Forum Index > Trip Reports > Ecstasy of the Larches – Enchantments Traverse (10/13/07)
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Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot



Joined: 29 Jan 2007
Posts: 4070 | TRs
Location: Shoreline
Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
PostTue Oct 16, 2007 11:36 pm 
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“Mmm, I like that…  Ahh, that’s good, that’s so good…   Oh, wow, even better…  Yes.  Oh, yes, yes!    Oh My God!    WOW!”

That’s what my breathless exclamations sounded like for hours, as I paused only long enough for a few more photos, and then pushed on to one climax after another, more than I would have imagined possible.

That would be photos of larches, and scenic climaxes, of course.  But I’m not exaggerating about how it was an ecstatic experience, thrilling for both my senses and my spirit.

Honestly, the hours we spent high in the Enchantments today were the single most beautiful time I’ve ever spent in the mountains.

Isolation Lake
Isolation Lake
Crystal Lake
Crystal Lake
Inspiration Lake
Inspiration Lake
Perfection Lake
Perfection Lake
Leprechaun Lake
Leprechaun Lake
Lake Viviane
Lake Viviane
Larches
Larches

I’ve always wanted to see the high larch country in its full imperial regalia of white, gold, and blue.  But the October weather rarely cooperates to give me colors, snow, and sunshine all at the same time.

And even better to have it in the Enchantments, with the soaring granite etching the sky and the sculpted lakes reflecting it all.  But usually it’s difficult to get in there at the right time.

Today it all came together like a fantasy in real life  – clear skies, warm sun, crisp air, fresh snow, high peaks, deep lakes, and all of it accented by rows and rows of glowing gold larches.

When I went to bed at night, I could still see afterimages of the larches shining in my mind, their bright colors marching up the hillsides, stretching along the trails, reflecting in the lakes.

Together with Dayhike Mike & Tom, we did the trip as a through trip from the Colchuck trailhead to the Snow Lakes trailhead.  The 18-mile, 15-hour trip made for a steep dark beginning and a long dark ending, but the middle was well worth it.

So let the pictures tell the rest of the story:

Beginning in starry darkness at 5:20am, we hiked to Colchuck Lake, then up to the top of frosty, shadowed Aasgard Pass.

Jack Ridge
Jack Ridge
Aasgard Pass, Dragontail, & Colchuck Col
Aasgard Pass, Dragontail, & Colchuck Col
Colchuck Lake
Colchuck Lake
Midway up Aasgard
Midway up Aasgard
Mike & Tom ascending Aasgard
Mike & Tom ascending Aasgard

The Upper Enchantments Basin was brimming with snow and sunlight.

First sunlit larch
First sunlit larch
Dragontail Ridge
Dragontail Ridge
Isolation Lake
Isolation Lake
Tranquil Lake
Tranquil Lake
Tranquil Lake Shoreline
Tranquil Lake Shoreline

Overlooking Crystal Lake:

Crystal Lake
Crystal Lake
Crystal Lake, McClellan, & Nightmare Needles
Crystal Lake, McClellan, & Nightmare Needles
Crystal Lake Closeup
Crystal Lake Closeup

The Lower Enchantments Basin:

Perfection, Sprite, & Leprechaun
Perfection, Sprite, & Leprechaun
Lower Basin & Wedge
Lower Basin & Wedge
Mike & Tom Traveling
Mike & Tom Traveling

Inspiration Lake:

Inspiration, Perfection & Temple
Inspiration, Perfection & Temple
Tom & Mike descending to Inspiration
Tom & Mike descending to Inspiration
Inspiration Shoreline
Inspiration Shoreline

Perfection Inlet:

Frozen head of Perfection looking toward Prussik Peak
Frozen head of Perfection looking toward Prussik Peak
Tom by Perfection Inlet
Tom by Perfection Inlet
Frozen Head of Perfection looking toward Little Annapurna
Frozen Head of Perfection looking toward Little Annapurna

Perfection Lake:

Perfection
Perfection
Wavy little larches along the shore
Wavy little larches along the shore
Matt at Perfection
Matt at Perfection

