A little taste of Goat Rocks

Girls Gone Goat Rocks!

For years, we've had Goat Rocks listed in our page of trail to-do's. Our plans finally aligned such that we made a detour on the drive home from our two separate weekends in the greater Seattle area to run a shorter, 12 mile loop in Goat Rocks Wilderness.


Running through the lupine

We parked at the Berry Patch trailhead and made our way on Goat Ridge Trail (95) up, up, up, through the dry forest. Sadly, the huckleberries weren't ripe yet, but we were soon distracted with views of Rainier through the trees.

Rainier on the left and glad we don't have to climb that steep hill to the right

Then we emerged from the trees into a wide open alpine valley, ringed by peaks and ridges, cascading with a rainbow of wildflowers. It was absolutely stunning. And I understood why we drove an extra three hours out of our way to run here.

Mt St Helens in the distance


We wound our way up and up, passing plenty of backpackers for a Monday. Everyone seemed thrilled to be there, enjoying the perfect blue sky, the crisp mountain views, and the sweet scent of flowers filling the air.

Ann pointing out the trail over the peaks


We got to the top of the ridge and ran over the pass, high point of the run achieved. There were so many places I stopped to ooh and aah, including patches of snow here and there-- a refreshing break on a mid-August day. Ann was incredibly patient as I took "just one more" photo of this monkey flower, of that waterfall, of the peaks and snow patches and streams and views.


Fluffy pasqueflower seed heads


Flowers and flora faded away in a rocky section, which lead us to the edge of a basin overlooking the small, circular Goat Lake, shockingly blue and still mostly covered with snow. The lake is known as one of the best places to see mountain goats, but alas, the afternoon is probably the worst time for animal sightings-- and there were quite a few hikers and backpackers around.


Taking in this gorgeous trail


We ran over the snow next to the lake (the only spot where the trail was covered), and down Lily Basin Trail, crossing some wide streams and enjoying spectacular views of Mt Rainier.


Ann taking photos amongst the paintbrushes


With the open ridges left behind, we enjoyed more alpine meadows before returning to the cover of the forest. The dry shade and descent felt pretty darn nice, and we passed lots of hikers and backpackers on their way up the same loop, headed counterclockwise.


The main part of the climb


Despite the elevation chart, there were still a few uphill surprises and it felt longer than it should have (as it usually does) to reach the Snowgrass trailhead parking lot. And then we had the half-mile or so to run on the dirt road back to the car at Berry Patch trailhead. Next time, for sure, we'll park at the trailhead where we want to end, and get that part out of the way first.


Wildflowers' eye view

This was an amazing run that blew me away, even with years of Ann telling me how great it is. I joked that I wanted my money back if I didn't see a goat on the trail, but it made no difference at all-- it felt like the universe sending me the biggest bouquet of a dozen different kinds of flowers, all bright and fragrant and dancing in the mountain breezes. Add to that an absolutely perfect, cloudless summer Monday off work hanging with my BFF, and I was in heaven. I was a bit jealous of the backpackers spending more time there, and can't wait for our next, much longer run in Goat Rocks Wilderness.

Lupine's eye view of a snow patch

Alpine wildflower meadow, mountain ridges, and Mt St Helens

Wild paintbrushes on the trail


Old Snowy and Ives Peak, I think

Snowy mountain peaks, wildflowers, a fresh mountain stream, and Mt Rainier views

Look at this TRAIL!

Mt Rainier, wildflowers, a waterfall and stream


Selfie at Goat Lake

The frozen swirl of Goat Lake

Mt Rainier from a snow patch

Ann crossing a stream near the snow

Ranunculus-view of Mt Rainier

Mt Rainier and a photogenic outcrop

Running back down, amongst the flowers and Rainier views

Neat rock formations and a stream water falling down an old log
 

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