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We camped in the heart of The Enchantments, along an achingly beautiful body of water called Sprite Lakelet, where we were visited frequently by Mountain Goats. Cutthroat Trout swam in the cool waters and mountains towered above. It was heaven, or a good facsimile.

That night in The Enchantments, the sky cleared and we enjoyed the Milky Way splayed across the vast dome overhead, at least when we got up after midnight to attend to nightly rituals. We saw the advance contingent of Perseid meteors streaking across the sky, with no moon in sight and just a hint of the lights of civilization to the east.

3,800′ of vertical gain. Yes, 3,800′. With a full backpack, in about 5.8 miles. It was an exhausting climb–especially the last 300 vertical feet, which had the steepest pitch. But we did it!