Bridge crossing soon after junction
Here I’ll describe the easiest part of out trip: the hike to Colchuck Lake.
We started up the well-maintained trail to Lake Stuart to the junction at 2.5 miles, then turned left at the marked junction to Colchuck Lake. Past the junction, we crossed the log bridge above and then navigated through the boulderfield beyond it.
Logs for creek crossing
After the junction with the Stuart Lake trail, the going got rougher and steeper. Instead of on bridges, we crossed streams on logs.The trail became steeper, requiring occasional use of tree branches to pull myself up.
The ranger at the Leavenworth Ranger Station had told us how hot it had been, and how much hotter they expected it to be. I foolishly believed them and hiked up in my running shorts.
Near the first campsites at Colchuck Lake
As we neared the lake, and saw the snowfields beyond, I began to suspect that my clothing was not adequate for the trip.
Colchuck Lake, Dragontail Peak, and Aasgard Pass to left
The hike to the lake tired me: not only were we carrying camping gear such as a tent, sleeping mats, and sleeping bag, but additionally we had our climbing gear - ropes, nuts, boots, and harness. (Note the omission of cooking gear - we didn’t bring any.)
We dropped our packs at the first possible campsite and continued partly around the lake to see whether we’d find closer sites, or better ones. After walking for five more minutes, we decided that our little spot was just fine for one night, and put up our tent.
Once the sun set, I got really cold, and quickly jumped into the sleeping bag while eating. Having very little food (four bagels, some left-over lemon cake for lunch, and four energy bars), our dinner of a bagel apiece was quickly done.
It was too cold to get out of my bag, there was nothing left to eat, so, about 8 p.m., we decided to call it a night and try to sleep. I wore everything I’d brought - my thin top under my light-weight fleece top, and my down vest; plus my fleece pants with long underwear over them!
I hoped that this would be enough clothes for climbing the next day, telling myself that, after all, we’d be in the sun.