XCFeedsHow Enchanting…

FasterSkier FasterSkierAugust 16, 2010

Yesterday two-thirds of the MOD Squad (where’s Erik? probably sleeping…) plus coach joined a larger group of athletes to complete the beautiful 22mile Enchantments run, a point-to-point 5500ft gain journey in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness outside of Leavenworth (Torin’s hometown). Alison and I had made plans to do the run a few weeks back and we got Scott and Torin to quickly sign on for this scenic endeavor. Add skiing legend Alan Watson, his brother Rolf and ladyfriend Delianne, Scott’s brother-in-law John, and PNSA star junior Max Christman and we had ourselves an expedition party.br /br /div style=”text-align: center;”a onblur=”try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}” href=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_Mg2hQbkHkNs/TGmmjx1gYKI/AAAAAAAAAdk/FiFMpDGKZIY/s1600/P1000637.JPG”img style=”margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer; width: 320px; height: 240px;” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_Mg2hQbkHkNs/TGmmjx1gYKI/AAAAAAAAAdk/FiFMpDGKZIY/s320/P1000637.JPG” alt=”” id=”BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5506115153040531618″ border=”0″ //aspan style=”font-style: italic;”Necessary equipment: French press and Sportslick anti-chafebr //span/divbr /After car-camping in various spots along the access road we all met at the ending trailhead at 7:30am Sunday morning. Filled to the brim with fresh French roast and suitably guarded against the evils of armpit chafing, I was ready to roll. We left my and Torin’s trucks at the end and piled into the MOD van for the ride up to the Stuart Peak/Colchuck Lake trailhead. The first few miles of the trail were a nice warmup; a gentle uphill grade with periodic steeper hiking bits got our blood moving. After climbing for about 2 hours we reached Colchuck Lake and the base of Asgaard Pass, a 1/2 mile climb taking us up another 22ooft. This is where things got a bit askew. Alison and I had dropped behind the group a few yards, having stopped to take a few photos. When I turned to regain the pack I couldn’t see them, as we were scrambling over huge boulders along the edge of the lake. I knew we had to ascend a steep gully to the Pass but didn’t know which one. Because the last two times that she’d done the run it had been snowing and fogged-in, Alison couldn’t tell either. So we headed up the first steep gully we saw. We had been scrambling upwards for about 45min, following the cairns that we thought were the correct markers, when I began to get nervous. We hadn’t seen or heard any of our group the entire way, and despite the clear trail we were following I wasn’t sure of our route. Then, looking over to the other gully, I saw our guys.br /br /After a long traverse across the slope we regained the correct trail and started up to Asgaard. At the top, we were amazed – it was gorgeous. An almost lunar landscape with small lakes and jagged peaks greeted us, along with countless mountain goats.br /br /div style=”text-align: center;”a onblur=”try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}” href=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_Mg2hQbkHkNs/TGmoA47-55I/AAAAAAAAAd0/C3q1LBk5DBs/s1600/P1000657.JPG”img style=”margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer; width: 320px; height: 240px;” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_Mg2hQbkHkNs/TGmoA47-55I/AAAAAAAAAd0/C3q1LBk5DBs/s320/P1000657.JPG” alt=”” id=”BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5506116752674580370″ border=”0″ //aspan style=”font-style: italic;”The noble mountain goat…br //span/divbr /From there on the run was a lesson in navigation; the trail followed large cairns for the next several miles and it was very easy to step out of line while trying to maintain an even running pace. A few hours later we began dropping down out of the alpine bowl to Snow Lakes, a more forested section of the route linking several rather large and mosquito-inhabited lakes. We came to find later that this was where Torin, Max and John took their 1.5 hour off-course detour.br /br /div style=”text-align: center;”a onblur=”try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}” href=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_Mg2hQbkHkNs/TGmrJShtZBI/AAAAAAAAAeA/16P4vOhzfX0/s1600/P1000668.JPG”img style=”margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer; width: 320px; height: 240px;” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_Mg2hQbkHkNs/TGmrJShtZBI/AAAAAAAAAeA/16P4vOhzfX0/s320/P1000668.JPG” alt=”” id=”BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5506120195517539346″ border=”0″ //aspan style=”font-style: italic;”High alpine lakes and rock slopes dominated the Enchantments bowlbr /br //spana onblur=”try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}” href=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_Mg2hQbkHkNs/TGmtHomhl1I/AAAAAAAAAeM/ETogF4oUsm0/s1600/P1000669.JPG”img style=”margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer; width: 320px; height: 240px;” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_Mg2hQbkHkNs/TGmtHomhl1I/AAAAAAAAAeM/ETogF4oUsm0/s320/P1000669.JPG” alt=”” id=”BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5506122366106834770″ border=”0″ //aspan style=”font-style: italic;”Looking down on Snow Lakes/spanbr //divbr /After the lakes it was a steady hour and a half descent, undulating between gradual and steep trail. After five hours of running my knees were starting to let me know they were there, and I watched as Alison’s ultrarunning prowess took over and she easily loped away from me down the mountain. We reached the end trailhead after 6.75 hours on the route and figured we would be the last to arrive, given our routefinding mistake in the beginning. But walking into the parking lot we saw that a) No vehicle was gone to run shuttle and b) Scott and Rolf had clearly just arrived. We came to find out, almost an hour later when Torin and Co. showed up, that the group had truly separated after the high alpine section, and that Torin’s group bounded ahead, only to be stymied by a confusing trail junction in the Snow Lakes portion. They bushwacked in search of the trail for nearly and hour and a half before regaining it, and bonking ensued en masse.br /br /div style=”text-align: center;”div style=”text-align: left;”Everyone finally arrived and shuttle complete, we all eagerly retreated to our old friend Rusty’s, a classic burger and shake stop in Cashmere. Another O.D. down, more mitochondria for the bank, and one more day closer to West Yellowstone. Our quest continues…br //divbr /a onblur=”try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}” href=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_Mg2hQbkHkNs/TGmnP3rvnOI/AAAAAAAAAds/92OJhyN56V0/s1600/P1000643.JPG”img style=”margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer; width: 320px; height: 240px;” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_Mg2hQbkHkNs/TGmnP3rvnOI/AAAAAAAAAds/92OJhyN56V0/s320/P1000643.JPG” alt=”” id=”BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5506115910524443874″ border=”0″ //aspan style=”font-style: italic;”The athletes: Alison, myself, Max and Torin/spanbr //divdiv class=”blogger-post-footer”img width=’1′ height=’1′ src=’https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/2910103639238326543-2335583517297984367?l=methowolympicdevelopment.blogspot.com’ alt=” //div

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