Getting to the Lakes


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North America » United States » Washington » Leavenworth
August 14th 2009
Published: June 9th 2014
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Looking up aasgard pass
Its a 2 day trip to reach the Lakes. We had to start with a long drive to get to start of the Stuart Lake trailhead. The first part is not that remarkable, just a regular trail in that area. You see Stuart lake. We hiked in, and then found a nice campground for the night. The highlight was first look at the dreaded Aasgard pass which we will have to climb next day to get into the lakes area.

Aasgard Pass:

The next day we started with a hearty camp breakfast. The trail already begins with a boulder field. The highlight though is steep pass. I was quite apprehensive about crossing it. We had full backpacks and it required use of hands to get over the big boulders. The beginning was ok, and we were making steady progress. Thankfully the weather held up while going up the pass. There was one point where I was almost slipping down the rock, but steadied myself. It looked more scary than it really was, and we were all able to get to the top without much problems. We had our first glimpse of mountain goats here.

On the top it was a totally different world. It was considerably colder here, and weather was also turning cloudy and rainy. But the beauty of the place was indeed impressive. Worth all the effort. We enjoyed exploring the area and then found a perfect campsite near one of the lakes. Since this area is high with little vegetation, they have open air pit toilets here. We called them restroom with a view 😉 Excitement to enjoy rest of the lakes is building up. We did little bit of exploring after setting camp, found some nice waterfalls and good views of surrounding mountains.

Day 3:

The plan for today was to break camp and then check out little Annapurna peak. But we woke up to a surprise snow. The ground was covered with dusted snow, and it was really cold. We had not expected any snow in middle of August and were not prepared to deal with it. None of us had proper gear for the cold, and we did not know how to cook when its snowing outside. We huddled up in a single tent and tried to cook a meal while hand and everything freezing. Thankfully the snow did stop,

oh, its a toilet!
and the one on ground also melted. So we were finally able to break camp and get out. Much later than what we can originally planned. Snow had of course left extreme cold behind. The only thing to do today was to walk to next lakes and find the campsite. Little Annapurna will have to wait. This was the main day of walking across the Enchantments area. Each lake we crossed was as clear as the first we saw, and water in background of granite rocks was shinning in many colours. We did end up getting to next set of lakes in time. On the way I had to cross a small snow field which I decided to go around. Then a tiny log bridge which I did cross. The water was extremely clear, a typical of alpine lakes. We had a wonderful campsite, somewhat sheltered from the elements.

Day 4:

Today we wanted to get up before sunrise and go down to the lakes from where you see a wallpaper sunrise. It is actually one of the default wallpapers that comes with Windows. We did manage to getup in time and walked down to the lakes. There
CampsiteCampsiteCampsite

near first lake
we waited for the run to rise and catch the beautiful pictures of the sunrise. The water of lake was extremely still. As sun falls on rocks lining the lake, you start seeing a perfect reflection. Its something to see. The day turned out to be total opposite of yesterday, nice and sunny. Just seeing this sunrise itself made the whole trip justified. When we got back to our campsite, we had a family of goat visiting us. They just sat there, unperturbed by our presence.

Since we had missed little Annapurna yesterday, we decided to make that trip today. We came back, had some breakfast and then started on that trail. This was also a rocky ascend, and there was no real trail. You just see the tip of mountain and carry on. There was of course a faint sign of trail, but mostly it was walking among the rocks. This was also not very difficult and we all make it to top. The views were great from top. The whole stuart range was in front of us, many of the hikes and passes we had done on previous trips. We spent some good time there before heading back. From the trail you can also see a good view of most of the enchantment lakes together.

After this we still had to break camp and then walk down to the next campsite outside the main area. This was proving to be a really long day. On the way we saw how one lake fed into other, creating the whole system of lakes. The way down felt very long, and we got down from higher rocky area into the forest. There were a lot of rocky patches to cross, and as usual I was not to happy about them. I had to sit down to jump some of the rocks, not so much fun with a full backpacks. We reached the campsite quite close to dark.

Day 5:

Our final campsite was near a lower lake, lined with trees. In the morning we saw another nice sunrise. It created beautiful shadows of trees on the lake. We had breakfast, packed up, and then began a really long descent. The way is now smooth instead of rocky, and there are many switch backs, but it felt endless after 4 long days of hiking.


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Walking by the lakes


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