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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostWed Sep 28, 2016 12:49 pm 
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From the Teanaway I drove over to Leavenworth and car bivied just before the Colchuck Lake TH.  Set my mental alarm clock for early, but I was up even before I planned to be.  Dragged myself up a little before 4:30 and was on the trail by 5:30.  Used a headlamp for the first 30-45 min.  I'd been wanting to drop down from Prusik Pass to check out Shield Lake and beyond for a while now, that was the goal for the day.  Turned out well.  Continued on to Earle and Mesa before heading back out the same way I came in.  There were plenty of cars at the TH (although a lot less than there had been over the weekend apparently--parking was overflowing all the way back down to Eightmile TH), but I really didn't see many people during the day.  Another great day in the 'Chants, I haven't got sick of it yet.

I was really struck by a few larches clinging improbably to various tiny perches among the cliffs of Dragontail.

This one in particular--how the heck did it get there?

some good groves in the upper half between Colchuck Lake and Aasgard.

sunlight and shadows on Dragontail

sun starting to light up the larch

a couple boulders rolled down the glacier below Witches Tower and left some tracks recently

I think my favorite of the bigger lakes

took a round-about route towards Little Annapurna to check out a few tarns

eventually heading in the right direction towards Prusik Pass

Little Annapurna

Looking down from Prusik Pass to Shield and Earle Lakes, Edward Plateau and Rat Creek Group beyond.

Zoomed in, I think this might be The Mole.

backside of Prusik Peak and Temple Ridge with some larch

I figured there must be some kind of path descending to the lakes, it had been partially snow covered the last several times I was there.  There is a path indeed.  It's a bit like the way between Colchuck and Aasgard, but nowhere near as much vertical distance.  After getting thru the cliffy stuff and talus, it's lovely down there.  Some trees, meadows, several creeks, very peaceful and serene.  Shield takes a while to go around.  Decent path going clockwise around all 3 of the lakes.

Shield Lake

looking back where I came from

Earle near its inlet

somewhere in the middle of Earle

I stayed at Toketie Lake many years ago and did a day trip up past several lakes.  I'd been wanting to get back to that area for years.  It must've been Mesa and Earle.  I vaguely remember a cool slabby area by one of the lakes.  This has to be it, on the opposite side of Mesa.  I returned on that side of the lake.

Over onto the slab now.

The lighter colored area toward the lower right I figure has to be a path that's been worn into the rock.

small tarn above Mesa

the boothpath again

deep grass

back to Earle

I think this is The Boxtop on Temple Ridge.

nearing Prusik Pass again

climber on W. Ridge of Prusik

I briefly considered swinging over to Gnome Tarn, but decided I'd like to try to get done before needing the headlamp again so I better head back towards Aasgard (I made it before dark...barely).  Looking at Prusik from a little below the pass.

Crystal Lake

I thought I was inexplicably going to get shut out on seeing goats on back-to-back days in the Enchantments on Ingalls Pass/Lake/Headlamp Basin, but spotted this pair late in the afternoon.

lakes aplenty

almost back to Aasgard

sun was lighting up these larch heading back down to Colchuck

crags to the north basking in the late afternoon light

alpenglow on the ridge most of the way back to the parking lot

About 14 hours roundtrip.  I was mostly on the move but took my time to soak it in and take pictures.  I was definitely tired by the end but I've felt much worse before.
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Treehugger5
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PostThu Sep 29, 2016 1:35 pm 
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Great pictures!  Thanks for posting!

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Elrond's Rocket of Rivendell~ hiker and runner extraordinaire
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mbravenboer
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PostThu Sep 29, 2016 4:02 pm 
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Love the tiny larches! These trees are indeed amazing.
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