The Enchantments


The Enchantments is probably one of the most photographed areas in the Cascades and there is a good reason. The drama of the sharp peaks of the Stuart Range reflecting in the blue waters of the lake basins makes it hard to take a bad picture. The picturesque beauty has made a popular area even more popular, which makes it extremely difficult to an overnight permit in the permit lottery.




Last year John and I got a permit to the Eightmile Lake zone, but there was a forest fire and our pass got pulled. We put a reminder on the calendar for the lottery in 2018, but somehow missed the reminder. When we finally got around to getting a pass we got one for midweek the first week of October for Eightmile Lake. I was happy to have a pass but weather at the beginning of October can be a little iffy. 




Looking at the weather before we headed out there was a 50% chance of rain and was suppose to be close to freezing overnight, so we decided to camp in the van and to do day hikes instead. The nice thing about only doing day hikes is you don't need a permit and we could hike in any of the 5 zones we wanted. 







On the first day we decided to hike from the Stuart Lake trailhead to and Colchuck Lake over Aasgard Pass where the majority of The Enchantment lakes reside and back. What we didn't realize is how technical and difficult the ascent and especially the descent on the way back over Aasgard Pass is. As we made our way around Colchuck Lake the winds started to pick up and what looked like rain clouds started to roll in. It wasn't apparent to us at first how we made our way out of the Colchuck Lake area to Aasgard Pass, once we realized how treacherous the pass looked we decided not to attempt it with possible bad weather moving in. Instead we spent more time at Colchuck taking in views and gold Larch trees. 

Larch tree


After the hike we went to Leavenworth for a beer, by the time we got to Leavenworth the wind and rain had started, we were both very happy that we were not on stuck on Aasgard Pass. 



On the 2nd day we decided to hike in the Eightmile zone. We woke up with ice on the van and the temperature was in the low 30s. It was a little hard to get out the warm van to go on hike in the cold weather, but we had a 6 hour drive back to Portland so we got going. Not long after we started hiking and gaining elevation we started to hit snow. The snow dusting the mountain tops with the fall colors on the tress was breathtaking.



On the ride home I stared Googling routes in the Enchantments and discovered there is a shuttle service, Leavenworth Shuttle that picks people up at Snow Lakes trailhead and drops them off at Stuart Lake trailhead. I know what Susan and I are doing in October of 2019. 



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