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THE ENCHANTMENTS

Washington Wilderness

Story by Jesse Morrow December 30th, 2013

DAY 1

In September I had the opportunity to do my second backpacking trip into the wilderness of Washington State. This year, along with the guidance of my friends Jerry and Ben, we headed to the Core Enchantments area. We were lucky enough to win the lottery pick for a core pass which allowed us to camp in multiple areas. This four day trip would be one to remember!

Starting off day one, I had to get my legs used to carrying a 40lb. pack. Luckily the sites were a good enough distraction. We eventually found ourselves at the lower Snow Lakes and decided it would be a good place to stop for the night. We set up camp right along the shoreline and watched the mist come in. It was a bit chilly but sleep was sweet at the end of the first day.

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DAY 2

Waking up with the sun on day 2, we stretched our legs and tried to find a bit of comfort in the hot oat meal we were eating for breakfast. The cold air felt good in my lungs and the clear skies were an indication of another beautiful day. I actually found a bit of comfort in the ever growing familiarity of the heavy pack. We headed out on our way to reach the upper Enchantments.

With the advice of some fellow hikers we reached an area called Crystal lake. A beautiful spot nestled in a little bit of a valley. A peninsula jutting out into the lake would make for an excellent camp. We were warned about the goats but had no idea what we were in for. We encountered several over the course of the night and had a few scares as one in particular was a bit territorial. Everyone was safe and sound at the end of day 2.

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DAY 3

We had reached the top, such a glorious moment. We found a camp site overlooking Isolation Lake, the perfect place in my opinion to crash for the night. Before calling it a day, Ben and I decided to do a "quick" (3 hour) scramble up a little peak to get a glimpse over the other side. The views that extended for miles and miles were breathtaking. Tears of joy and deep conversations about the appreciation for life came spilling out with no resistance. I felt very fortunate to experience that moment alongside my friends. At night the stars blazed and my mind was free to wander.

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Day 4

Waking up with the sun on top of a mountain may be the best feeling in the world. The sun burned over the peaks and shed some rays of warmth on us as we slipped into our packs. The load a bit lighter than the previous days as our food supply was down to the last bits. Our plan was to hike down the treacherous Aasgard Pass and spend our last night at Colchuck Lake. On the way down our plan changed as one in our trio, Jerry, crash landed into a rock. The result was a pair of broken glasses and what we would later find out to be a broken face along with some broken teeth. While Jerry was still in shock we decided to hike all the way out and get to our vehicle as soon as possible. Hours later in Seattle, before he headed to the hospital, Jerry ended the trip by saying "Well boys, can't wait for next year."

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Footnote: While his pride and face and glasses may have been shattered, Jerry is okay and already hiking again
Enchantment Lakes, United States
LICENSE PHOTOS FROM THIS TRIP