Three Days In Goat Rocks
After planning then ditching the idea for a 90-mile section on the PCT from the Ross Lake area via Devils Dome through to Stehekin, due to forecast for solid rain and cold, my partner and I opted to go south (of Seattle). Somehow we have never been to Goat Rocks – so we went there – and it was incredible! A bit frosty and chilly for early September (which may have driven away larger crowds), but it was mostly rain free. I just wish we had more days to spend there…
Day 1 – 10 miles
Saturday morning Jared and I drive to Eva’s for a chocolate chip pancake breakfast. Scotch in the maple syrup. Yum.
Drive out to Goat Rocks. Nervous about overrun trail and crowds. Snowgrass parking lot was full but we found a spot. Hoping free camp sites to occupy.
Hike up through forest along the Snowgrass Trail. Snowgrass Flats looks like a Christmas Tree Farm. Continue up trail 0.8 miles until PCT Junction. Dudes on trail mentioned no water – will have to find some.
Set up camp at PCT Junction. Warm up with hot tea. Hike along PCT toward Elk Pass. Mist, volcanic landscapes, peeks of Goat Lake. Three slightly to moderately sketchy snowfield crossings.
Pass a section SOBOer. Overcast clouds in our midst, occaisonally breaking for peeks and beautiful views. Clanking rocks underfoot.
At Knife ridge we spy a streams fed by a glacier/snowfield – we think we can scramble down. Scramble down we do. Across headwall, down along moraine crest, into glacial basin. Get our water fill. Rain starts to spit.
Don raingear. In a cloud. Scramble back up to trail and retrace our steps to camp. Snowfields seem even sketchier on the way back. Rain stops, cloud continues. Back to camp at dusk. Make dinner. Eat quickly. Cold cloud chases us into tents.
I sleep the best of the three of us with my 20 degree bag and Thermarest Neoair. Jared is fitful in his 35 degree bag and closed cell foam pad. Temps must have dropped into high 20’s-low 30’s.
Day 2 – Less than 10 miles
Wake early for a peak at Mt Adams in morning glow. Sleep more and rouse lazily.
Decide to leave basecamp and hike along PCT to first snow crossing, bushwhack to Goat Lake, up to Hawkeye Point, and back. That we do.
Overland trail takes us in and out of bootpath and joins us with Lily Basin. Make a cairn to aid the next travelers.
Lunch at Goat Lake. Goats perched on slopes above. Up to Hawkeye Point. Clouds in and out with the views.
Back down to Goat Lake, around on Lily Basin Trail, and back up to camp. Slightly warmer dinner tonight. Enjoy campfire with neighboring tenters. We all sleep a little better tonight.
Day 3 – 8 miles
Goal is to be back to cars by 2. Wake early, pack up, hike onward.
Frost covers all. Beautiful glinting in sun.
Clear morning, mountain views. Pristine landscape.
Awake before the other hikers.
Lily Basin Trail, past Goat Lake, into Jordan Basin, and along Goat Ridge. Back into forest and back to cars. Missing the views already.
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