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John Guilford's Hikes

Goat Lake on 2002-07-05

Date: 2002-07-05

Location: Goat Lake

People: (including myself): Pam

Leave home:	10:30
Granite Falls:	11:20
Trailhead:	12:15	
Start:		12:25	0
Junction:	1:55	2-1/2
Old Trailhead:	2:00
Corner Marker:	2:50
Goat Lake:	3:10	4
Turn Around:	3:30	4-3/8
Return to Pam:	3:45	4-3/4
Leave Lake:	4:15
Corner Marker:	4:30
Old Trailhead:	5:00	6-1/4
Junction:	5:05
Chockwich:	6:05	9
Out:		6:25	10
Leave:		6:42
Darrington:	7:22
Arlington:	7:50
Home:		8:10
As a first hike of the season for Pam, we thought Goat Lake would make a good one.  On the drive out we had to stop for gas and to pick up a trail permit (we left our annual pass at home and didn't think of it until it was too late to go back for it - which turned out okay as when we got home we discovered our old annual pass had expired anyway).  The trailhead was easy to find, and we found it crammed with cars which wasn't surprising as it was the Friday of the July 4th weekend.  We parked and got our stuff together.  Expecting to find mud on the trail, we put on gaiters. 

We thought we'd try to find the riverside trail for the hike up.  In past hikes this trailhead was somewhat tricky to find.  We were surprised to see that it was now well marked with a sign and a well maintained trail.  The whole "Lower Elliott" trail is now well marked and well maintained (though it gets a tad brushy near the top).  It seems they've done some trail work in the years since we were last here. 

[ PIX1 ]Without difficulty, we switchbacked down to Elliott Creek and hiked up.  At times the trail is near the creek; at other times the creek is at some distance.  Along the trail, which wasn't too muddy, you pass some giant old growth trees, some no longer standing. 

Pam was wearing her waterproof boots that we've been trying to get adjusted so as not to give her blisters.  We failed again.  After this trip, she decided that the boots will never work and will be retired.  In hindsight we remembered (much too late) that we'd planned to bring sneaker type shoes for Pam as a fall back.  Next time, we'll remember.  Pam got blisters which the moleskin didn't alleviate. 

At about 2-1/2 miles, we met up with the junction with the old road based trail after passing through stands of birch and alder.  This end of the creek side trail was also well marked with a sign and obvious entrance.  Despite the blisters, Pam decided to go on, at least for a while. 

[ PIX2 ]Almost immediately after the junction we came to the old (original) trailhead where the old road ended.  About a mile further, the trail turns and starts switchbacking up the hillside to Goat Lake.  At this point one passes a Section Corner Marker.  Off to the side of the switchbacks, Elliott creek tumbles down a series of cascades and waterfall.  Short excursion off the side of the trail lead to vistas of tumbling water. 

[ PIX3 ]At the top of the four switchbacks the trail levels out and arrives at Goat Lake.  Due to Pam's sore feet, she decided to hang out there and have a snack.  John wanted to explore further along the side of the lake and try to find a rock outcropping that he recalled visiting in 1989 (see 1989-10-08 ).  The trail continues along the north shore of the lake for a ways.  At one point, a blown down tree blocks the path, but one can easily circumvent it and continue along the trail, which is more overgrown beyond.  John[ PIX4 ] followed the trail out to just beyond a point just before the trail disappeared under some snow.  At no time did the looked-for rock appear.[ PIX5 ] Perhaps it was under the snow, though that didn't look promising.  If it weren't for the earlier reference, he'd swear no such place existed.  After a last picture, he returned back to Pam where he had a snack before heading back. 

Going down the switchbacks were much easier on Pam's feet than the trip up had been.  On the way back we decided to take the longer ex-road (the "Upper Elliott trail") instead of the river side trail.  This route is a bit longer but faster.  Time-wise it is about a wash.  On our way out we passed more than a few backpackers heading in to the lake for an overnight.  On the dog-leg that the upper trail takes, we passed a side trail labeled "Chockwich" which heads off to towards the Chockwich creek area.  It was more fun returning over a trail different from which we'd left.  We were covering "new" ground instead of merely retracing our steps.  Pam's feet did relatively well on the flatter ground and we soon returned to the car. 

The weather was fine and we found few bugs. 


[ PIX1 ] Pam standing under a fallen old growth tree. 

[ PIX2 ] Cascade tumbling down from Goat Lake besides the trail's switchbacks. 

[ PIX3 ] View of Goat Lake from point where trail first meets the lake. 

[ PIX4 ] View of Goat Lake from Point 2/3's along the north shore. 

[ PIX5 ] View of the north shore of Goat Lake

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Last updated on: Mon Jun 8 16:50:16 PDT 2015