This is a “photo essay” (i.e. lazy trip report) for a June 12-14 overnight trip to the Enchantments in Washington’s Central Cascades. This happened to be the last weekend before “permit season” after which a permit is required to camp overnight in the area. This year’s historically low snowpack made for very pleasant backpacking conditions without the red tape.
Aasgard Pass was completely melted out.
Little Annapurna was a routine snow climb with great views.
This weekend I enjoyed some “luxurious” backpacking at Blanca Lake, located north of Skykomish along Highway 2.
Blanca Lake is a glacier-fed alpine lake. It has a milky turquoise color due to the glacier-ground rock dust (known as “glacial flour”). In 3 miles crossing two wildernesses (Wild Sky and Henry M. Jackson), the popular trail to the lake gains a little over 3000′ before dropping another 300′ down to the steep shores.
Our group of six decided to take along some unusual (heavy) supplies for this trip due to the short distance; this included swim trunks, a dozen eggs, bacon, steak, barbecue sauce, and iPod speakers. We paid the price for these on the 30 switchbacks up to the pass, but they were so worth it once we made camp.
The trail tops out at Virgin Lake before descending down to Blanca: breaking out of the trees here, we caught a great view of secluded Glacier Peak.
The next 300′ downhill was on muddy trail but soon enough we broke out into a clearing with a view of the lake from on high.
At the head of the lake, dozens of hikers crowded the beach; I was amazed to encounter such a zoo after quite a lot of elevation gain. We crossed over the log jam (trekking poles were handy) to the next beach, which to our amazement had no tents set up yet! We claimed it as our own.