At the junction of the Stuart Lake trail and the trail that leads to Colchuck Lake we stopped on a rock to take a break. The walk from the Mountaineer Creek had left the shade of the forest and began winding its way up the side of the mountain. Overall not difficult but the heat was rising. Despite the northwest having a reputation for being rainy and cloudy, we came during a week or sunshine and temperatures upwards of 100* in the valleys and 80s and 90s in the mountains. We sat eating a snack, fending off a sneaky chipmunk and then meeting several groups of hikers, including two women in their 60s.
We crossed the creek once more and found ourselves winding around a small boulder field before returning to the trail which continued its general way upwards. Along the way we played leap frog with the two women. The so-called leader of the group managed to pull ahead of the weaker woman who had to stop several times along the way. When we caught up to the leader we let her know her partner had taken a break. She stopped to talk with us for a bit letting us know that we shouldn’t get old if we could help it. It seemed all of her hiking partners were slowly falling away, either to ailments, death or lack of interest. So, hike while you can!
While we were doing fairly decent for lack of hiking shape, we were still passed by folks doing a ‘thru’ of the Enchantments in a day. Carrying small daypacks, they jetted up the trail ahead of us and we never saw them again. We also saw people coming down, those who’d started on the other end of the trail. These folks must have been up early!
And then finally we reached the ‘top’, or what would be a nice break from going up for a mile or so, as we would be walking nearly ‘flat’ around the side of the lake. We came to the north end of Colchuck Lake which offered up a beautiful lake that with the heat of the day I felt I could just jump right in! The peak on the right is Dragontail Peak and the dip to the left is Aasgard Pass, our destination after lunch and what would take us to the Upper Enchantments. Aasgard Pass is a nearly one mile hike filled with scree, boulder, rocks and a lot of elevation gain packed into that mile.
It doesn’t look so bad from here, but it really is a slow going hike. Running down the middle is a stream and waterfall while a trail marked with cairns runs along the east side of the pass. It is pretty easy to lose track of it too!