A three day adventure in Washington's Paradise: The Enchantments

The Enchantments are one of the most popular hiking and backpacking spots in Washington: crystal clear lakes, mountain goats everywhere, and spectacular granite peaks guarding the basin. There are two ways of seeing The Enchantments: get an overnight camping permit (through a crazy lottery system) or thru-hike it in one day: 18 miles, 4500 feet elevation level.

This year, we were lucky enough to get overnight permits at Colchuck Lake, and crazy enough to do the thru-hike in one of the days. Here’s how it went.

First day: Colchuck Lake

After spending the night before at Eightmile Campground and meeting our friends, we got an early start on Saturday morning. After two and a half our of uphill hiking with big backpacks, we found the perfect camping spot right at Colchuck Lake: close to the lake, perfect view on Aasgard Pass and Dragontail Peak, with enough shade and plenty of spots to chill in the sun.

Colchuck camping Camping with friends right at Colchuck Lake. On the left is Aasgard Pass

After taking a quick (and refreshing) swim, the group divided in two: three of us hung out at the campground and enjoyed a real summer day by the lake, the rest headed straight up on Aasgard to explore the lakes. Myself, I chose the easy way and spend the afternoon relaxing in the sun, napping and reading.

Jump Taking a refreshing jump

The evening came with two incidents that luckily finished well: a group of 6 day-hikers were too tired to make it down to the parking lot, so we hosted one of the girls in our campground and gave the others a bunch of warm clothes, and two of our friends loved Aasgard Pass so much, that decided to come back at 11PM to the tents (Kudos to Keith & Pawel who went for a quick and successful "rescue" mission with warm clothes and headtorches!).

Second day: The Enchantments

What a better way to start Sunday morning than hiking the infamous Aasgard Pass? After one and a half hour of solid uphill hiking (or rather scrambling), we finished the most difficult part of the hike: 2000 feet in quarter of a mile (600 meters up in 1.2km).

Aasgard PassMade it up! Can you see where we started?

Goat Goat!

Getting an overnight permit in the Enchantments Core Zone is crazy, and when I got to the top and saw the views all around, it made sense: this was Paradise. Clear alpine lakes, icebergs, glaciers, mama-goats with baby goats, and only few people around. Easily one of the most beautiful mountain wilderness areas I’ve ever seen. Enchanted in the Enchantments.

Icebergs Nope, didn't dive in this lake

Paradise Para-Para-Paradise

Prusik Peak Prusik Peak in the back!

Few hours later, our group divided again: some returned to Colchuck Lake, and then back to Seattle that evening, and three of us decided to do the thru-hike. The more we hiked through the Enchantments, the more mesmerized I was by the nature around us.

Granite Granite everywhere!

Going down It mostly went downhill from here

We got to Snow Lake and had a quick swim and lunch. Mama goat and baby goat appeared out of nowhere and passed right in front of us.

Picture break Took a quick picture break on our way down

At 7PM (with a rhythm faster than 2.5 miles per hour) we got to the Snow lakes trailhead, grabbed the car and headed back to Colchuck - we had to make it back to the tents that evening. On the way up we met with our friends - who were so surprised to see us there, as if they saw some ghosts!

We made it to Colchuck later in the evening, with head torches on, enjoyed dinner and hot tea. 18 miles of hiking, 4500 feet elevation gain, and a thru-hike through Paradise. My type of Sundays.

Third day - Going back

Our plan for Monday was to hang out in the sun, swim in the lake and do nothing. Nature’s plan for Monday was to start with foggy weather and continue with rain. So around noon we packed our packs and headed down to Leavenworth, for American burgers, German beer and Italian ice-cream.

Rain No, I don't like rain

Life’s good. Enchantments, we'll be back next summer! <3

us As always, credits to many of these awesome pictures go to Pawel!

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