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Trip Report

Lake Caroline — Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022

Central Cascades
Lake Caroline from the red peak

Relaxed three-day trip to Windy Pass and the meadows below Cashmere Mountain, based at Lake Caroline.

Two cars in the trailhead when we arrived at 6:30 but one left when the driver heard that it wasn't the Colchuck trail. Lots of thimbleberries on the flat part of the trail to Little Eightmile Lake. We had Lake Caroline to ourselves - just a couple of day hikers on Thursday. 

Climbed the red rock peak to the south of Lake Caroline. Great view of Cashmere Mt, Dragontail and Colchuck Peak. This hill is a bit of a geological anomaly; it looks like the northern Flinders Ranges in South Australia.

The packraft was superfluous - all of Lake Caroline's shore is accessible. Still, lakes always look more beautiful from the water.

The best parts were the meadows above Little Caroline swamp. Flowers everywhere, huge diversity of butterflies, and multicolored grasshoppers shedding exoskeletons and buzzing around. The marmots were a highlight. I like watching meerkat colonies, but the marmots' interactions are even more entertaining. They took no notice of us.

My daughter rejected a Cashmere Mt climb so we went up the unnamed peak to the south of Windy Pass. Great view for very little effort. 360 degree view to Glacier Peak, Mt Hinman and the glaciers on Mt Stuart. The vegetation is very fragile here so stay on the goat/boot paths.

Saturday brought a much bigger volume of hikers. People were suffering a bit in the sun on the steep part just above Little Eightmile. It's a lot easier if you do that part early in the morning. The trailhead was heaving in the early afternoon of Saturday with a line of cars extending about a mile along the road. It made me realize the huge load the Enchantments permit area takes on for recreational visitors. I read a lot of trail reports complaining about litter and toilet paper. I saw very little of this on our trip so well done, people.

Red peak south of Lake Caroline
Mt Stuart and glaciers from peak south of Windy Pass
Marmot (front), Asgard Pass (back)

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