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Trip Report

Goat Lake — Friday, Nov. 24, 2017

North Cascades
Stopping for a stretch in the trees. Photo by Gemina Garland-Lewis.

Just got back to the PNW after three months of travel and wanted to start off with one of my favorite hikes! We got to the trailhead at 11:15 and we were the last to arrive that day, it seemed, and there were about six or seven cars in the parking lot already. Whatever snow was on the road from the last trip report has since melted. The road is pothole-y with some sizable puddles, but I would imagine most cars could make it to the TH just taking it slow. We opted for the lower Elliot Creek trail on the way there, which is in remarkably good shape right now. There are definitely a number of tricky stream crossings with the water running as high as it is right now, one of which seems to have turned back the couple that was hiking behind us. Waterproof boots are definitely necessary, but I didn't use my gaiters. It would have been helpful to bring my poles if only for added balance on some of the crossings, but we managed without. Parts of the last stretch up to the lake are just walking through a stream running down the trail. We stopped to look at the river and its waterfalls, which are just pumping and churning right now. We got to Goat Lake in about 2.5 hours and the temp had dropped enough that the light drizzle was more of a freezing rain/trying to become snow type of precip. No snow on the ground anywhere but it was clear it was snowing just a little bit higher above us. The lake was a different color than I've ever seen it - almost army green. Stopped long enough to eat some lunch and take some pictures and then started back down. We took the upper trail on the return to maximize our daylight and check out the waterfalls we figured would be running high this time of year (of which there were several beautiful ones!). Per usual, the upper trail was a quicker and straighter shot back to the car, but it definitely still had some challenges with stream crossings and flooded sections of the trail. We were back to the car in two hours, just as it was getting dark. Beautiful day out there! 

Goat Lake in all her November glory. Photo by Gemina Garland-Lewis.
One of the larger stream crossings. Photo by Gemina Garland-Lewis.
Watching the river. Photo by Gemina Garland-Lewis.
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