Birthday at Goat Lake
This weekend's festivities included a nice trip up to Goat Lake. I have been wanting to do Goat Lake for a couple of years now, but never had the opportunity to do so. Now we were blessed with excellent weather (a little on the hot side) and the desire, drive, and ambition to finally claim this hike. Waking up at 5:00 a.m., we were on the road by 5:30.
Arriving at the Iron Creek Trailhead, we started our journey around 9:00. The morning air was very cool, which warranted long sleeved shirts to keep the morning chill off. After hiking for 45 minutes, we finally reached the 'Marshall Lake' turnoff which would take us to Goat Lake. This route ends up being the Alpine Way trail which will take you all the way to Redfish Lake if so desired. Today we would hike the trail for about 3 miles before turning off to see Goat Falls, then climbing to Goat Lake. Not much action until Goat Falls, with the only exciting part being the chirping from the squirrels and the funny face my g-friend made after testing out some berries. LOL!
We made it to Goat Falls without incident, but as described in Margaret Fuller's book, the trails were degraded and unmarked. Also in the book was a description of climbing next to the falls which I do not recommend. Instead, we turned around and backtracked for roughly 100 yards to another faint trail which climbs up the cliffside to the lake. The trail wasn't too bad as long as you were careful where you were stepping. (From the picture perspective, Goat Falls is on the left)
Climbing even higher, we were rewarded with nice views of the Stanley Valley while the sound of rushing water cascading down the granite slabs drowned out the background noise. Very cool! (You can see the water from the waterfall)
Climbing a bit further, we were able to reach the top of the falls. There is a crossing here (which should be taken) that takes you on the East side of the lake. We followed the stream for another 100 yards, while viewing the numerous mini waterfalls feeding the larger Goat Falls. A little further opened up to the outlet of Goat Lake which was log jammed with a ton of old driftwood. From here you could see the dramatic views of Goat Lake, with Mount Thompson peaking through the notch in the background. (Wasn't I just there a couple weeks ago?)
Soon we found an area to sit and chill for a bit while we ate lunch. The squirrels at the lake were surprisingly tamed and were venturing quite close to snack on our PB&J with us. I also found out that the fish up there are rather hungry (eating peanuts and cashews from my trail mix), but being discouraged with my luck at fishing up until now resulted in me leaving my fishing gear at home. I'll tell you, the color of Goat Lake is surreal and almost appears fake. Once the water would calm from the wind, it was possible to see the fish swimming around, GRRR!