Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Hike of the Week : Goat Peak, well, sorta...

This hike was supposed to be 5 hours long... spoiler alert: we didn't make it. But there I go again, getting ahead of myself...

We had camped the night before across the street at Hell's Crossing Campground -- which meant we could hit the trailhead early.

The trail to the peak gains over 3200 feet in under 3.3 miles -- as says, the trail "seems relentless, requiring strong hooves and the energy of a mountain goat."

The trail was narrow and started climbing immediately.

Now, if you thought you were gonna haul your hang glider up here, you were wrong. Dead wrong.
This is WILDERNESS, baby!

Up and up we went -- in some stretches the trail was rocky / rooty, in others packed dirt.

The first stretch followed a creek uphill, which made the trail feel lush and green.

But when we turned away from the creek, things started getting sparse and dry.

And then we hit stretches like this -- super narrow path, on a scree slope, and steep.

There were some nice wildflowers on the slope, but we were too focused on our own feet to notice.

 We rounded a corner and came to a pretty little plateau just off the main trail. It looks like people sometimes camp here, but today it was just perfect spot for a little break.

And some nice views:

After a quick break we continued up the trail -- brushing against bushes filled with flowers and bees.

In a few places, the view opened up and we could get a glimpse of Rainier. Or is that Adams....

Then there were more stretches like this -- which felt way more unpleasant in person than they look in these photos.

Since the trail was getting worse -- narrower and steeper and just unpleasant -- we turned back a couple of miles into the hike. Going down was, if anything, less enjoyable than going up -- because we had a lot of scree to cross.

It seems this trail is often used in the winter as a snowshoe route -- which might, oddly, make it more enjoyable. But on this day we decided to let discretion be the better part of valor. No goats for us!

Goat Peak Trail (sorta)

4.25 miles
1856 feet elevation

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