Archive for the ‘Enchantments’ Category

Enchantments in a day

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

You know that goal I set for myself this summer? I generally don’t set goals anymore because they tend to just stress me out and leech whatever joy I would normally get out of a project, but this one, this one I loved and looked forward to (if somewhat nervously) all summer.

Aasgard ahead

JK and I met up with three other friends and caravaned to Leavenworth (the sort-of-creepy but mostly festive faux-Bavarian village east of Stevens Pass), left one car at the Snow Creek trailhead, and hoped we were starting early enough to hit Aasgard Pass in the shade.

Certain members of the group set off at a grueling pace right from the trailhead, leaving certain other (more portly) members (ok, membeR) of the group wondering what the hell she had gotten herself into. Thankfully my thought process changed when we reached Colchuck Lake – I knew that the remaining miles (minus the last six down to the car) would be beautimous enough to encourage a more ambling pace.

“Ambling” is a much faster pace than what I hiked up Aasgard though – that pass you see in the photo above which gains 2200 feet in 0.8 miles. Ugh. I will say that it felt amazing to hike up it with a light running pack instead of a multi-day backpack. We hit sunlight in the last quarter of it, but I still felt energetic when I reached the top, which is something I would never have imagined.

Huffing and puffing up Aasgard Pass

Cresting Aasgard and walking into the Enchantments gave me a huge rush of emotions. It was so beautiful. I felt so good. And it opened up a whole new world to me to realize that places like this are accessible to me in a day now instead of as a long backpacking trip (with an impossible permit system).

Also, goats! So many! So cute! So fluffy!

I don't have to pee right now, but thanks for your concern

Spot the goats in this one?

Welcome committee

We mostly saw mamas with their kids. All the menfolk must have been off somewhere watching football.

Kidding around

After a long lunch break in the Upper Enchantments, we made our way through this granite kingdom, which geologist Tom informed us is “not actually granite, but close enough”. He also taught us about inclusions, but I wasn’t really listening. Tom’s a gneiss guy and all, but I don’t give a schist about rocks.

Heaven is what it is is what it is

Ok, so I do care about rocks, because look how pretty they be. The Upper Enchantments are very stark, dramatic, and Sierra Nevada-like.

Witches Tower

Every time I come here, I can’t help but play the Lord of the Rings soundtrack in my head.

Through the upper basin

I didn’t think a side trip up Little Annapurna would be in the cards for me, but I really wanted JK to go – he hadn’t been there before, and it’s a really cool summit. As it turned out, my legs still had some elevation gain left in them, so I went up as well.

I made it!

We had another long break at the summit for second lunch, ’cause a hobbit’s gotta eat.


Unfortunately, we had brought our old, unreliable Rebel with us since the 60D won’t fit in the outside mesh thing of my pack, and now it informed me that it was almost out of juice. Nooo! I had to conserve the battery, so I don’t have many photos from the Lower Enchantments – you’ll just have to believe me (or look at Tom’s photos) when I say it’s a veritable wonderland of lakes, peaks, and goats.

Looking back up at Little Annapurna from Rune Lake:

Little Annapurna

“Draw me like one of your French chipmunks…”

Draw me like one of your French chipmunks

The goats bade us farewell as we dropped down towards the last lake of the Enchantments (there would be more lakes, but they’re just not as enchanting). Thank you for letting us visit your home, furry ones!

Thanks for letting us visit your home

Lake Viviane holds a special place in our hearts; it was our first campsite on our first trip to the Enchantments back in 2008. We spent a lovely afternoon there all alone, just reading and swimming. You obviously miss out on experiences like that when you’re only passing through in a day, but I think the dayhike experience is just as rewarding – in a different way.

Lake Viviane

The lower basin is more vegetated than the upper basin (less not-quite-granite-but-close-enough), but there are still some steep, rocky bits where you don’t want to slip. Egads!

Above Lake Viviane

This is the last photo we took, of the rebar steps leading down to Lake Viviane. From here on, we followed the steep route down to and interminable trail around Snow Lake, the rocky switchbacks down to Nada Lake, and the never-ending grind down to the Snow Creek trailhead, where our second car was waiting with a cooler full of delicious liquids.


My legs were starting to feel it on the way down, but, spurred on by dreams of Latin food (more importantly, non-”Bavarian” food) at South, I jogged the last miles – changing my gait really does make my legs feel fresher, even after a long day like this. I finally reached the trailhead, downed half a Vitamin Water in one gulp, and reveled in the fact that I actually felt pretty good. Sweaty and dirty, but good.

Two days later, my calves told a different story…but never mind that.

- Enchantments & Little Annapurna | 20 miles | 6000 feet gain (8000 feet loss) -

Big thanks to my Hike-a-Thon sponsors, Michelle…

Thanks, Michelle!


Thanks, Tom!

…and Jo!

Thanks, Jo!

Enchanted dreams

Friday, June 14th, 2013

Taking advantage of our continued bout of excellent weather, I took Wellie and Basil for a run on Cougar Mountain last Thursday. Cougar is a confusing maze of wooded trails, but I’ve spent enough time there this spring (running after WTA work parties) that I can finally make my way around the mountain without having to pull out my map at every trail junction.

A glorious day

I was aiming for 10 miles or so, but, even in the heat, I was enjoying myself so much that I ended up with 15 miles, covering all my favorite trails on the mountain. I know being self-deprecating is kind of my thing, but this time I have to be honest and say that I was downright proud of myself.

