The Starks PDF Print

William and Margaret Paul Stark first visited the Enchantment Lakes in 1959. They discovered Golden Week—when the larch trees turn gold—in the basins that year. In those early years, they named many of the lakes and features in the Enchantments, helped route trails, and joined the campaign to include the Enchantments in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area. They imprinted their own spirits on the granite spires, glacial lakes, and alpine larch, infusing the Enchantments with myth and legend, and over the decades, becoming legends themselves.

The Starks started exploring the Enchantments in 1959 before there were trails, when Bill was an engineer at Boeing and Peg was a preschool teacher. Bill retired from Boeing in the early 1970s, and the couple moved to Leavenworth.

In those first years, the Starks had not been able to discover if the lakes had individual names, and so they and fellow Mountaineers found names from the King Arthur legend (lower Enchantments) and Norse mythology (upper Enchantments) fitting the characteristics of each lake and other features. Bill eventually created a map of the basins with these names using aerial photography.

During their nearly 35 trips into the Enchantments during Golden Week, Bill took photographs and Peg kept a journal and wrote essays and poems about their experiences in the Enchantments. Together, they created the book How Deep the High Journey. For many years, they traveled throughout Washington state, giving slideshows based on the book, and later creating a video of the slideshow.

Bill and Peg have been featured on national and regional television, in magazines, newspapers, books, newsletters, and Web sites. They last hiked to the Enchantments in 1996 when Bill was 84 and Peg nearly 80. In a 2005 profile for a feature honoring 12 hiking legends in Washington state for the Washington Trails Association, Joan Burton wrote, “They are a couple with unusual courage, imagination and a passion that have made an indelible contribution to Northwest hiking.”

Bill died in 2006, and Peg lives in Port Townsend.

Last Updated on Monday, 25 January 2010 00:57

© Copyright 2010 Greg Shannon, Kathi Rivers Shannon, Margaret P. Stark
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