Perfection Outlet:

Perfection Island
Perfection Island
Perfection Island & Little Annapurna
Perfection Island & Little Annapurna
Perfection Outlet
Perfection Outlet

Sprite Lake:

Sprite & Temple
Sprite & Temple
Sprite Outlet
Sprite Outlet

Between Sprite & Leprechaun:

Mike & Tom relaxing on the slabs
Mike & Tom relaxing on the slabs
Big Larch
Big Larch
Stream leading to Leprechaun
Stream leading to Leprechaun

Leprechaun Lake:

Leprechaun
Leprechaun
Leprechaun Outlet
Leprechaun Outlet

Lake Viviane:

Prussik Peak & Lake Viviane
Prussik Peak & Lake Viviane
Viviane cliffs
Viviane cliffs
Viviane Shoreline reflection
Viviane Shoreline reflection

Descending into Snow Creek Valley:

Snow Lakes from Above
Snow Lakes from Above
into Snow Creek Valley
into Snow Creek Valley
Falling Into Shadow
Falling Into Shadow

The Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery had drained Snow Lake to an astonishing extent.  Note the hiker in the first picture – the lake is down something like 50 feet!

Hiker at Snow Lake Inlet
Hiker at Snow Lake Inlet
Mike hiking across the exposed lakebed
Mike hiking across the exposed lakebed
Looking back up Snow Lake
Looking back up Snow Lake

Beyond Snow Lake, it was another long 6.5 miles out to reach the trailhead at 8:20pm.  We could see four headlamps of climbers still high on the Snow Creek wall after dark.  Walking through the burned out forest at the end, the stars again spangled brilliant patterns across a pitch-black sky.

Along the way, I also was invigorated by swimming in three of the lakes.  My thanks to Mike & Tom for their patience.

Inspiration Swim – surprisingly comfortable and refreshing
Inspiration Swim – surprisingly comfortable and refreshing
Perfection Swim – colder than I expected
Perfection Swim – colder than I expected
Leprechaun Swim – somewhat cold, but a very comfortable stone ramp for warming up
Leprechaun Swim – somewhat cold, but a very comfortable stone ramp for warming up

Trip stats:  15 hours, 18 miles, 5400 gain, 7600 descent, 0 summits, 3 lakes swum, 11 lakes photographed, countless larches enjoyed, satisfaction 100%.

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“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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seawallrunner
dilettante



Joined: 27 Apr 2005
Posts: 3209 | TRs
Location: Lotusland
seawallrunner
dilettante
PostWed Oct 17, 2007 5:40 am 
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you photos are Oh Wow Awesome!
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kleet
meat tornado



Joined: 06 Feb 2002
Posts: 5319 | TRs
Location: O no they dih ent
kleet
meat tornado
PostWed Oct 17, 2007 6:01 am 
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Wow, Enchantments overload!!  Thanks for the great TR and pics, Matt.  Always good to see a trip from another set of eyes.  So what's taking DHM so long?

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A fuxk, why do I not give one?
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reststep
Member
Member


Joined: 17 Dec 2001
Posts: 4016 | TRs

reststep
Member
PostWed Oct 17, 2007 6:07 am 
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Wow way to take advantage of the weather.

Great report and pictures.

You mean Dayhike Mike did not go swimming?  Oh well he has probably already swum in all of those lakes many times.

--------------
"The mountains are calling and I must go." - John Muir
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ree
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Joined: 29 Jun 2004
Posts: 4341 | TRs

ree
Member
PostWed Oct 17, 2007 6:32 am 
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Matt wrote:
“Mmm, I like that…  Ahh, that’s good, that’s so good…   Oh, wow, even better…  Yes.  Oh, yes, yes!    Oh My God!    WOW!”

Aaaah.  The REAL reason for the cold swims.  Bet the three of you had some real good times. wink.gif
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Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot



Joined: 29 Jan 2007
Posts: 4070 | TRs
Location: Shoreline
Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
PostWed Oct 17, 2007 6:40 am 
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Oops, I finished the report late at night and posted it without checking the other reports to notice that Tom had already posted a report.

