There are limited phenomenal hikes and even fewer hikes I choose to repeat due to the plethora of trails out there, but I mean damn, Colchuck lake was incredible and worth the trek out of Seattle.
Approximately 3 hours outside of Seattle are the Enchantments. A national forest I never heard of until a few coworkers told me about it. They found out I liked to hike and expressed their opinion with elated faces and giant eyes. They showed me pictures of the lake and surrounding area and I knew I had to make it out there. Sarah was way ahead of me and had already planned a quick overnight in between some shifts…
We started our adventure in Leavenworth. A gold prospecting and fur trading settlement in the 1890s which was almost a ghost town until it was revamped into, weirdly, a Bavarian town. Super interesting story which I won’t dwell too long on… Apparently people lost interest in the town and re-routed the trains away from the town which collapsed their economy. Anyway. It’s now a Bavarian beauty that features a sweet river float in the summer, a gorgeous light festival in the early winter months, and delicious year-round German imported beers.
We arrived on Tuesday and floated the river. I was dropped near the Icicle Bridge put in which is on the way into town. Sarah dropped the car off in town and took a 5-dollar shuttle with the Leavenworth Outdoor Center. We were able to float right up to the pull out and get into the car due to this strategic move. The company shuttles every 15 min so getting to the river isn’t a problem. It’s a very popular activity for this area.
We brought some delicious sour beers, our Intex inflatable tubes, and my JBL speaker and hopped into the cool river water. It was picturesque. Beautiful mountain views, bald eagles, and flowers lined the river. I lost track of time, but we stopped a few times to jump into the deep parts and swim around. The trip took 1.5-2 hours.
Sarah and I stayed at the Bavarian Lodge for the night (https://www.bavarianlodge.com/) . A great hotel for the quick overnight. It features a pool, hot tub, and a German style pub and eatery on the first floor. Well worth the price for the lodging and delicious breakfast they served. We had a hot shower and headed out to the downtown area which was built like a small German township with all chalet style architecture. The whole town is set up with this style. It makes you feel like you’re in another country. A great “vibe”. It’s what the cool kids say nowadays.
We drove out to the trail head that morning and proceeded to take in the surroundings. Drier air unlike Seattle. Berry patches on the way up to the lake and a lot of rock steps on they way. A stair climber level 12 as Sarah would say. We arrived at the lake with breathtaking views and decided to take a dip in the water. Without hesitation Sarah was already stripped down and ready to jump in. We swam around for about 30 minutes or so at some cliff bars and enjoyed the environment and the moment. It was truly an incredible experience swimming in the alpine lake. You must do this hike.