Normally Damien and I don’t go to the same location two weekends in a row. However, although the location of our venture was the same this weekend: Colchuck Lake, the objective was different: our wedding!

Originally we were going to get married on a summit, but this season unusually high snowpack and continued snowfall into spring left us with another weekend of considerable avalanche danger. The weather called for one and off snow and sun all Saturday and, on Sunday, cloudy followed by a snowstorm mid-morning. This was as good as a weather window we expected to get based on the past few weekends. We met Ian, Rodica, Nick and Ivan at the bottom of Eightmile Lake at dawn. After some discussion, Damien, Nick, Ivan and myself decided that we would use at skis. We figured the conditions would be icy like the weekend before, but we still willing to give it a go. Ian and Rodica don’t ski so they used snowshoes by default.

It turned out that it had snowed over the week so the snow-pack was relatively soft and not a crunch-fest. We made great time up Eightmile Road to the TH of Stuart Lake. As predicted we have a mix of sun and light snow on the journey. Once on the trail and in the forest Damien and I discovered just how much our constant conditioning throughout winter had paid off. We were the only skiers unperturbed by the tight, packed down, up and down trail to the junction. The first Bridge over Mountaineers Creek is in decent shape, but be careful of some holes where folks have punched through. The bridge directly after turning onto the Colchuck Lake Trail at the junction is in similar shape as last week and, if not dug out, did not appear safe to cross. Luckily the snow/ice bridge we had used last year was still in so we all crossed safely with that method.

We made our way up the well traveled trail is Colchuck Lake. The new snow made things much softer than last weekend and skinning was easier since you didn’t have to worry about sliding down on hard pack and ice. We decided to set up camp bear the dam so we would have the best view of Drangontail and Colchuck Peaks. T he weather was cooperating when we set down our packs. The sky was actually blue! Damien immediately made the call that the qwedding would commence in 15 minutes. We had a weather window!

After some coordinating we journeyed onto the frozen lake. It felt surreal to me. Somehow, after an autumn of heartbreak in 2014, we had somehow managed to find each other at the right moment. Somehow, since our relationship began, things have always manged to fall into place in the end; even if the journey was rocky at times. And now we stood across from each other on Colchuck Lake, the lake we passed so many times that first summer together when we climbed in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Once again, a new chapter in our lives would begin in the shadow of these mountains.

To keep with the theme of how much timing has played a role in our relationship, a large cloud crept over the lake two minutes after the ceremony ended and unleashed a whiteout! We set up camp in the passing storm and had a small reception under a large tarp that Damien and I hung. It seemed that everyone had brought dessert and alcohol! Mountaineer style reception in the backcountry!

We woke the next day to cloudy skies and didn’t linger with the impending big storm looming. The ski down much much nicer than last week. Turning was easier in the softer snow. However, we did decid to boot pack in from the snow bridge to the TH since the turns were tight and the snow was packed much harder as lower elevations. We skied the road though of course and returned to the card for some green velvet wedding cake!

 

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