Monday, October 8, 2012

The Enchantments in a Day

For a long time I had thought about hiking from the Snow Creek trailhead in Leavenworth up through the Enchantments and down to the Stuart Lake trailhead in a day. The idea is that I would leave a bike on the other end of the eighteen mile tour and then ride down to my car.

The problem?

Oh yeah, there's one of those.

Fires. Lots and lots of fires.  The Stuart Lake Trailhead was closed, so my plan was undermined before it even began.  So instead, I decided to do an "Enchantment Tour" in a day.  In other words, I hiked approximately 11 miles up to Prusik Pass and then hiked back down to the car in a 12 hour 22 mile round trip.

The following are a series of photos from my day.

 It's hard to see in this photo, but this is Cashmere Mountain, near the Stuart Lake Trailhead at night.
The lights on the hill are not houses, but flames.

 Early morning self-portrait. I left the car at 6am and returned at 6pm.

 The reflection of a peak in Nada Lake.

 Part of the tour is on land managed by the National Fish Hatchery. Between Nada Lake and Snow Lake, a dam was open, spewing water down into the lake below.

 Nada Lake

 Lower Snow Lake

McClellen Peak 

Weird steps cut into the rock right before the Enchantment Basin. 

A self-portrait just above Lake Viviane. This lake was so clear that even while I was walking on a trail hundreds of feet above the lake, I could still see fish moving underwater. 

 Lake Viviane and the South Face of Prusik Peak

A classic shot of Prusik Peak. The reason the peak is called prusik is because the first ascent party was forced to lasso the summit block and prusik up to the top. Today, the most popular routes are the West Ridge, a 5.7 seen on the left-hand side. And the South Face, a 5.9 that climbs the center of the imposing face.

Little Annapurna above Perfection Lake. 

Prusik Peak from Perfection Lake 

 The spur trail up to Prusik Pass.

After 11 miles of hiking, I took a half-an-hour break at Prusik Pass before reversing the whole trek.

 This trip was only the second time I've been into the "core Enchantments." I've been to Colchuck Lake  seven or eight times, but only once previously up to the core to climb Prusik Peak. I'd forgotten how beautiful the area is. I'll be back...probably sooner rather than later...

--Jason D. Martin

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