This being the last day of our backpacking trip, we spent the morning leisurely enjoying our coffee on the shore of Goat Lake. How enticing it was to follow the delicious aroma from a pan of boiled cowboy coffee as I walked along the path through the meadow that led to the lake. I do not believe that a cup of coffee ever tasted so good.
And the view of Goat Lake as we sipped that coffee, was it not absolutely stunning?
After coffee, hoping maybe there would be fried fish for breakfast, we followed the trail around the lake to our favorite fishing spot.
Having seen a couple of proud hiker/fisher folks the morning before on their way back to camp with a nice bunch of fish on their stringers, that’s not how it worked out for us, so back at camp, we enjoyed hearty bowls of creamy oatmeal with cranberries and almonds.
After breakfast, we packed up and prepared to head out.
Having opted for the Lower Elliot Trail which followed the more wild and scenic Elliot Creek as it climbed in elevation and joined the Upper Elliot Trail about a mile before reaching Goat Lake for our hike up to the lake (see Hike #63 – Lower Elliot Trail – Day 1 – Goat Lake Backpacking Trip), we chose to follow the Upper Elliot Trail all the way back down to the trailhead. The Upper Elliot Trail is about one mile longer than the Lower Elliot Trail, but rated slightly easier because it follows what remains of an old logging road so its decrease in elevation is more gradual. Although still a bit of a challenge at times with its share of high-water stream crossings and a few areas where rock and mud slides had come close to completely wiping the trail out, we found this to be a very pleasant hike and enjoyed occasional views of distant snow-covered mountain peaks along the way.
Letting us know that we were indeed still in a mighty wilderness, more than once, we came upon trees that had falllen over the trail.
Plenty warm, somewhere in the mid-80s, as we hiked through dappled shade along the trail, with our heavy packs on our backs, the rare breeze was much appreciated.
An absolutely wonderful trip for breaking in that new birthday backpack (see: Happy Brithday – Sweet Sixty), during the entire three days, we covered approximately 10.4 miles along the Upper and Lower Elliot Trails, plus another mile or two on the primitive trails around Goat Lake.
For more information on hiking to Goat Lake, go here – http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/goat-lake/.
Stopping to sightsee at the White Chuck Overlook along the Mountain Loop Highway during our drive back home, it was interesting to read about the early logging operations in the area.