With permitting season well underway, I finally put some time aside to work on Enchantment photos from my trip last October (click to enlarge).
At the Snow Lakes trailhead
I consider myself a lucky person - my favorite place in the world is only a few hours drive and I've been able to go four times now, despite the lottery system.
The entrance to the Upper Enchantments doesn't lack for drama
Thomas was with me on my last trip in 2012 and wanted to show his wife Megan the hike, so they flew in from DC. I was able to take first timers Kirk, Sara, and Tara up into the Enchantment zone to share a little piece of paradise.
Looking down on Snow Lake
This trip was a little more challenging than previous years, as due to time constraints we decided to hike all the way up from the trailhead to the Enchantments zone via Snow Lakes in one day. We made it up, but had to set up tents in the dark and there was a lot of grumbling as the winds gusted all around us.
Kirk practices in front of the mirror at home for this shot.
The winds during the night were the strongest I've ever experienced. You could hear the winds coming and when they hit the bowl, it sounded like a train had come through. It made for a long night.
The next morning though...pure beauty.
Dragon Tail looms above Colchuck Lake.
We ran into a ranger who stayed down in Colchuck the night before and she said that it was the windiest she'd ever seen. I thought the wind was thrilling and loved it. You always get something different when you come here.
Just another beautiful day
October is a great time of year to go. The crowds aren't as big and the larches are out in full force. What's really interesting is that on this hike, I was able to see something initially considered a trend grow fully into the mainstream (at least in my mind). I'm talking about trail running.
What little vegetation on the ground there is needs to be respected
I saw more trail runners on this hike than all of my previous years combined. That is to say, there were at least 20 compared to zero. No doubt, this has something to do with the beauty of the course, the popularity of the hike, and the tough permit system. So I can see why the Enchantments are a popular spot for it.
However, I have to worry about the disappearing solitude that coming here used to bring. It defeats the purpose of a permitting system (to limit the damage caused by people) if they don't have to worry about permits. It also seems like extending the Enchantments zone like they recently did, hasn't really done much to limit access. While I have nothing against trail running, what trails do exist here are very narrow. I regularly saw runners venturing off trail to get around hikers.
So you know...get off my lawn.
Megan entering the Upper Enchantments.
The Enchantments are best when lingered in, but I realize only a few people get to do this. The more people that can experience places like this, the better.
Kirk and Tara making their descent.
Best hiking tip I can ever give you: before leaving on any multi-day hike, stash some beer in a river at the start of the trip.
you might want to get that looked at