Back in February, 2011, some friends of mine got together to apply for a permit to the core zone of the Enchantment Lakes Basin, in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area. This pristine wilderness holds some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. It has been a goal of mine since I moved to Washington to experience this place. Luckily, one of the 5 people that applied for the permit during the week that typically peaks for fall colors clinched a spot for us all. Ever since we won the permit back in February, I have been eagerly awaiting this trip, and I was not disappointed! For me, the Enchantments surpass all the hype. It is a place unlike any other that I have experienced.
The trek through the Enchantments Lakes Basin is no less than 18 miles long start to finish gaining 6,000 feet. When planning for a trip through the enchantments, the first decision to be made is which way to go, as the trail starts and finishes in two different trail heads; Colchuck Lake or Snow Lakes. Starting at the Colchuck Lake trailhead tempts you with a shorter entrance to the Enchantments Basin with the drawback of an insanely steep climb up Asgard Pass. By insane I mean climbing over 2,300 ft in less than a mile. The Snow Lakes route offers you a somewhat leisurely hike to the lower Enchantments Basin, at least on paper. In reality, the hike is 10 miles long and gains 6,000 ft.
Our group made the last minute decision to go through Colchuck Lake, which we all concluded in the end to be the right choice, especially with the weather conditions we encountered.
On our first day, we spent the night at Colchuck Lake, which I must admit seems like a bit of an under rated hike in itself, and was a perfect way to start our journey.