Enchantment Basin Hike
if there is magic on earth – it lives in the enchantment basin. i got my first taste of this place this winter. i was lucky enough to join a couple friends on a backcountry ski tour up aasgard pass. i vowed to return as soon as possible.
well this weekend i hiked the entire 20 miles of trail, and it did not disappoint. my 17 year old nephew is visiting his uncle from new hampshire for two weeks. the goal was to show him one of the most beautiful places on earth and challenge him a bit.
my friend heidi joined us as we left seattle at 5am saturday morning fueled by excitement and the deamon bean. generally speaking you apply in the winter for a camping permit for the enchantment basin. if you are lucky your name gets drawn.. but this takes forethought and more advanced planning than i am capable of. every morning however at 7:45am there is a drawing of around four permits for those that show up on time. the day before 15 people fought over 4 permits. we were insanely lucky in that only 3 other parties showed saturday morning… so we all got the permits we wanted. sweet!
off the 8 mile road trailhead we headed toward stuart lake and aasgard pass. once up to colchuck lake you get the first view of aasgard pass, dragontail and the colcuch glacier. maybe it’s the name, maybe it’s the skiable bowl, maybe it’s the imposing presence of the dragontail – i just love that piece of rock. it’s impressive to say the least. i will return with skis this winter for sure.
we decided to camp down near perfection lake which seemed to be about 1/2 on the route. i was excited for dinner, not just because i was hungry but i also wanted to test out my new msr reactor stove. this is an amazing piece of gear. it boiled water every time in less than 3 minutes. it’s entirely self contained and is so efficient that it’s the perfect stove for backcountry ski tours where it’s colder and more exposed (re windy) than your normal camp.
we then headed up out for a quick hike up to the prusik peak saddle. prusik peak is an impressive wedge of rock (it’s in the pictures below). makes me think about learning to properly climb. thankfully my recent injuries were distant thoughts. i’m pretty sure the magic of the enchantments helped me feel better than i have in a long long time.
we finished the night with some recovery clif hot chocolate, my favorite wintertime bevy. for heidi and i the night was restless. previous to this trip, the highest josh has ever been was the summit of mt washington in new hampshire (6,288 ft). we were now over 7,000 and he had hiked further than ever before so he was out cold.. dead body sleep.
heidi and i did a bright and early morning run around perfection lake and then up prusik pass. it was the perfect way to start a day, in the most perfect place on earth, perfection lake.
the hike out was essentially all downhill and by the end my young nephew was starting to show wear and tear. he held in there with his combat boots even as heidi and i started to jog the smooth downhills. we just couldn’t help it. josh was a helpful and happy addition to the trip, and he did awesome.
it’s a 20 mile point to point with just under 6,000ft of climbing if you go the assgard pass route. i want to see how fast i can run it when the body starts to work as designed again. i also want to take everyone i know to this magical place. it truly is one of the best trails i’ve ever experienced.
heidi is a talented journalist and she wrote a blog post as well. check it.