In 1970 I hiked the Appalachian Trail through Great Smoky Mountains National Park with a college friend. The trail was filled with adventures that I look back on with nostalgia.
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!
The valley of the Dungeness River is a place of silence, interrupted mostly by the rushing of the river and the dreamlike songs of Hermit Thrushes high in the towering Western Hemlocks and Douglas Firs.
The Enchantments is among the premier backpacking destinations in the Pacific Northwest, and is especially wonderful in autumn, when Alpine Larches are golden. This is part one of an account of a week-long hike into this high country of Mountain Goats, wilderness lakes, and granite peaks.