Nov. 2017: Mt. St. Helens

St. Helens from the Hummocks
St. Helens from the Hummocks
Across the Hummocks
Across the Hummocks
Hummocks and Mountain
Hummocks and Mountain
St. Helens in the Clouds
St. Helens in the Clouds
Shadows over the Caldera
Shadows over the Caldera
Desolation
Desolation
Upper Toutle River Valley
Upper Toutle River Valley
West Rim
West Rim
Lawetlat'la
Lawetlat’la
Head of the Toutle
Head of the Toutle
Shattered Stump
Shattered Stump
Caldera and Valley
Caldera and Valley
Storm Coming to St. Helens
Storm Coming to St. Helens
Stump along the Boundary Trail
Stump along the Boundary Trail
Down Valley
Down Valley
Two Skeletons
Two Skeletons
Up Johnston Ridge
Up Johnston Ridge
Toutle River Valley
Toutle River Valley
Last Light on the East Rim
Last Light on the East Rim
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Oct. 2018 – The Enchantments: Asgard Pass

For the past three years living in Washington, I'd heard stories about the Enchantment Lakes Basin hike in the Central Cascades, a difficult, permit-only traverse through some of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness' most spectacular scenery.  The stories I'd heard tended to go along similar lines, it was brutal but beautiful, and due to the National Forest Service's restrictions on access, almost impossible to get a permit to backpack through.  Typically, to backpack through the Enchantments, one must take part in a permit lottery in February, something I never trust and rarely take part in, not wanting random chance to dictate my ability to hike somewhere.  Though I'd had success in other lottery-style permit situations, namely the Wave in Arizona and the Subway in Zion National Park, I didn't want to risk missing out on the Enchantments because I didn't score a permit.

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Time was against me as soon as I reached the summit of Asgard Pass.  Already six hours into my Enchantments Death March, I still had 13-14 miles to go and only seven hours of usable daylight remaining to me.  Normally, I'd have no trouble making the mileage, but the amount of time it had taken me to get up to the pass was already telling me that this was no normal trail.  I didn't know what was ahead of me, but I knew I had to move.