mountainside cooking series - wa

The Enchantments, WA – Day 1 & 2

By Chef Corso

Day 1- Getting there.  Getting Going.

7 miles.  4,000 ft elevation gain

Monkey Treats and Chickpea Chick met at our house for a quick Brekkie Tacos breakfast and Banana Blueberry Bread and packed up our final things. We went through our checklists, which was super helpful as we would have forgotten a few random things if we didn’t use them. Loaded the car and we were off on our 3 night, 4 day adventure in the Enchantments. 

The nice part about our itinerary is we just needed to Snow Lake and plop down our gear and set up camp.  We were not moving every day which was helpful for our overall planning. What that means is no worrying about dividing up weight by day per person. We just needed to mule everything up.  Just divide up the total and mule everything up.

We made the 3 hourish drive to the turnoff for trainheads.  The Enchantments can be done as a THROUGH HIKE so we dropped one car at the end point, Stuart Lake Trailhead.  In this car we had a cooler of cold beers, other bevis and snacks including ingredients for a Spinach Artichoke Dip that is going to taste so good when we’re done.  Also was a change of clean clothes, shoes and fresh socks. I can’t stress this step enough. A little planning for a few days out and your future self will thank you many times over.  You’re going to be tired and grimey and all you want at that point is a cold beverage, a satisfying snack and a change of clothes.

I love going to get a burger or burrito after a long trip like most people but sometimes it takes hours to get back to civilization.  Why not have something waiting for you at your car?

While dropping our car, we sliced up a nice lunch on a rock.

Lunch – On the Menu: Meat, Cheese, Bread, Veggies.

Amazingly simple very tasty

Next we drove down the hill to our car stop 2, Snow Lake Trailhead. Luckily, this was only about 20 min.

We did our final pack up, diveyed up the food and we were off full of excitement.

Our packs weighed from 34-42 lbs which each of us carrying 11.25 lbs worth of food/wine/sake.

We had 7 miles ahead of us and 4,000 feet to climb.

In the first 30 min of any backpacking trip, you ask yourself, “what am I doing…why do I have all this stuff on my back again.”  Don’t worry, it goes away after your body and mind get more comfortable with the sitch and you get warmed up.  

The hike was great.  Steady inclines with short flats to recharge.  Boulders making way to river crossings. Delightly PNW shrubs of Devils Club, Salmon Berries and Bracken Ferns.

Our crew hadn’t had much sleep in the days prior to leaving, with energy levels down, so we took it slow and steady.  It’s not a race and we didn’t have anywhere to do but we made steady progress with ample breaks.

The trail seemed to keep going and going and passing a lake that we thought was Snow but turned out to be Nada Lake. We had another 2ish miles to go.

Also, below is what happens when you stupidly put your water filter on the BOTTOM of you pack….sheesh…first trip of the year blunder…

No worries.  Onward we go.

The promise of a vista is a powerful thing and you just have to keep going to experience it.

The last push was the toughest through some craggy boulders to a crest through some and we finally reached Snow Lakes area.  Our hike took around 6 hrs.

We made quick work of camp set up right on the lake (terrible time…)and I set out to make dinner.

We had two burners which helps a ton if you can manage.

On the Menu: Garlic Mashed Potatoes w Artichoke Hearts & Cuban Black Bean Soup w Plantain Chips

Garlic Mashed Potato Dish: 9 ingredients – 15 min – 2.5 lbs (including water weight)

Black Bean Soup: 10 ingredients – 20 min – 2.6lbs (including water weight)

Both meals were hearty, easy, fast and tasted great after our first day.  I would say these are two of the quicker and lighter meals in the Outdoor Eats recipe bank so check them out of you want REALLY FAST and LIGHT.

We crashed shortly after dinner with a great day in the books.

Day 2 – Mt. Frolic – 2-3 Miles

Man, we slept hard. Probably 9-10 hours and much needed for all of us.

Joints creeked with morning sun and I watched the wind change the ripples on the water while I sipping my morning coffee.

We leisurly made breakfast.

Breakfast: On the Menu: Dirtbag Eggs Benedict

9 ingredients – 20 min – 2 lbs

This easily fed 4 people.

We asked each other what we wanted to do today and the answer: “not a whole lotttt….dip in the lake….short frolic…sit in a hammock.” That’s all we wanted to do today. Not all days have to include crushing miles

We frolicked around Snow Lake taking it in from every angle.  Sat on some rocks in the sun.

Right when we were ready to head back to camp, we took a group dipper in the lake.  Crissssp aaaaaand Refreshhhhing.

Lunch: On the Menu:  Kale Salad & Chili Lime Popcorn

10 ingredients – 15 min – 2 lbs

5 ingredients – 10 min – 8 oz

The afternoon was filled with sitting in a hammock backside.  Nice R&R time. Below is what happens when there’s a steady stream of mosquitos.  Nice to have a Bando.

Dinner was Asian night!

It’s fun to throw so theme meals especially when you’re with a group, keeps it interesting from the boring standards and great for longer trips.

Dinner: On the Menu: Veggie Wonton Dumpling Bowl, Mango Fried Rice & Warm Sake

10 ingredients – 15 min – 3.5 lbs (including water weight)  

9 ingredients – 20 min – 2.7 lbs (including water weight)

Fantastic relaxing day by in the high alpine and a full, satisfied belly.



Categorized in: How-To Cooking, Journal, Trip Reports