Alpine Lakes Wilderness
By early August 2020, I had hiked more than I've ever hiked in a season before. Since I felt I was in good physical shape I decided to tackle a monster of a day hike in Washington's Alpine Lakes Wilderness. This hike is usually done over several days of backpacking which would be much more ideal, giving time to explore more and capture better lighting. However, due to its popularity backpacking is by permit only and permits are extremely difficult to obtain. I made it, and definitely found the absolute limits of what I can do in a single day -- 18 miles, 4,400ft elevation gain and 6,400ft elevation loss, with much of the trail scrambling over rocks. The scenery was incredible though -- lake after pristine lake with crystal clear streams flowing between them. Mountain goats, brilliant blue water and sky, and...thanks to the permit system...very few other hikers. Definitely an experience I will remember!