The Sunday before departing the US for our wonderful trip to the UK, we had an open day on our calendar without anything planned. It was one of those times when the fresh air and woods were calling my name. Shouting, even. I needed to go on a hike, there wasn’t any other option. I’d heard about the northwest larch trees that turn a stunning golden yellow hue right before shedding their needles. Apparently it is quite the sight to behold, people refer to it as “march to the larches.” You know me and the trees; I had to see these magnificent larches for myself.
That morning, I was not exactly intending to go hiking alone. At the last minute, Andrew decided against joining me so he could go to some open houses (his new hobby) that he was really interested in. No worries, I thought, I’m still going. I MUST GO.
I packed up some water and warm layers since it was October and I was about to hike up 5,800 ft in elevation. The drive out to the trailhead, near Leavenworth, was just under three hours. Perfect little road trip on a clear October day, and I was able to catch up on some favorite podcasts. There is not enough time in the day for all the pods I’d like to regularly devour, but at least a six hour round trip in the car does help.
For a split second, I thought about what could possibly happen if I got injured or if something went wrong while alone on the trail. I figured Colchuck is a popular enough trail that I’d be able to get help if needed. Popular was correct. The parking lot was so jammed up, I had to hike to get to the trail.
It took me five hours to take the eight mile round trip journey. The trail was strenuous at times, but I didn’t care, I was drunk on wilderness. I was so content to be outdoors, in the Central Cascade mountains. Once I reached the lake, I took a seat on a giant boulder and took in the sensational view. Worth every step that day. No wonder they call this area The Enchantments. I mean…how is this a real place?
I had to admire the larch trees from a distance, knowing I would run out of daylight if I took the time to hike any closer. I could sit by Colchuck Lake for hours, staring off into any direction. Truly breathtaking. It was around 5pm when I returned to the car and drove back into cell range to let Andrew know I was ok. He was in a state of panic. He thought I was going to Pilchuck Lake, which is closer to home, and was ready to call the search team. Sorry, darling.
I’ve lived in Seattle for a total of eight years and had never been hiking out here. What was I waiting on? I guess we just never really hiked much during our first stint, largely due to the fact that Andrew was working in retail and didn’t have a ton of weekend days off with me. Thank goodness we moved back to the Northwest last year. The places here that we have yet to explore are numerous, and I love that. Days like the one spent hiking Colchuck remind me I’ve experienced a sliver of this Evergreen State, and make me feel incredibly thirsty to get out and see more of it any chance I can.
Like anyone who’s earned it after 30k steps on the fitbit, I visited the drive thru for a hamburger happy meal on the way home. Happy, I was. That hike was exactly what I wanted for myself that Sunday and what my soul required. I can’t wait to go back in the summer. Maybe next time with company, but dang a solo hike isn’t so bad either. Ten out of Ten for Colchuck!