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Running to Goat Lake.

13 June 2018

On Saturday, BB and I drove for two hours from Seattle to the Goat Lake/Elliot Creek trailhead off of the Mountain Loop Highway. If you’re going to do it, I recommend driving a high-clearance car. After a while, MLH becomes a gravel road that’s pitted and pocked with ruts and potholes. You don’t need a jeep, my Crosstrek was fine, but I wouldn’t recommend just a regular sedan.

The parking area had a sign up that warned of an aggressive bear at the campground by the lake. BB and I have started carrying bear spray as a defensive measure, and I wore a bell to keep from surprising any forest denizens. From the trailhead to the lake is just more than five miles, and has about 1600 feet of gain. So modest compared to some recent runs. But it had a lot of stream crossings and some very technical spots. We also had to clamber over some large rotted trees that had fallen across the path.

At about four miles in, there’s a rootball stuck out of the ground with an orange plastic tie on it. If you detour to the right, and go about 100 yards, you get to a beautiful rapids/waterfall. Warning though, the water is very cold. It’s basically glacier melt, so be careful. The rocks are slippery. But it’s beautiful.

goat lake

From there it’s about another mile of semi-steep switchbacks up to Goat Lake. The lake is one of the more picturesque I’ve been to, but sadly it was too cold and wet to linger much. As soon as we stopped I started shivering; I get really warm when I run and then really cold when I stop. But the lake was beautiful even with low clouds and fog.

goat lake 2

Overall, it was about 10.5 miles for a “loop”, consisting of the upper and lower Elliot Creek trails, and then the unified switchbacks up to the lake. A beautiful run, not to tough, and between the bell and the few other people we saw, we didn’t see any bears or other wildlife except for a lot of birds.

It was a great hike/run that I’d definitely recommend to anyone who can scramble over a few rocks and trees.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 26 July 2018 08:11

    Oh, you make me miss the PNW. But it looks like life is good for you and that makes me happy.

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