Enchantments 1999


Will and I backpacked into the Enchantments from July 17 to July 23 1999.

Will was eleven years old then. Here is a picture of Will at Leprechaun Lake.

The first day Odette dropped us off at the snow lake trail head and we hiked to Nada lake – six and a half miles and roughly thirty-seven hundred feet of elevation. We would have gone on to Snow lake but the bugs were really bad, it was raining, and the strap on my pack broke. Here is a picture of us at the trailhead.

The next day we hiked on up to lake Vivienne – eighteen hundred feet in under two miles. The dam at Snow Lake was under about eighteen inches of water and that crossing was exciting. We lost the trail in snow a couple of times near the upper end of Snow Lake. The haul up Trauma Ridge was hot and tiresome.

We camped on a rock platform a hundred feet above the lake. That evening we saw goats.

The plan was to move camped to one of the higher lakes the next day but the route around Lake Vivienne either required a climb up steep snow with a cliff below or a nasty step from rock to snow with the lake below and we decided to leave the camp alone and just do day hikes.

Monday we hiked to Leprechaun lake and explored the lower enchantment lake basin. The goats hung around our camp all day. He is a picture of the goats.

Tuesday we hiked to Prusik Pass and then to the higher lakes (Perfection, Inspiration and Crystal) and climbed Little Annapurna. The climb to Prusik Pass was on steep snow but above trees. The climb of Little Annapurna was sort of steep with really long run-outs. We wished we had our skis. Here is a picture of him sitting on top of Little Annapurna with Dragontail in the background. We were able to descend most of the way on rock at the edge of the snow. We returned to camp via the steep snow by Lake Vivienne using a ten foot vertical crack to get down onto the snow.

Wednesday morning we saw a weasel or something crossing back and forth in the water of the outlet stream. The goats were still there. We hiked up to Naiad lake and saw the whole herd of them resting on the snow. We explored several snow chutes leading up onto Temple ridge. This is a picture looking up to Prusik Peak from Naiad Lake.

Thursday we packed up and hiked back down to Nada lake. The bugs were still there.

Friday we hiked back out to the road. We hitch-hiked from the Snow Lake parking lot to Leavenworth and walked among the tourists with our big packs. We checked into the hotel and Odette met us for dinner.

It was a good trip and here are some thoughts about doing this kind of thing with a kid:

  • Leaving the camp in one place and doing day trips was a good plan – will did a lot better without a heavy load.
  • His pack was about 25% of his body weight (25 lbs on a 100 lb boy). Our hike was fairly strenuous and that was pretty close to his limit.
  • The goats were a big hit.
  • We brought a book (Tolkien’s lord of the rings trilogy) and read every evening in the tent. That was worth it’s weight.
  • After a strenuous day (Prusik Pass and Little Annapurna) a rest day was in order.
  • We took too much food and too much fuel, but with Will along I wanted a little more margin than I would take on my own. Next time I won’t carry so much extra.
  • Of all the freeze dry stuff we took the Thai spicy was the best. Even though I wouldn’t carry it on a climb since it requires mixing two pouches and waiting ten minutes, Will enjoyed doing that part and it not only worked well but it tasted good.
  • We both carried cameras with black and white film so that we could make our own prints afterwards. The trip seemed to have been a lot more fun for will in the recounting and showing of prints than it was at the time.