How Plans Change

Field Report No. 20151218SH

Topic: Cold hiking instead of climbing
Conditions: Wet, with glazed beauty

COMMENTS: From the metal cage of my car I can hear the tapping of rain on the roof, the rocks, and the puddles around me. I fall asleep to the natural lullaby and wake up a few hours later in the pitch black to the same sound. As I prepare my salami and cream cheese sandwich, the window fogs up and I pull my hood over my warm hat. I am already chilled by the dampness, but I know that the five-mile hike with gear in our packs will warm me.

We make good time to Colchuck Lake, which is still a blackish pit when we arrive. If the clouds clear and the sun comes out, the Lake will put on its dazzling blue green show. We are aiming to climb Witches Tower, but an evening of rain in town ices up Aasgard Pass, and the steep trail is covered in a slick glaze.

We know the route will be too iced up to climb, but we decide to gain a few thousand more feet so that we can hike into the coveted Core Enchantment Zone.

KEY FEATURES: The miles of lakes and graceful granite peaks lure hikers and photographers from around the world. That’s the thing about adventures in the Cascades—even if the climb is called off, there is a whole world worth exploring.

RECOMMENDATIONS: Pack some cured meats for protein that doesn't spoil in the mountains. Making a sandwich in a cold car is a bit more pleasant when you're surrounded by the aroma of artisan salami. Cured by Visconti is the place to grab what you need before you walk into the wild. 

prose: Summer Hess
photos: Ingrid Hannan