The above picture of Gnome Tarn was found on Wikimedia Commons. This serene alpine pool is approachable only on foot, a hike that usually takes two days each way. It a long, steep, and grueling hike that is not for the inexperienced. The trail through The Enchantments (where this photograph was taken) climbs 6.5 miles (10.5 km) to Snow Lake, gaining 4,100 feet (1,200 m). The trail climbs over sloping granite rock to the Lower Enchantments. The entire hike is 9 miles (14 km) one-way, with 6,000 feet (1,800 m) of elevation gain to an end elevation of 7,800 feet (2,400 m).
But those of us no longer able to make such a grueling jaunt can still enjoy the scenery, thanks to Wikimedia Commons and the wonderful imagery of photographers like Niko Kurov.
Quote from Wikipedia: By the 1940s climbers discovered the area and began naming the crags. Bill and Peg Stark of Leavenworth, became frequent visitors who drew upon various mythologies to name features of the landscape. When they made their first visit in the fall of 1959, they were captivated by the golden splendor of the larch trees in the fall, the numerous lakes and tarns, and jagged peaks towering above. They used fairy names such as Gnome Tarn, Troll Sink, Naiad Lake (officially Temple Lake), Sprite and King Arthur legends in the Lower Enchantment Basin because “the lower basin was not as austere as the upper basin,” according to Peg. They used Norse names and mythology for features of the upper basin, for example Brynhild Lake (officially Inspiration Lake), Lake Freya (officially Tranquil Lake), and Valhalla Cirque because, Peg said, it felt “as if the Ice Age had just gone off.”
I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, not too far from where this image was taken. Pictures like this remind me of my youth, bringing back the memories of places where I have walked and the sights that produced such a profound respect for the natural world. These memories find their way into my work, hopefully with the magic still intact!
Credits and Attributions:
By Niko Kirov (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Wikipedia contributors, “The Enchantments,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Enchantments&oldid=803292318 (accessed January 26, 2018).