Colin and I ran the Enchantment circuit from Colchuck Lake TH to the Snow Creek TH to escape the cloudy weather on the westside and enjoy some views while still getting a good workout. We were lucky to get a ride from Snow Creek TH to Colchuck TH with literally no wait, beginning the run at noon. We reached Colchuck Lake in about 52 minutes, Aasgard Pass in 2:05, Snow Lake Dam crossing in 3:58, and the Snow Creek TH exactly 5 hours after starting (5 pm). We figure the distance to be 18-19 miles with around 5,000 feet of elevation gain.
The weather was idyllic for running - cool and partly cloudy but not good enough to make us feel guilty we didn't climb something further north. We finished just as the clouds from the next system were starting to roll in and by the time we were back in Monroe it was raining.
As many of you know, the trails leading to the Enchantments are anything but “plush” with rocks, roots, slabs, and more rocks! I could really only open up my stride on about 10% of the run and hence the 3.7-3.8 mph overall running pace. We also took time to enjoy the portion on the plateau with breaks and photography of the iconic lakes. I figure this run can be done closer to 4 hours sans enjoyment of the surroundings; anything faster would risk having a dysfunctional ankle =)
I have fond memories of my last visit to the Enchantments on a two night backpacking trip with my father 11 years ago (12 year old). The beauty of the Enchantments left an impression on me and I wanted to see more of the Cascades after that trip. It was nice to finally come back to this place and enjoy some of the scenes that captivated me as a youngster.
Man, no time to drink beer or anything..
Seriously though awesome effort, Some of the things that folks here in the Cascades take for granted, with a grain of salt, are truly unimaginable and unheard of in 85% percent of the rest of our great nation.
Joined: 02 Mar 2003 Posts: 10997 | TRs | Pics Location: Going to Tukwila
Wed Aug 27, 2008 10:40 pm
Welcome to the site! Nice pics of a great area!
I remember one time my dad and I were doing the marathon. We'd gotten an early start (5:30am) and had just crested over Aasgard.
We were resting, snacking, enjoying the views when these two ladies popped over the top of the pass and came flying by. Seeing they were flying fast and light, with very little gear, we guessed they were just dayhikers coming up from their camp at Colchuck.
I asked them, "When'd you start?"
One of them replied, "9am."
Thought to myself, 2 hours ago...that's about right. Took us about 2 hours to get up Aasgard.
Me: "From Colchuck?"
Her: "From the trailhead."
There's something to be said for travelling light.
-------------- "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
I think I would have been dead about 34 seconds into the run. I might make it to 39.6 seconds if I was really feeling on top of things and I wanted to prolong my misery a little longer before dropping.
This is a far cry from the early days of mass hiker exploration of The Enchantments when it was advised that only "extremely experienced" hikers with excellent route finding skills attempt the multi-day trip.
Oh, and nice gams, too. Hubba-hubba.
-------------- "How much does a case of beer weigh?
Welcome to the site, and great pics. Trailrunning, crazy, I just don't get it. Looks like so much work, my ankles hurt just watching you guys. And the shorts, I don't know, just not for me, maybe its because I weigh 245 pounds and that much thigh just wouldn't be attractive. The sport hasn't made it into the Inland Northwest yet, and I'm not complaining, no offense, but its crazy, oh, and those shorts.
A couple years ago, a buddy and I were doing the Enchantments loop in a day. We were feeling pretty manly & proud... As we were driving up the 8-mile road to the trailhead we passed a runner going up. We were impressed but didn't think much of it.
When he passed us on the trail (near the bridge that crosses Mountaineer Creek), we were seriously impressed - and not so manly & proud anymore!
He explained to us that he started up the Icicle from the Snow Lakes TH, then up 8-mile road and was headed through the Enchantments. WOW.
Honestly, I think stamina-wise I could handle that... but seriously, the pain in my ankles, back & feet wouldn't allow anything remotely close. In addition, going that fast, with those shoes and no hiking poles, I'd have broken my ankles numerous times!
Joined: 02 Mar 2002 Posts: 1928 | TRs | Pics Location: ex Kennewick, Wa & Lehi Utah
Thu Aug 28, 2008 5:20 am
Impressive effort and thanks for the pics as well. I did the Colchuck TH to Snow Lake TH three years back but it took all day. I remember meeting a trail runner as I was going up Aasgard who was coming down and he'd left
the Snow Lake TH four hours earlier (almost the same amount of time that
it'd taken me to get to halfway up Aasgard. Needless to say, I was impressed. You guys are amazing.
Joined: 06 Mar 2007 Posts: 9134 | TRs | Pics Location: here now
Thu Aug 28, 2008 7:45 am
Wow, 5 hours is fast! Nice. It's a great day grunt. We (an informal group of oldsters led by legendary ultrarunner Lynn Yarnall fka O'Malley) hike/run the Enchantments every October, during prime larch season. I think our fastest time is closer to 7 hours. Last year was much slower with substantial snow up there -- we ran into DHM and Tom (?) in upper EB.
Edited to add: You guys look familiar. Do you run any local trail runs? Is Colin signed up to run McKenzie in 9 days? Thx
O. K. Guys, now you're ready:
(My father-in-law has done this at least once, if not twice)
Start jogging from center of Leavenworth (say Uncle Uli's for example), Run to Snow Lakes trail, Up past Snow lakes and through the Enchantments basin's to Aasgard Pass. Pick your way down Aasgard to Colchuck Lake and the Mountaineer Creek Trailhead. He takes a quick break here and dines on some food and liquids that he stashed prior to the run.
THEN, He continues on jogging down the 8mile road down to the Icicle River Road.
Where he takes a LEFT (that's correct, a left) and jogs to the Fourth of July Creek T.H. then up to the Lookout Junction (gaining back over 4500 vertical feet) From here he follows the Icicle Ridge trail back to Leavenworth and jogs back to the center of Leavenworth and his house.
IN ONE DAY
He claims it's very close to 50 miles.
Private message me if anyone's interested, Dan (FIL) is trying to organize a race of this nature that can be done solo, any time of year for best record in any given month.
(My father-in-law has done this at least once, if not twice)
Joined: 13 Jun 2004 Posts: 2272 | TRs | Pics Location: Seattle, WA
Thu Aug 28, 2008 8:19 am
Nice! And you guys even stopped to take some photos.
A few years ago my friends and I were doing a multi-day trip in the 'chants and came across a group of trail runners...has inspired me to try it ever since. Perhaps next year will be the year I actually do it.
-------------- Opinions expressed here are my own.
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