Left: View of Mount Baker from the Goat Mountain Trail Knoll; Right: Goat Mountain Trail in the Open
Goat Mountain was a bit of a quad burner as our first hike of the year. Ultimately, we were rewarded with great views at the “knoll” (or as some wrote in the register, the “balcony”), a stopping point at 5,100 feet. Some negatives of the hike on this day: bugs – boy, do they keep you moving quickly and a lackluster setting in the beginning of the hike. According to the Washington Trails Association (WTA) info for this hike, there was a fire nearly a half century ago. Today the forest is thick, but it is the type that is dry and with little or not green. All snags and brown. Not until the forest thins does the trailside manner of this hike get better.
As we climbed out of the dark into the light and into the blueberry slopes, we ran into a WTA crew working on the trail. Wow, those are some dedicated volunteers. Three cheers for them and a donation! We were fussing about the flies and the heat (it was hot on this day) and here they were constructing the trail we were walking on.
Botanical-wise, plants we saw on this hike were similar to those on the Skyline Divide hike we did two years ago (Skyline Divide Hike – Flowers, Butterflies and Mount Baker) – just a lot less variety.
Food-wise, a shout out to Milano’s Restaurant, on Route 542 in Glacier, Washington. The husband and wife team, Tony and Jeannie, that own the place have created a little piece of Italy in Glacier. Jeannie’s family is from the Valtellina Valley in Northern Italy. Start with their signature mussels dish and then work in one of their homemade pastas to get some carbs for your hike!
Length: Our hike on this day was 7 miles round-trip. Total round-trip to the top of Goat Mountain is 11 miles. We did not have time to do the full hike so we stopped at the "balcony".
Duration: About 4.5 hours with short water stops and lunch. 10 am left trailhead. 12:30pm at "knoll" for lunch. 1:00pm start down.
Elevation Gain: ~3,000 feet for us today. (2,550 feet at the trailhead to 5,600 feet where we stopped for lunch above the knoll.) The peak is at 6,650 feet and the full hike’s elevation gain is 4,100 feet.
Location: North Cascades, Mount Baker Highway (542). Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. We stopped at Glacier Public Service Center and they recommended this trail because it would be clear. We were also considering Yellow Aster Butte too on this mid to late July hike.
Left: Evidence of a Fire Years Ago – A View Up Through a Burnt Out Trunk; Right: Clintonia uniflora (Queen’s Cup) in Shadow
Left: Getting Nutrients in the Mud – Likely a Silvery Blue; Right: Unknown Butterfly Stops for a Moment