hikes

August 9, 2017

Goat Rocks Wilderness backpacking

Three night backpacking trip in the Snowgrass Flats/Lily Basin area in Goat Rocks Wilderness

Day 1

We were planning to spend four nights on this trip, but the weather made slight changes to those plans. It was hot and muggy with temps in the low 80s when we hiked in via the Snowgrass Flats trailhead to the Lily Basin Trail (4.5 miles with 1,550 ft. elevation gain). From there, we scouted for a campsite. At first, it seemed like we might have a hard time finding a spot even though it was mid-week. We continued on the Lily Basin Trail, taking every side trail to find a suitable established site for six tents. We finally found the perfect spot, with a small wildflower meadow, good creek access for water, and views of Goat Rocks. With meadows full of wildflowers everywhere you turned, there were also lots of bugs – some biting, some just swarming.

Goat Rocks backpacking

Goat Rocks Wilderness sign

Goat Rocks backpacking

our campsite

Goat Rocks backpacking

view of Goat Rocks from our campsite

Goat Rocks backpacking

small wildflower meadow at camp

Goat Rocks backpacking

our water access

Goat Rocks backpacking

grasshoppers on western pasqueflower in it’s seed head phase

 

Day 2

On the second day, we did a day hike to Goat Lake and the ridge below Hawkeye Point (about 6 miles, 1,300 ft. gain). We passed through meadow after meadow – filled with lupines, purple asters, red paintbrush, and many more colorful varieties of flowers. It was another hot day, and most of this hike has no shade so to attempt to stay cool, I dipped my bandana in cool creek water along the way and placed it at the back of my neck. At Goat Lake, most of the water surface was still covered with snow and ice, but several of my friends took a full plunge in the icy water anyway. I dipped my feet in several times, and the coldness of the water had an immediate numbing effect. In spite of how hot I’d been, I don’t know how they swam in it! After relaxing at the lake for awhile, we continued on the Lily Basin Trail towards Hawkeye Point for views of Goat Lake from above, and Jordan Basin below. The next time I’m here, I hope to have time to go up to Hawkeye Point for even better views.

Goat Rocks backpacking

wildflowers lined the trail

Goat Rocks backpacking

small tarn with reflection of Old Snowy Mountain

Goat Rocks backpacking

the landscape opens up as you head towards Goat Lake

Goat Rocks backpacking

rockslide with Goat Lake and Hawkeye Point in the background

Goat Rocks backpacking

I’m a happy hiker in this landscape

Goat Rocks backpacking

wildflower meadows and Goat Ridge

Goat Rocks backpacking

meadow full of lupine

Goat Rocks backpacking

Hawkeye Point and Goat Lake

Goat Rocks backpacking

waterfall coming out of Goat Lake

Goat Rocks backpacking

almost to Goat Lake

Goat Rocks backpacking

purple asters

Goat Rocks backpacking

colorful wildflowers

Goat Rocks backpacking

at Goat Lake

Goat Rocks backpacking

view of Jordan Basin from Goat Lake

Goat Rocks backpacking

Goat Lake and Old Snowy Mountain

Goat Rocks backpacking

exploring above Goat Lake

Goat Rocks backpacking

great views from the trail!

Goat Rocks backpacking

wildflowers lined every stream

Goat Rocks backpacking

a beautiful stream heads downhill towards the trail

Goat Rocks backpacking

open subalpine area with Goat Ridge in the background

Goat Rocks backpacking

interesting rock formations next to a waterfall

Goat Rocks backpacking

back at the tarn, with Goat Rocks reflection

Goat Rocks backpacking

side trail back to camp

Goat Rocks backpacking

sunset

Goat Rocks backpacking

hanging around camp at night

Goat Rocks backpacking

I love the wildflowers at our campsite

Goat Rocks backpacking

practicing the PCT food hang method

 

Day 3

Day hike on the Snowgrass Flats, PCT and Bypass Trails (about 6 miles with 1,250 ft. gain)

We had planned to hike to Cispus Basin, but when we reached the Bypass Trail, the effects of hiking in the heat over the past several days was getting to me and I was beginning to suffer from heat exhaustion, so we decided take a break and make a loop to head back to camp. Thankfully, I recovered fully that night after replenishing electrolytes and resting. I woke up to the sound of rain at about 11pm, with lightning and thunder that lasted for about two hours.

Goat Rocks backpacking

sunrise over Goat Rocks

Goat Rocks backpacking

heading up to the Snowgrass Flats Trail

Goat Rocks backpacking

looking back towards our campsite

Goat Rocks backpacking

wildflower-lined trail

Goat Rocks backpacking

on the Snowgrass Flats trail, nearing the PCT junction

Goat Rocks backpacking

on the PCT at the base of Goat Rocks

Goat Rocks backpacking

PCT junction

Goat Rocks backpacking

ahhh…

Goat Rocks backpacking

meadow full of western pasqueflower in seed head phase, also known as “hippy on a stick”

Goat Rocks backpacking

yet another colorful wildflower meadow

Goat Rocks backpacking

rockslide near the Bypass Trail

Day 4

The rain picked up again in the morning, so we set up our camp kitchen in a small opening in the trees, staying dry while we cooked breakfast and made coffee. I pulled a weather report on my InReach to see that more thunderstorms were expected later in the day, so we cut our trip short, packing up and hiking out via the same way we hiked in.

Goodbye for now, Goat Rocks! I’m sure I’ll be back.

Goat Rocks backpacking Goat Rocks backpacking

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