(Berries! Meadows! Views! Goats?)
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August 12, 2000
Goat Mountain appeared on my radar screen last September when I hiked Yellow Aster Butte, which is just a hop, skip and a jump away. I saw it at the beginning of the trail last year, and decided that I would research it and add it to the list of places to go. And I did. Good thing, too.
We got a late start around 10am. But we still managed to be the first ones at the trailhead. It starts out in an old, old forest. It looked like there was a fire years ago, but nothing too noticable. It was still rather healthy, so who knows how long ago that fire was. The trail switches back and forth for about 15-20 switchbacks, covering 2 miles and 2300 feet before you get to the upper meadows, which are full of flowers, berries, and meadows. Oh yeah, and views!
the meantime, the lower foresty area has a lot of berries.
Now, I was told on a previous excursion that these were
gooseberries. And I believed it. What do I know? They're
yummy and hard to find. Although I could never figure out
why they were called Gooseberries. There's nothing goosey
about them. Oh well. I went crazy when I found them. I
ate about 80% of what was there. However, it was not
until we found a berry stand in Canada later on that we
discovered that they were not gooseberries. Gooseberries
look like mutated cranberries. They are big and round,
much like..... a goose. These are actually salmonberries,
and <brap!>, they are very tasty!
Anyway, once you get into the meadows, it gets harder and harder to pay attention to the trail. Between the blueberries growing everywhere, the views of the surrounding peaks & valleys, and the view of the peaks of Goat looming off almost un-obtainably in the distance, it is slow going.
There was quite a bit of cloud cover, so the big peaks played games with us. Mostly, Baker. Mt. Shuksan was very nice to us, and only kept this one little string of cloud around it. it just looms over everything. Very nice Mountain. This is only half the pics that were taken.
Once you get over a ridge, you get a great view east to Mt. Sefrit (Sans Serif) and the Nooksack Ridge.
|You remember the picture above showing the meadows & the peaks? Well, due to my gooberiffic hip/knee problem, we never got to the peaks. We stopped pretty much right at 5400 feet, only about 1.25 miles and 1400 feet from glory. Stupid joints. I love meadows.|
|Dammit! We were close! Now I have to go back! Oh, the HORROR!!!!!|
We lunched right in the middle of these two pics below.
Anyway, we sat there, with no one around, enjoying the view, and waiting to see if Baker was going to come out of it's hole and see its shadow. It never did. I guess we get 6 more weeks of hiking. Yay! We had to decend down a bit back to a cliff to get below the clouds to get these pics. This was as good as it got that day.
Goat Mountain was a great hike, and part of an excellent weekend. I would definately do it again, but not this year. I'll be back in the area soon, I have to do Yellow Aster again, as well as Heliotrope and Skyline and Ptarmigan. And soon, it will be fall. Yay fall colors.
Speaking of colors, where there was not blueberries or flowers, there was Indian Paint Brush. Is it a flower? A leaf? What the hell is it, besides super-groovy and neato?
June 30, 2001
What a wonderful day to go hiking in the North Cascades! Finally, a sunny day on the weekend!!!
Trail is 99.8% snowfree to the first lookout after the first meadows. It is in excellent shape, and nowhere near as brushy as I remember it being last year. Looks like some folks have done some brushing and lopping around there in the last year.
The berries are coming out full force, but it is still quite a few weeks before they'll be ready to be snarfed down by berry-monsters like myself.
From Left, the trail on the mountain, then Mt Sefrit, then Shuksan.
The grade is gentle for the first 10 switchbacks, and there is a nice long flat spot right after you enter the Mt. Baker Wilderness. A few more switchbacks in the forest, and then you get to the meadows.
And what do meadows bring us, boys and girls? That's right class, VIEWS! While Baker is still trying peek out from lingering clouds or from behind Herman, Shuksan stands out in all it glory. What a distraction! Woo hoo!
After the first lookout, the trail is covered in snow, but it is still easy to follow the trail. The upper meadow is snowfree until you reach the gullies. However, at about 5800ft, the trail is obliterated by rock/water/snow slides. We ended up stopping there. Although, someone else managed to blaze through it before us. How he managed it... I don't know. But the views of Baker & Shuksan from there were enough to keep me happy.
It was a busy day. Met about a bazillion people on the way down. Good day, good hike!
Damn!! We were so close!!!!!!!!
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