Boardwalk Fungus among us

– Cougar Mountain Loop | 15 miles | 2600 feet elevation gain –

All over Cougar

This is promising, since my goal for this summer is to run through the Enchantments. I’ve given up on the backpacking permit lottery for the time being, so going from the Colchuck trailhead to the Snow Lake trailhead in one day is the way to go. As always, I use the term “run” loosely – I hike the uphills and do my shuffle-jog on the flats and downhills. We will be snailing through the core Enchantments, taking photos and enjoying ourselves.

I’m sure I’ll get so sweaty and salty that the mountain goats will lick me clean before I have time to jump in a lake!

Oh sorry, are we in your camp?

My main challenges will be getting my legs and lungs ready to hike up Aasgard Pass, which gains 2200 feet in something like 0.8 miles, without bonking (but yay, I’ll have a small pack this time!)…


…getting my feet ready for the mileage – 17-20, depending on side trips – and for running the last hot, dusty, boring six miles down to the Snow Lake trailhead when I’m already tired…

Little Annapurna

…but mostly getting my head ready, ’cause that’s usually where I fail when it comes to challenging myself – I’ll actually have to believe in myself for once. This run on Cougar was a mighty fine start.

Good morrow!

My previous Enchantments trips, four days each: 2008 and 2010.

Ingunn Enchanted

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Sorry about the lack of updates; I spent four magnificent days backpacking in the Enchantments (thanks to Tom for the permit!) and was sidelined by an injury (which is finally getting better, phew). I don’t have time to write much right now since my parents are visiting from Norway, but here are some photos + words:

Day one: Colchuck Lake. Drizzle. Heavy packs, but not heavy enough to have remembered all our tent poles. D’oh! Scott retrieves tent poles from North Bend while Jo and Ingunn get comfortable(?) with Tom in his two-man tent.

A tiny Tom on my shoulder LARCH OMGZ!!1!

Day two: Aasgard Pass. 2200 feet of elevation gain in less than one mile. Ingunn fears legs will fall off, curses pack weight and excess blubbery poundage. Views in Upper Enchantments shut her up. Group finds excellent campsite on cliffs above Crystal Lake.

Reginleif & Brynhild

Camouflage. Ur doin it right.

Tpretty Ptarmigan

Goats. More goats.

Larch grove Purdy goat Panorama in progress

The larches are turning! Girls enjoy spacious sleeping quarters while guys marinate in own flatulence.

The Turning of the Larch

Day three: Sunrise.

Good morrow!


Upside down Enchanted Ninja

Menfolk leave to conquer Cannon while wimmins explore Lower Enchantments.

Little Annapurna

Gnome Tarn. No gnomes. Goats.

Lots of views but no gnomes :(


Good evening, Ranger! Oh sorry, are we in your camp?

Group reunites, ascends Little Annapurna, 8440 feet.

I lurve this place

Blown away by views. Happy.

Little Annapurna, 8440 feet Josie rocks

Day four: Wake up to a dusting of snow. Ridiculous sunrise.

Holy wow!


Goats gots traction Our camp in the morning Eerie Witches' Tower

Pack up, hike out. Rain. Slick boulders. Ingunn pulls muscle, fears leg actually will fall off this time. Limp to trailhead. Codeine. Aah.

...and the white-shouldered mountains they pointed above ♫

- Trip report on -

Enchantments layouts

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

Good god, she scrapbooked! In an effort to keep myself occupied while being sick (when we came back from Granite Mountain I had a fever, all sorts of stuffy head cavities, and a sore throat. Lame.), I decided to tackle our Enchantments photos.

I’ve come to three conclusions about my scrapbooking lately:

1) I want to get back to making really simple layouts. I want the photos to take center stage, especially on the hiking pages. I just have this vision of looking through my album ten years from now and thinking that all the embellishments and frilly things are ugly (my perfectionism and general self-loathing will combine to ensure that this will happen). Less is more and all that.

2) Even though my pages will be simple, they need some sort of finishing touch. I really need to work on this. Maybe I’ll use this depressive downtime to learn how to use my sewing machine on paper; I love that look. Maybe I should learn to use my sewing machine in general. Hm.

3) There are way too many photos I want to include in my album (and limits to how many layouts one can make from one event), so I’ll jump on the bandwagon and use different sizes of page protectors and even divided protectors to add regular 4×6 photos.

On to the layouts!

Enchantments #1

I bought different sizes of page protectors to use in Cathy Zielske’s class, so I made a 6×6 collage of extra photos that I wanted to add – I really like the look of the different sizes together. Might add more, especially of the beautiful Upper Enchantments…*sigh*

Photos in album

Photos in album

For this one I wasn’t going to add a title at all (it’s kind of an extension of the other layout), but then I realized that this transparent title from the September CK KOTM fit perfectly over the journaling. Destination doesn’t really make sense as a title here, but it kind of works anyway. And it’s so cool and transparent. I mean, come on!

Enchantments #2

Transparent title

I have officially reached a new level of rambleness. Speaking of rambling and not being able to construct simple sentences, everyone must remember to watch the Vice Presidential debate tonight – it’s bound to be hilarious (in a sad, sad, really scary way)…

Four days of Enchantment

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

Sometimes there is so much you want to say but you just can’t seem to find words that will do your adventure justice. Last week we spent four days backpacking in the Enchantments, and I have no idea how to describe it. The word perfect comes to mind…In lieu of words, I’ll let our photos do the talking:

JK & Prusik Peak Rune Lake, as seen from the toilet :) Prusik Peak

Prusik snuggles

Looking back Wide-angled at Leprechaun Handsomeness The world is silver and blue Some Enchanted Chipmunk Chilly morning

Brace yourself

Goats out for a morning walk

Conclusion #1: the Enchantments = heaven on earth

Conclusion #2: I love multi-day backpacking and want to go on some longer trips next year

Conclusion #3: I have a slightly disturbing love (fetish?) for alpine lakes


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