Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Road to Asgard continues...

In case you missed the beginning of this tale, you can find it here.

After departing from Upper Snow Lake, we began the steepest part of the trip. Fortunately, this is a hiker's trail rather than a miner's trail, so it has switchbacks, unlike the trail to the Lake of the Angels... but even so, it's quite steep. We gained 2000 over approximately one mile, scrambling up and over rocks, and struggling to keep our spirits up.

The expression on Erika's face shows the elation we felt when we found the sign indicating that we were about to enter the Enchantment Lakes Basin at long last. Our destination lay just around the bend!

It was a little bit more than just around the bend, but fortunately not much more.

Looking back over our shoulders allowed us to gain a sense of how far we had come from Upper Snow Lake.

After finding ourselves a beautiful campsite on the shores of Lake Vivianne, with Prusik Peak standing above us, we headed out to do some exploring with nice, light packs. Carrying so little weight after all that grueling climbing was very liberating.

We meanderd among the Lower Enchantment Lakes for a time; since we stopped frequently to photograph or simply admire our surroundings, we didn't travel very far. We strayed from the trail of cairns frequently to get closer looks at the creeks that connected the lakes, the tarns scattered among the lakes, and of coure the trees and heather, interspersed with splashes of colorful wildflowers.

Prusik Peak, always visible from within the basin, caught the light nicely.

After our afternoon of exploration, we headed back to camp to settle in for the night, hoping to get some rest before the trip to Asgard. We planned on leaving early, traveling lightly, in the hopes of giving ourselves time enough for a side trip to the top of one of the high peaks, either Little Annapurna or Dragontail.

To be continued...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Road to Asgard

Erika and Orion and I met at 4:30 at Erika's place in Kirkland on Wednesday morning. Fortified with caffeinated beverages, we drove to Leavenworth to pick up our camping permits and get some breakfast. After that, we made for the trailhead.

We booted up and hefted our massive packs, then started on the trail.

After a short descent to Icicle Creek, the switchbacks began.

Ocassionally, we encountered hikers heading down to the trailhead, who offered us words of encouragement, usually relating to how spectacular the destination would be when we got there.

We also met some mountain goats on the way.

After pausing to photograph the pair, we continued onward. We stopped for a light lunch at Nada Lake, and spent some time being entertained by the camp robbers, and photographing the mountains and the lake.

Looming over Nada Lake are the Temple and Prusik Peak. The more distant Prusik Peak marks the entrance to our destination. We have a long way to go yet.

The combination of the arduous and unrelenting climb, distance, and weight of our packs forced us to rest for the night at Upper Snow Lake.

So far, we have hiked 7.5 miles and gained approximately 4000 feet of elevation.

After enjoying the spectacle of the rising sun over Upper Snow Lake the following morning, we began the next stage of our journey.

To be continued...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Voyage of Discovery

A friend of mine, Nona who I met at a photography workshop
with Tony Sweet last fall, headed out to visit Seattle last week.

We met up with another of Nona's friends and wandered over
to Discovery Park looking for some sunset photo opportunities
overlooking the Puget Sound.

Discovery Park is right smack dab in the middle of Magnolia, no
more than a ten-minute drive from where I live in Queen Anne.

Exotic it is not.

That does not mean that there are no photo opportunities there, of course;
you just have to learn to have new eyes.