Monday, September 5, 2011

Goat Rocks

We went on our last camping trip of the season this past weekend. The goal of this one was specifically to hike in Goat Rocks Wilderness, which is about 3 1/2 hours away from us. I first read about hiking Goat Rocks in the paper. I cut out the article and made it kind of a goal to get there, but it took a few years to actually do it.

We headed up to the Goat Rocks area Thursday evening and spent the night at a campground by Walupt Lake, which is not very far from the trailhead we were going to use. It was a great campground and would have been a nice place to spend a few days, especially if we had a boat or kayak.

While it would have been nice to spend more time at Walupt Lake, the main purpose for staying there was to use it as a base camp for our hike to Goat Lake the next day.  

Here's a map of the 12-mile trail.

I had read really great things about this trail, so I was very excited to hike it. I was definitely not disappointed! The scenery on this hike was some of the most beautiful I've ever encountered.

The hike really got exciting once we reached the tree line and started hiking through the alpine meadows at the top of the Goat Creek Basin. The wild flowers were still in bloom, but there were a lot of snow patches that hadn't melted yet.

The narrow trail, surround by wildflowers. 

Christina heads down the trail through one of the meadows.

A shallow snow-melt pond by the trail. 

One of numerous little tributary mountain streams we had to cross.

Goat Lake is in the little bowl in the middle of these cliffs. The waterfall is where it flows out to become Goat Creek. 

Another tiny mountain stream.

Looking down the valley toward Mt. Adams.

Finally we got to Goat Lake! It was still mostly frozen over this year, as I had heard it would be. Still, it's amazing to think that on the first weekend of September, last year's snow and ice had not totally thawed.  

Dad checks out the edge of the lake.

I don't know my wildflowers very well, so I'm not sure what these are, but they were very soft to the touch.

That's a marmot or something (?) on that rock, admiring the view of Mt. St. Helens.

To get back to the trailhead, we crossed Goat Ridge into Jordan Creek Basin. Here's the view down that valley toward Mt. St. Helens.

Okay, so Goat Rocks, Goat Lake, Goat Creek, Goat Ridge... there's a theme, right? You are supposed to see mountain goats in this area, but we were over halfway through the hike and we hadn't seen any. Finally, we spotted one goat high up on an opposite ridge.

It's a goat!!! (It's to the right of the two snow patches.) 

The hike made for a long and very tiring day, but it was completely worth it! I'm so thankful for God's kindness in allowing us to visit this gorgeous, wild area, and for his protection on the trail and the road.