The weather was looking questionable in the mountains with avalanches from the new snow predicted to fall and the lowlands appeared as though they would be very soggy, even on the east side. Damien and I opted to backpack to Lake Stuart in the Enchantments wehere we’d be high enough to avoid the rain, but low enough to steer clear of avalanches. We were looking for a good conditioner and figured that, since the ranger told us Eightmile Road was still closed, a total of ten miles per day with a gain of 3100 ft would be acceptable considering the limited options. As it turned out, Eightmile Road was open which cut our Milage in half. It was still a wonderful trek though.

Saturday we started at the trail head at about 9:00am. It was snowing lightly and chilly, but not unpleasant. The trail is in good shape. Even when we reached snow about a mile it there was no need for snowshoes the entire journey. There were some icy patches though so beware. We ended up not using our microspikes, but they might have made the going a bit faster since we stepped gingerly in those places. The snow grew thicker as we ascended and it was strangely fluffy. Viability was low, but we could still see the ridges right in front of us. More than anything we were happy to be experiencing some form of winter finally!

We arrived at the lake at about 1:00 and set up my tiny REI Dash tent and decided to attempt to walk around the lake counter-clockwise. After some bushwhacking we encountered a river that rain into the lake and blocked our way. We decided to follow the river into the winter wonderland of the forest. The tranquility was spellbinding and we enjoyed the solitude.

Snow pattered on the tent all night. When we woke the next morning the once grey sky was now blew and the majesty of Mount Stuart loomed before us. Fluffy snow covered the ground and sparkled in the sunlight. It was peaceful. Quiet. Beautiful. We didn’t rush that morning as we packed up camp and headed out of Enchantments. The beauty of the snowy wilderness made things too wondrous to rush. Instead we lingered to soak in winter… in April.

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