After years of attempting to get into the Enchantment Basin located in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness of Washington State , I finally had the opportunity to do so. It was every bit as stunning as it’s been hyped up to be! We had optimal weather to experience the radiantly golden larches and the myriad-crystal-clear lakes held the reflections of the surrounding-granitic peaks beautifully. Our first treat for enduring the substantial hiking distance and gain of near 9 miles and over 5,000 ft from the Snow Lake trailhead to the basin on the first evening was some stunning evening light illuminating alpine larch and the distinctive shoulders of Prusik Peak.
The color glowed and held for several minutes and then began to fade into twilight and later the sky would turn into a window to the cosmos. After setting up camp I went to compose an image of the night sky suspended over the mountains.
Witnessing a sunrise in the Enchantment Basin is a fantastic experience. The morning light filtering through the larch needles is sublime and the autumn light stays photogenic for the majority of the day. The area affords several intimate and wide angle photographic possibilities.
Eventually we had to pack up the cameras and head to the next campsite in the upper basin. The hike to the upper basin was joyous; meandering streams spilled over granite slabs; fallen larch needles slowly rotated in slow moving ponds- and the mountain goats slowly stalked our footsteps.
We finally made it to the upper basin, and it was surreal to see the immensity of larches and colorful lakes in the basin. I managed to capture some lingering light hanging to the west of the basin:
After a blustery night in the upper basin, we awoke at dawn and immediately went exploring for sunrise compositions. I managed to capture the sun just as it was rising above the basin.
The beauty around the lakes affords a lot of creative possibilities. We thankfully had plenty of larch and goats wandering around our camp site on the 3rd night.
The hike up to Prusik Pass and gnome tarn is a short detour from the main basin trail. The hike up showcases backlit glowing larches and granitic peaks jutting above alpine tarns. We managed to capture some of the grandeur under afternoon light.
After a chilly night we had one more morning to photograph before the long departure out. We ended up scoping out a a forest of larch trees that was very rich in atmosphere and color.
After a wonderful first experience in the Enchantments we packed up our gear and made the grueling trek out, much to the chagrin of our feet.