The Enchantments!

After years of dreaming about getting out into The Enchantments, Alex and I finally checked it off the list! The Enchantments are a protected area in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in Washington state. We’ve been planning and training for the thru-run for the last year and we were finally able to make it happen.

There are a few ways you can get into The Enchantments and none of them are easy. We opted to do the thru-run. The thru-run {or hike} is done in one day. The only other way to see all of the Enchantments is to win the lottery for a backpacking permit to camp, or do an out-and-back hike in one day.

The route we took was 20 miles with 5500+ feet of elevation gain and 7200 feet of elevation loss. This includes climbing up the notorious Aasgard Pass, which is basically a rocky minefield. I expected that Aasgard Pass would be challenging. It was brutal.

We started at the Stuart Lake Trailhead at 5:40 a.m. and made our way up to Colchuck Lake quickly. We’ve run to Colchuck before, so we knew what to expect for that segment of the run.

Once we got to Colchuck we were in uncharted territory – we had never gone further than the first iconic lake and we were almost to Aasgard Pass.

Thank heavens we were able to make it to the top of Aasgard Pass before the sun rose up that high so we could remain in the shade.

Alex loved the rocky scramble up the famed pass. I, on the other hand, did not. Sure, it felt very victorious making it up to the top, but it was grueling and trashed my hip flexors. There is just no easy way up. Not even close.

We saw a mama mountain goat and her baby! {They blend into the granite in the photo below – can you spot them?}

Once we summited Aasgard Pass we reached the gateway to the core of The Enchantments!

It felt as though we had climbed up a mountain pass and landed on another planet. It truly felt other-worldly.

The sheer beauty and the magnitude and the incredible uniqueness of the terrain and landscape are breathtaking and absolutely magnificent.

Once we were in the core, which is what everyone comes for, it was all relatively downhill or flat-ish. We followed the carins {little rock piles that mark the trail} and did our best to take it all in.

I love being up in the alpine. It was so worth the climb up Aasgard to be able to admire the calm beauty of the alpine lakes and the craggy mountains and the twisty, Dr Seuss-like larch trees.

Through The Enchantment core we passed several main lakes, each one as pristine and aquamarine as the last. We stopped a lot to refill water bottles as the temperature rose, and we managed to eat on-the-go. And of course we took all the pictures. Still, though, our mission that day was speed, for no other reason than we knew it was going to be extremely hot!

Alex took a dip in Snow Lake, which was the final lake, and we both fully refilled our water bottles, knowing we had a bit to go before the end.

The final descent to the car was both easier and harder than I expected. It was a really gradual loss of 7200 feet and it was runnable almost the entire way. We were planning for 18 miles and it ended up being 20 miles and also 102 degrees, almost fully sun exposed. It felt like it took forever. But, we did it!! It took us 6.5 hours of moving time and just over 8 hours of actual elapsed time.

I have a feeling we will be back one day to do it again one day! Hopefully our kids will join us at some point, too 🙂 Here’s to our next adventure!