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An account of an early October trip to Horseshoe Lake in The Enchantments, one of the most sublime experiences we have ever enjoyed, with its stunning mountains, Alpine Larches in rich gold, and unafraid Mountain Goats.

Photographs and impressions of mountain details from an October backpacking trip to Stuart Lake and Horseshoe Lake in Washington State’s Enchantments, where we observed Alpine Larch at the peak of color.

Finally, I spotted one of the band down below. I thought it was my Nanny, and ran down to her as fast as I could. But it wasn’t her. Then I ran farther down the meadow toward another one of my band members that I could see in the distance. This time it WAS my mom and I was so glad to see her after being lost for so long.

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.

Backpacking in The Enchantments in Washington State, a rugged high country wilderness in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, where Mountain Goats are friendly and Alpine Larches light the landscape with golden autumn color.

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.