Goat Lake, 06/13/09

[Editor’s note: Nicole surprised me this morning by having written her first trip report the night before.  Very cool!  Any additions by myself will be noted.]

So, Jeremy has been nagging me to write a trip report or at least a part of one since he started this website. He is so good at it that I never have. And I am lazy. But this is the longest he has waited to do one, so I thought I better help. Here it goes…I have none of the details like the times or mileage so Jeremy can add that stuff in.

We left about 6:30am and picked up my cousin Bobby in Mill Creek (he is interning out here for the summer). I believe we got to the trailhead about 1 ½ hours later, so a total of 2 hours-ish from West Seattle. As we got on our boots, the sky was clear and it was looking like a beautiful day. We started out and just a little ways in came upon a junction, where we chose the lower trail. The two options are supposed to be the same distance, with the lower being a little more challenging.  [The lower trail also stays closer to Elliott Creek.  —Ed.]

The trail was very nice and well maintained. We were walking along the river for much of the hike. I am having a hard time continuing with this part of my report. If only Jeremy were awake, he could assist. It was pleasant and the scenery nice. There were some pretty big trees. I guess that is all I have to say. Maybe a nice little picture would be good here, hon.

The author and her cousin along the lower trail.

The author and her cousin along the lower trail.

Eventually (maybe 5 miles in) we started going up to the lake, so the pleasant walking was no more. There were even switchbacks, but it really wasn’t that bad. Bobby, who by the way is 21 and in very good shape, didn’t even break a sweat or lose his breath. But us older folk did just a little bit. Shortly before we reached the lake, the dudes went off to the right to see a waterfall.  I missed it because I was feeling like finishing up the uphill part.

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Once we arrived at the lake, we sat on a log and ate our lunch. All of a sudden, people were surrounding us. On the way up, we had only seen a couple of other hikers. From then on, they were everywhere. Like we have never seen before. But back to the lake… It was beautiful with snowy mountains across the way. After eating we continued on to see the waterfall Jeremy had heard about.  [The waterfall is actually visible from the northern end of the lake.  —Ed.]  That was really pretty too. We saw there were people actually at the waterfall so started out to join them. I gave up due to the muddy steepness, but Jeremy and Bobby went on and got more pics. This entire part of the trail past the lake is unmaintained and a little wild, but worth it to see the waterfall.  [Indeed.  There are several sections with no horizontal tread, sidehills w/ exposure to the lake below, a vegetable belay, and, finally, one crosses over the base of the waterfall itself.  —Ed.]

Goat Lake from Lunch Log.  Cadet Peak in the distance.

Goat Lake from Lunch Log. Cadet Peak in the distance.

Below the waterfall on the eastern edge of Goat Lake.

Below the waterfall on the eastern edge of Goat Lake.

Brushy peninsula en route to waterfall.  Foggy Peak at upper right.

Brushy peninsula en route to waterfall. Foggy Peak at upper right.

Most of our way back down was uneventful. Until the thunder. And then the downpour. Because of that blue sky I saw when starting out on the hike, I left my raincoat in the trunk. I was the only stupid one and therefore the wettest one. We took the upper trail on the way down and it felt like the longest 5 miles (or how ever long it was) ever. It just kept going and going. We all kept thinking we were done and then weren’t. And that was even before the rain.  [After consulting the map, it definitely appears that the upper trail is a bit longer, since it switchbacks on itself to maintain its historical wagon-friendly grade.  —Ed.]

Small waterfall along Upper Elliott Creek trail.

Small waterfall along Upper Elliott Creek trail.

All in all, it was a nice hike. I believe it was 10.5 miles round trip. Plus another mile or so for the extra part to the waterfall. It was very busy at the lake and for the first couple of miles on our way down. If we would ever go back, it would not be on a Saturday. Sorry for the [not] crappy trip report, it was my first time. Jeremy will be back next time!

[Top-notch work by reporter/wife Nicole.  I know we’re all looking forward to more of her work in the future.  I’ll just wrap up with stats:  ~11.5 miles round-trip, ~1400′ of elevation gain/loss.  As always, a photo or two more at Flickr.]

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One Response to Goat Lake, 06/13/09

  1. Pingback: The Year in Review, 2009 Edition « Don’t Look Down

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