Alpine Lakes Wilderness IV
When I day hiked this amazing trail, perhaps the best known in Washington's Alpine Lakes Wilderness, it absolutely kicked my butt...and I never dreamed I'd be crazy enough to do it again. However I later realized that this is one of the most incredible areas anywhere for larches, so when I had the chance of a beautiful weekend during peak color this year, I jumped at it. This second hike set several personal records including the most elevation gain I've done in a single day at a whopping 5,900ft. I started an hour before sunrise and got back to my car two hours after sunset, making for a record 15 hour hike. Out of that time, only about five hours was spent in the heart of the core zone experiencing the larches -- the rest was the price required for the experience. I was so sore I could hardly walk for two days but it was absolutely worth every step! There is something indescribably magical about larches...it can't be captured in a photo or described...it must be experienced. Two weeks later I'm still trying to absorb the awe inspiring, almost sacred beauty that I experienced here.