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  • Archive for the ‘Washington State’ Category

    25

    On our third night of backpacking in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, we took a relatively flat hike over to Eightmile Lake. There were a few rolling areas but it was an easy hike after our climb up and down Aasgard Pass. It was also a very quiet hike. There were a few people camping on the far side of the lake but we never interacted with them, and we saw no one on our hike into the lake.

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    It might not have been alpine as the Enchantment Lakes were, but it wasn’t without a lot of grand scenery!

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    There was a very cool old dam near the end of the lake we stayed at and I poked around there for awhile taking photos.

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    Down the stream bed I went, poking around some more. Following old stream beds is something I really love to do when given the chance.

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    I’m a fan of mini-ecosystems and the PacNW is chock-full of them! Moss on trees, lichens on trees, fungi on trees….

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    It’s enough to warrant a selfie with old trees and their mini-ecosystems.

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    I’m also a fan of the quiet black and white portrait of seemingly simple things. It makes one wonder just how long something has sat in its position in the world.

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    I wish we could have explore more of this national forest but I don’t think we’ll be back up there anytime soon. Poking around and seeing a habitat that we’re not familiar with was awesome and I loved that we didn’t just have miles to make, that we had time to rest and enjoy the scenery.

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    As seen from I-90, heading west

    If you’ve been reading here long enough you know that Chris and I went to Seattle and the Cascades for our 10th anniversary in 2012. I never actually finished sharing the photos from that time and since I don’t always have a lot of excursions and adventures to share these days, I thought would try to finish sharing those photos over the next few weeks.

    If you missed any of those posts you can flip through them here.

    The big chunk of time we spent in Washington State, the primary reason for going, was to hike in the Enchantment Lakes. We had a permit for the Core Enchantment Zone which allowed us leeway to camp anywhere in the permit areas within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. We spent two nights in that Core Enchantment Zone and descended down Aasgard Pass on the third day in the Enchantments to camp elsewhere. The photos give a glimpse of the steepness of the terrain but it is really hard to accurately show just how arduous it was! It seems as if the top of the pass *is just right there* but that’s a good false summit you’re seeing!

    As I was processing these photos I was really missing our backpacking day. We’re hoping to get out and do a night or two with Forest this spring but it definitely won’t be as majestic as this place!

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    Pitching our tent on top of the Pass turned out to be perfect. We found an out of the way alcove, pitched the tent and took an afternoon nap. I alternated between reading and napping and of course poking my head out to check on our gear in case the goats were out snacking on it or our food.

    Chris saw some other folks climbing one of the mountains nearby so he followed in their tracks after dinner in order to try to see about taking sunset photos. I can’t remember if it was a success or not, but I’m sure the view was even better a few hundred feet higher.

    I think if I lived in the area this national forest would definitely be on my list of outdoor playgrounds to make regular visits to. So much to explore, learn, and see.

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    I stared at the snow covered peak in the far background on the right for a long time. It looked gigantic, threatening, exciting. I later determined it was Glacier Peak.

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    When we arrived back at Aasgard Pass we stopped to take a short break and take in the view. I hadn’t taken any photos on our summit, having been tired and ready to filter water at one of the lakes. That afternoon we were planning on descending and camping somewhere down at Colchuck Lake but I decided that we should camp up top, enjoy the view through the evening, especially since we had the permits to be up there. So we did and it was magnificent! I’ll be sharing some of the evening photos soon!

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    Since it is coming up on almost a year since our trip to Washington I thought it wise to start finishing up these photos. This is our walk back towards Aasgard Pass through the Upper Enchantments, showing some of the area that I didn’t cover on our trip into the lakes.

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    The pink on the snow is snow algae, also called watermelon snow.

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    Going back through these photos makes me wish I was out adventuring somewhere. Maybe sometime later this summer or the fall.

    (yep, still working on these posts from August….)

    When Chris and I left Leprechaun Lake we decided to go to the north end of Perfection Lake at the trail junction to Prusick Pass. I wanted to go up there and see what was that way but after lunch Chris wasn’t feeling it, however we did wander down that trail just a bit and found, what do you know…more goats!

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    So adorable!!

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    Our lunch view! We sat just a bit further up, literally at the sign junction.

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    This wouldn’t be our last encounter with goats, we had some hang out with us at our final campsite on Aasgard Pass.

    To Be Continued…

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    On our hike through the Enchantment Lakes we hiked as far as Leprechaun Lake before deciding we didn’t want to descend further down into the Snow Lakes zone. We figured that going down meant having to come back up and well, we liked up already. Looking back I think we should have sucked it up and gone down into those zones, but at the same time what we ended up doing worked out too, leaving us time to explore other areas of Washington instead of staying only in the Enchantments.

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    There was some rock hopping and precarious log walking involved to get across the streams leading to the lake.

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    I only had one lens with me and no lens hood so I apologize for the sun flares.

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    After we found ourselves at Perfection and Inspiration Lakes we wound our way around the north end of Perfection back down towards the much smaller Sprite Lake.

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    We took a few minutes here for a snack and photo break. There were several wildflowers along the path that I won’t even try to identify, though I did briefly look online. If you are familiar with alpine flora in Washington state please help me out!

    Phlox?
    I do think these are some kind of phlox though.

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    These little flowers are reminiscent of blueberries so I wouldn’t be surprised if they were in that family.

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    Sprite Lake was a pleasant resting point before we descended slightly to Leprechaun Lake. I love the naming conventions of these lakes, the habitat definitely felt as if tiny sprites and leprechauns could have been living there!

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