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Goat Rocks Wilderness

Last weekend I headed out with a few friends to backpack through the Goat Rocks Wilderness area, a few hours “up the road” from Portland into Washington State. I love a hot shower after a long hike as much as the next person but you have to get yourself a little dirty to get those sunrise and sunset shots deep in the wilderness. It was a memorable trip although we didn’t get to see any of the eponymous mountain goats from which the area gets its name. We did, however, get some spectacular scenery as we hiked up the back side of a horseshoe-shaped ridge along the Goat Lake Loop Hike (check out the details of the hike on the Portland Hikers website). Once over the ridge and on the inside of the horseshoe, you wrap your way around the bend at a fairly constant, if slightly falling, elevation (we went clock-wise). The off-camber slope of the trail was made a bit sketchy by patches of snow that didn’t afford the normal 1-2′ level width of the dirt trail below. The highlight of the snow at elevation was Goat Lake – which was still very much snowed in – and the area around it, where we were able to do a bit of glissading/ sledding/ boot skiing. The sliding was a nice relief after the nerve-wracking off-camber sections where you did everything to keep your footing in the snow. We spent our second night at a great campsite with spectacular views, shortly after dropping below the bulk of the snow. From there, it was a slow walk down the other leg of the horseshoe and back to our cars at the Berry Patch trailhead.

A white flower (anyone know what kind?) at Goat Rocks Wilderness

A white flower (anyone know what kind?) at Goat Rocks Wilderness

Trees silhouetted by the Milky Way and other stars at Goat Rocks

Trees silhouetted by the Milky Way and other stars at Goat Rocks

Hiking up to Goat Ridge in Goat Rocks Wilderness

Hiking up to Goat Ridge in Goat Rocks Wilderness

Hiking up to Goat Ridge in Goat Rocks Wilderness

Hiking up to Goat Ridge in Goat Rocks Wilderness

Sunset grazes the hillside with Mount Adams peaking through in t

Sunset grazes the hillside with Mount Adams peaking through in t

Mount Adams at sunset as seen from Goat Rocks Wilderness

Mount Adams at sunset as seen from Goat Rocks Wilderness

A crook in a stream in Goat Rocks Wilderness

A crook in a stream in Goat Rocks Wilderness

Mount Adams at sunset as seen from Goat Rocks Wilderness

Mount Adams at sunset as seen from Goat Rocks Wilderness

Twilight over Goat Rocks Wilderness

Twilight over Goat Rocks Wilderness

Trees silhouetted by the night sky at Goat Rocks Wilderness

Trees silhouetted by the night sky at Goat Rocks Wilderness

Mount Adams at sunrise as seen from Goat Rocks Wilderness

Mount Adams at sunrise as seen from Goat Rocks Wilderness

Wispy clouds pass over the moon at Goat Rocks Wilderness

Wispy clouds pass over the moon at Goat Rocks Wilderness