Hiking: Enchantments // Stuart Lake

Hiking: Enchantments // Stuart Lake

Hiking: Enchantments // Stuart Lake

First backpacking trip was a success! Our neighbor told us about the Enchantments in the Cascade mountains and we were quickly convinced to sign up for the lottery to get a camping permit this summer. Thankfully, Ryan did a good job picking the Stuart Zone for the lottery camping permit even though we didn’t exactly do our research before chosing. Being 6 months pregnant, I don’t think I could have made the hike up through Aasguard Pass carrying camping equipment. The Whole Core Enchantment Loop is 19 miles with a 6000 ft elevation gain and another 7800 ft elevation loss. This is on my list of hikes post pregnancy.

We were excited we got an overnight camping permit in the Stuart Lake Zone & what a weekend it was with our crew of 8!  It was my first time carrying camping equipment over 4 miles to a campsite, first time eating dehydrated food (there is a fire ban in this area), first time filtering water from a lake to drink and first time camping out in the alpine wilderness.

We left Friday night and and stayed in a hotel outside of Leavenworth so we could get an early start Saturday morning. We got up at 7am and drove to the trailhead. Four miles of the drive was on a roller coaster dirt road filled with potholes. We finally got our hike started around 8:30am. The hike was strenuous but not overly difficult with a 1600 ft elevation gain over 4.6 miles. I had to take more breaks than I normally would have being 6 months pregnant. I have to give a huge thanks to my husband who carried all our heavy gear (tent, sleeping bags & whatever else we could fit in his huge 3 liter backpack). I borrowed a friend’s day backpack which was much smaller but we still packed it full of what we could.

The first 2 miles of the hike was the hardest with some steep inclines and a rocky terrain. At about the half way point when the Stuart Lake trail breaks off from the Colchuck lake trail, the trail levels out. The rest of the hike was mostly through the forest with a few breaks of meadows. The meadows offered amazing views of Mount Stuart & the surrounding mountains.

Once we got to our campsite, we set up our tents & spent the rest of the day relaxing by the lake and exploring around the campsite.  We did a lot of talking on the big rocks overlooking the lake.  Hands down, best day I have had in a long time!

It was so nice to be out in the solitude of the wilderness and only feel like there were 8 other people in the world.  Being out in the mountains here in the Pacific Northwest re-invigorates me and helps me take a step back from the hustle & bustle of everyday life.   I come home from trips & hikes like these feeling inspired and ready to take on the life I want to live and create for myself.

And we are off on the hike…
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First part of the hike before the steep rocky inclines started.
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Entering into our first meadow on the 2nd half of the hike.
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Views from the meadow.
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Our first glimpse of Lake Stuart.
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Campsite View.
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Bocce ball.
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Sunset over the Lake.
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Until next time Lake Stuart!
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