Evan has wanted to do the Enchantment Through-Hike for a while now. So I said, “Lessdoit!” Well, not me. I wanted Evan to be able to do it and Marcie and I would hike in with him and then turn around at four miles. The full hike is about 20 miles and pretty intense.
Evan drove up on Friday with Marcie and I drove after work that day. We stayed in the van in our friend’s driveway and all slept like shit. Which is not great, when you’re wanting to have a 6am departure time for a huge hike. We were finally about to leave around 7:45, when Marcie fell and hit her head and was crying so hard. It was not shaping up to be our morning. We finally started caravaning to the two separate trailheads. We dropped the van at the end of the hike and the trailhead was already bonkers. We had to park the van way down on the road and as Evan got into the car, he said, “This is not a good sign for the Stuart Lake trailhead.”
Boy howdy was he right. I kid you not, there were cars parked on the road a MILE AND A HALF from the Stuart Lake trailhead, where we were supposed to start. We decided we would just park up at the front of the lot to get Marcie ready and then Evan would go find parking and hopefully hitchhike back to us. So we were definitely double-parking someone in, but we were intending on leaving. We were almost ready to go, when someone else parked next to us. I knocked on the window and this woman rolled down her window, “Hey, we’re not parking here. We’re just getting our baby ready and then we’re going to move our car.” She literally didn’t say anything to me. ROLLED HER EYES. And then rolled up her window. We finished getting ready and Evan said, “Y’all aren’t going to park there, are you?” The guy of this couple said, “Yeah, we are! Everyone can get out.” Which, I guess he was technically right, but holy shit that stuff makes my blood boil. Oh, you think you’re better and smarter than like 600 other people???! Cool. Cool cool cool.
Evan bid his adieu. Said he might be a half-hour. Drove off. And Marcie and I walked around the parking lot a bit. The Parking Pricks walked by and I said loudly, “There go the meanies!” Because I’m abrasive, but also apparently four-years-old.
In like two minutes, Evan ran back. He told me there were people leaving SO close and asked if he wanted the spot! We high-fived and I said, “See! This is what we get for being stand-up people!”
We took off on the trail and reiterated that it would be okay if we all only went like two miles and then had to turn around. We were getting such a slow start, with not very much sleep, so we were ready to give ourselves so much grace.
Getting out there felt immediately therapeutic. The smells. The views. The sunlight coming through the trees. Our muscles starting to wake and warm up. We fell into great conversation and a quick clip. We passed incredible waterfalls and epic trees. The four mile hike up to Colchuck Lake is UP. There’s a ton of elevation. Evan had Marcie on his back, but he was still a mountain goat going up the trail. I was able to be pretty fast with him. About two miles in, I said, “Evan! Look! The meanies!” He agreed we needed to pass them. We passed about ten people to get to them and then passed them with a, “Howdy! Thank you!” They immediately fell in line after us and Evan and I turned. it. on. Evan has this saying about me that goes, “Everything is a competition, unless it’s actually a competition.” Meaning, I don’t care about winning actual races and stuff, but I will be damned if these meanie Parking Pricks are faster hikers than us.
For about a quarter of a mile, they kept up enough, but kept falling back. I finally heard the woman say, “I don’t think we can pass them.” And I high-fived a million angels.
Soon we got to Colchuck Lake and it was even more beautiful than I had imagined.
After eating lunch, Evan loaded Marcie up on my back and we kissed a few times as we both wished each other luck. Evan had another 16 miles to go and I had a baby to hike down with and then maybe find a campsite with?? Which is harder—we’ll never know.
– Hi! Is this site available?
– Yeah, someone literally just left 30 seconds ago. You should grab it! Is it okay if we just walk through it to check out the water?
– Of course!
Magic. So, while Marcie was sleeping, I got a tag for the site and set-up a funny beach tent and a table to stake our claim. It was quite the scene, as this isn’t exactly my cup of tea, but I did it and Marcie stayed asleep!
I then drove into Leavenworth and drove around a bit to keep Marcie asleep, but I was starting to get SUPER hungry. So I found this taco place and loaded up on tacos for me and for Evan and some food for Marcie and—SCORE—to-go margaritas. I was gonna head back to the campground (I had left a note on the van, telling Evan where we were), but as we passed the Finish-Line trailhead, Marcie was waking up and being kind of upset. So I was like, let’s hang out at the Finish and eat and see if we catch Evan! I wasn’t expecting him to finish for at least another hour or so. But the vibe at the finish was so so wonderful! So many people there waiting for loved ones! Cheering! So proud! I loved it! I also had a margarita.
We were there for about ten minutes, when I saw a flash of somebody up in the mountains a ways away. I looked to Marcie and said, “I think I just saw your papa.” And holy moly, what do you know?? About five minutes later, Evan popped out of the trailhead and I held Marcie and yelled, “PAPAAAAAA!!!” Marcie started cheering, Evan looked at us so surprised and happy. It was incredible. He did it! In like spectacular time!!
I told him we had a campground. I told him there were tacos for him. I told him how proud I was of him. We sat in the car (premiere parking, btw) and Evan ate his tacos and I said I had a margarita for him. He took one sip and proceeded to give me my favorite compliment ever…
We drove separately to the campsite. Got there and set up. Evan iced his legs in the creek. We fed Marcelline and put her to bed in the van. Evan and I laid out under the stars and drank wine and talked about what constellations we knew and what ones we used to know. We saw shooting stars. We laughed. We cuddled. We called it “the best day.” We all slept like rocks.
The next morning we took photos…
After breakfast, we packed up and headed to Icicle Gorge where Evan and Marcie hiked, while I ran a gorgeous four-mile loop while listening to Little Simz’s “Sometimes I Might Be Introvert.”
We went back into Leavenworth and had lunch with a friend at Yodelin (highly recommend!), then drove our separate cars back to Seattle. As the rain started pouring the closer we got to home, the notifications also started pinging at us. Worries and appointments and text messages and deadlines and trash day was all waiting for us to get out of the mountains. And it was all a little darker, because it was rain-soaked. But it can’t get us down, because as far as we traveled and pushed ourselves—both to achieve and relax—we know that that is there now. We remember it’s possible. That fire of adventure is still in us, in our relationship, in our family… and we stoked it a bit, so that when it gets dark, that fire still lights us up.
[cheers to that fire.]