This trip was a part of an annual girlfriend backpacking trip in mid-August of 2015. I wasn’t doing trip reports on WTA yet and I didn’t think to do a trip report on Trail Journal’s, I pretty much just posted the amazing pictures on Facebook!
There were 8 of us who put in for permits and one of us luckily got one. In the end, only a few of the original gals could make the trip, so we ended up with some new friends (and newbie hikers) on our adventure. What an initiation. Who wouldn’t want to say their first backpacking trip was in the Enchantments! I heard things like, “This is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to,” and “This is the best day of my life.” I think mostly because she had accomplished something she never thought she could before. Mark that off the bucket list.
I’m glad we camped two nights in the Snow Zone and dayhiked into the Core and back out. This is a slower hike in with a longer and more gradual elevation gain until you hike from Snow Lake to the Core, which we did on the second day with day packs. I like the introduction and we didn’t have to deal with a lot of day hikers like you do going in via Colchuck.
I felt sorry for the people I saw lugging full packs up into what is really just a bootpath into the Core. Lots of slab rock and scramble. Even some rebar! I’m also glad we went midweek and avoided the forest fire smoke that came up after we hiked out. I used my hammock for the first time and loved it, even if it was a bit chilly. I would add another day so we could do more exploring on the surrounding peaks in the Core, but I’m not sure most of my group would have been up for that anyway.
The Enchantments are everything they say they are, in addition to crowds, people not following LNT and overuse. I saw people camping right on the lakeshore and folks walking on vegetation to get pictures with goats. I loved the trip, but there are plenty of other places in the PNW with equal or greater beauty still left in more pristine condition and where you can have a more wilderness experience.
But, you have to go at least once. You can find trail information on the Washington Trail Association website. Information on permits can be found at Recreation.gov or The U.S. Forest Service. I also talk in my post, So You Didn’t Get An Enchantment Permit, about other places just as nice without all the hassle of permits.