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“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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kyle d
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Member


Joined: 03 Jun 2007
Posts: 519 | TRs
Location: Ogden, UT
kyle d
Member
PostWed Oct 17, 2007 7:18 am 
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Matt, great meeting you guys on the trail, and I certainly agree with your assessment of the conditions (wow!).  We are impressed by your swimming exploits.

Here are a few of my pics from the same day:

mount Stuart in the morning
mount Stuart in the morning
Mount Cashmere reflected in Colchuck Lake
Mount Cashmere reflected in Colchuck Lake
Larches in front of Dragontail in the Enchantments near Aasguard Pass
Larches in front of Dragontail in the Enchantments near Aasguard Pass
Lone larch with Dragontail as a backdrop near Aasguard Pass
Lone larch with Dragontail as a backdrop near Aasguard Pass
Larches in the Enchantment Basin, Dragontail in the background.
Larches in the Enchantment Basin, Dragontail in the background.
Larches in the Enchantment Basin
Larches in the Enchantment Basin
Larches in the Enchantments
Larches in the Enchantments
Karissa and Dragontail
Karissa and Dragontail
Perfection Lake in the Enchantments
Perfection Lake in the Enchantments
Sunlight filters through the water with snow and larches in the background.
Sunlight filters through the water with snow and larches in the background.
Larches in the Lower Enchantments
Larches in the Lower Enchantments
Enchantments View
Enchantments View
Enchantments View
Enchantments View
Enchantments View
Enchantments View
Enchantments View
Enchantments View
Vivian reflection
Vivian reflection
Larches reflecting in Lake Vivian
Larches reflecting in Lake Vivian
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wildernessed
viewbagger



Joined: 31 Oct 2004
Posts: 8913 | TRs
Location: Wenatchee
wildernessed
viewbagger
PostWed Oct 17, 2007 7:32 am 
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Awesome pics ! last year we were up there in the waning days of October, there was no snow cover at all, the next day the area got hammered with snow. Looks like the snow is here to stay and going to add up this week. up.gif  up.gif
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GeoTom
Custom Title



Joined: 19 May 2005
Posts: 3171 | TRs
Location: Location
GeoTom
Custom Title
PostWed Oct 17, 2007 7:33 am 
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up.gif

I was ecstatic to view these pictures  clown.gif

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dicey
custom title



Joined: 11 May 2004
Posts: 2858 | TRs
Location: giving cornices a wider berth
dicey
custom title
PostWed Oct 17, 2007 9:41 am 
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mmmm pretty!

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I'm not always sure I like being older but being less stupid has advantages.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/32121172@N00/sets/
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



Joined: 15 May 2003
Posts: 14139 | TRs

Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore
PostWed Oct 17, 2007 10:05 am 
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Wow!

Marry me, Matt!

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"...Other than that, the post was more or less accurate."

Bernardo, NW Hikers' Bureau Chief of Reporting
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naturealbeing
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Member


Joined: 04 Dec 2004
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Location: Great Mystery
naturealbeing
Member
PostWed Oct 17, 2007 10:17 am 
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Location, location, location, timing is everything, and a good eye for detail, along with beautiful weather makes for an incredible experience for all. Thanks for sharing Matt.
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Dean
(aka CascadeHiker)



Joined: 02 Mar 2002
Posts: 1968 | TRs
Location: ex Kennewick, Wa & Lehi Utah
Dean
(aka CascadeHiker)
PostWed Oct 17, 2007 10:35 am 
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You guys struck pure gold on your traverse.   Great pics  up.gif

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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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Tom
Admin



Joined: 15 Dec 2001
Posts: 15132 | TRs

Tom
Admin
PostWed Oct 17, 2007 11:40 am 
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Great shots. up.gif
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El Dooder
Green Earth Bum



Joined: 15 Jul 2007
Posts: 240 | TRs
Location: Olympia, Washington
El Dooder
Green Earth Bum
PostWed Oct 17, 2007 11:43 am 
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ooh ahh  up.gif
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Ecstasy of the Larches – Enchantments Traverse (10/13/07)
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