Saturday, July 16, 2011

Goat Mountain (kinda) 07/10/2011

After driving by the Goat Mountain trail head a couple weeks ago with Jen & Janet it's been on my mind. J & J mentioned the great views from the higher elevations, but weather and views weren't likely during the Summer Solstice outing (due to weather).

So, with a pretty decent weather window and a schedule opening one Sunday morning I found myself at the Goat Mtn Trail Head.

This particular Goat Mountain is the one accessible via the Hannegan Pass road, off the Mount Baker Highway (Hwy 542) in Whatcom County.

Due to the mild climate this year, it was inevitable that I'd reach the snow level on this hike and knew that meant I'd be back another day to finish the hike.

When I say "Mild Climate" I mean "Really Crappy Weather for a long time".

The question was simply a matter of "How high can I go before I lose the trail in snow... and will there be any views?"

Most of the lower trail is in a beautiful forest, with many small creek/stream crossings. These are all fed by the snowpack melting from higher up - I suspect that in most years the streams disappear by the end of summer, making this a dry trail at times.

The hike itself, solo, wasn't too exciting.

Crossed paths with two other people. One was just finishing the trail as I started and the other was a nice lady with her two dogs. The first person claimed to have made it to the former lookout site, about a quarter mile after the snow starts. The second person turned around at snow line.

According to my guide book, there is a side trail that leads to the former lookout site... with nice views available. My hope was that I'd find the junction (snow free) and enjoy the views.

Well, I found a 'faint' side trail just after crossing into the Mt. Baker Wilderness, but it was too faint for me to follow solo - although I did follow it for a ways. After ducking under three trees and crossing three streams and the path was becoming more and more overgrown... I started to doubt whether or not this was the right side trail. There was no snow here, so it contradicted what the other hiker had told me. So, I turned back and will save it for another time.

I continued onward and finally reached the snow line. I continued onward for a short ways, just long enough to get up to snap these two shots and then decided to call it a day.

The trail is a bit steep (it's typicaly Cascade Steep) but it was a really nice trail and provided beautiful forest scenry. Also, the trail was very clean... not a speck of garbabe to be seen.

Happy Trails!


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