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TR: Enchanted Gorge, July 24-29, 2016

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TR: Enchanted Gorge, July 24-29, 2016

Postby hobbitbook » Mon Aug 15, 2016 11:22 am

TR: Enchanted Gorge, July 24-29, 2016

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Inspired by Homer's Odyssey and Bill Finch's trip report: http://www.sierrahiker.com/EnchantedGorge/index.html, I did a six day solo trip of the Enchanted Gorge, starting at Courtwright Reservoir, over Hell For Sure Pass, down the Enchanted Gorge, up Goddard Creek, and out over Finger Col. Bill's trip report and a map were the sum total of my research for the hike. One of the things I liked best about Bill's description is that it wasn't too detailed. There were no "How-to's" and "Go this way's". It was general enough so that, following his route, I could make my own mistakes and solve my own dilemnas.

The difficulty of the most challenging part, the descent through the Enchanted Gorge's lower two-thirds, is clearly very dependent on that year's climate, time of year, snow conditions, and stream conditions. I was lucky that I didn't have any snow bridges to go over, but I did have to deal with a stream too deep to cross in most places, cliffs, and talus so steep that it often slid. And in the lower Gorge, I had to beat through thick vegetation and meet the famous stinging nettles.

The return, up Goddard Creek, made up for any disenchantment I suffered in the Gorge. Goddard Creek was everything the Enchanted Gorge was not. The creek was shallow, there are many cascades and step-pools, and its easy to walk alongside or in the creek. Until that one moment it's not, but that's in the details....

My write-up of the trip is here: http://www.jeannepanek.com/mountains-and-musings

Trip Map and elevation profile:

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Last edited by hobbitbook on Mon Aug 15, 2016 9:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.



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Re: TR: Enchanted Gorge, July 24-29, 2016

Postby maverick » Mon Aug 15, 2016 12:09 pm

Hi Jeanne,

Welcome to HST! Very nice intro TR. "Enchanted" should be changed to "Ionian" so to read Ionian Gorge, there is nothing Enchanted about it, now Goddard Canyon on the other hand, oh yeah. :nod:

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Re: TR: Enchanted Gorge, July 24-29, 2016

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Aug 15, 2016 1:14 pm

Congratulations! I too did Enchanted Gorge solo, similar to your route; down Enchanted Gorge; up Goddard Creek. I however did it as a "day-hike" from Chasm Lake. It was really not a "day-hike" as I had to bivy along the route. My intent was to just "peek down" and explore a bit. I had a small day pack, ice axe, minimal lunch, tea bags and a pot (which I used to always carry). Well, I did not follow your rule of being able to retreat. The year I did it was a 200% snowpack year (1998 I think). The entry to the Gorge was an icy slope. I did a controlled self-arrest down the slope which turned to ice near the bottom. I decided I was not going back up that! I had done a lot of research (mainly Arnot's book) and had the maps, so I decided to just do the whole loop. Slithering on my belly across a snowbridge further made retreat further impossible. I walked until dark (8PM), then bivied, built a fire, a bed of wild onions, and drank tea. Slept very little. Next morning I returned via the lakes below Scylla. Got back at 1PM, napped the rest of the afternoon. Your trip was obviously better planned than mine! My adventure was about mid-point on a 2-week trip. I admire anyone who packed a loaded backpack down the Gorge. It was hard enough with a day pack! Not starting out with the intent of doing the entire thing, I started at 9AM. I think if you were to start at dawn, you could do this loop in a day.

I agree with you. Enchanted Gorge is a one-time effort. Would not do it again. Goddard Creek is wonderful. I went back to Goddard Creek on another trip and up by the finger, but south over to Tunemah Lake. Those lakes below Finger are really pretty.
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Re: TR: Enchanted Gorge, July 24-29, 2016

Postby hobbitbook » Mon Aug 15, 2016 1:21 pm

Wow, that was an epic Enchanted Gorge trip Wandering Daisy! Amazing. Congratulations to YOU! I love the collection of gear you brought with you for the day. A tea pot? Nice. ;-)
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Re: TR: Enchanted Gorge, July 24-29, 2016

Postby sekihiker » Thu Aug 18, 2016 10:37 pm

Thanks for your inspiring and well written report, Jeanne. Your words and photos transported me back to the trip I took 20 years ago. Although the trip gets mixed reviews from those of us that have taken it, it remains one of the high points of my hiking career.
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