many times with heavy packs and I think I'd prefer Aasgard to the endless hike involved in getting down via Snow Lakes.

tongue.gif

--------------
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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Soccer_Dad
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Joined: 28 Mar 2006
Posts: 180 | TRs | Pics
Location: Montevideo, Uruguay (really)
Post Sun Aug 10, 2008 11:37 pm   
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Regarding descent down through Colchuck, you have to consider the quality of the trails IMHO.  On the way down, once you get close to Snow Lake, you can basically book it at full speed all the way back to the trailhead - it's only the Vivianne-Snow section that slows you down.  I'm thinking that the total hiking time from the west/upper end of Snow Lake down to the trailhead (downhill on a nice trail) is less than 3.5 hours, and fairly relaxing, even with a full pack.

My recollection of the trail to Colchuck is that it is pretty rugged from the junction to the lake, and that the trail around the lake is pretty bouldery (we didn't take the time to see if it got better, though).

If I'm hiking without a full pack, I'm going in and out Colchuck.  With a full pack and nearly 50 year old knees, I have to take the long slog.

John
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LandNeedle206
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Joined: 23 Jan 2011
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Location: Fremont, Seattle, WA
Post Sun Jan 23, 2011 9:57 am   
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Soccer Dad,

I've been doing a little bit of digging (obviously) in the forums and I want to try and bring back this thread as I prepare for my trip to the enchantments. This trip has been so hyped up to me over the past couple of years that I want to make sure I have everything right. Was your teenage daughter able to handle the trip pretty easily? I have the option of taking my 16 year old nephew. He is an athletic kid (plays football and baseball), but not overly enthusiastic about going on a hiking trip. You know how it goes, all I want is for him to love it and the beauty that surrounds us here in WA.

Any advice?

--------------
Quincy D.
Western Washington University Class of 2006
Resident Nurse - Zoom Ankle
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Go Jo
of the lykkens



Joined: 08 Jun 2003
Posts: 2454 | TRs | Pics
Location: Around The Bend
Post Sun Jan 23, 2011 4:15 pm   
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LandNeedle: I traveled into the Enchantments twice last year and on both trips saw more than one teen with a parent enjoying the trip. It is challenging, and every teen has a different threshold, but the payoffs are tons to see and explore with added features of scrambles to interesting peaks, lakes and waterfalls, goats and other interesting wildlife, fishing, etc. There wasn't a lot of monotony, even the hard climb up Aasgard was exciting and had a lot to see.
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Dayhike Mike
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Joined: 02 Mar 2003
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Location: Going to Tukwila
Post Sun Jan 23, 2011 5:43 pm   
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My first trip into the Enchantments was at 7 years old. My sister was 5.

We were daytripping it from our base camp at Colchuck, but I think a teenager would have plenty of energy to make it up. Just take it slow.

Get started early, mostly to beat the heat of the sun. Plan on it taking a little over 2 hours up Asgaard. We usually have a nice snack an hour in, when we get up to the left side of the rock "island" in the middle of the channel.

--------------
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke
"Ignorance is natural. Stupidity takes commitment." -Solomon Short
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