154 – Backpacking Goat Rocks Wilderness – Berry Patch to Jordan Basin

Who heads back into the wilderness a day after being chased out by severe rain, hail and flooding (see Hike #58 – Rain, Hail, Floods – the Packwood Dryout)? We do! Here we are, at the trailhead for the Goat Ridge Trail, ready to hike back into the Goat Rocks Wilderness.

Goat Ridge Trail to Jordan Creek
Goat Ridge Trail to Jordan Creek

Having originally planned this backpacking trip along a series of trails that made up a loop through a portion of the Goat Rocks Wilderness, because we had lost a day as we attempted to wait out the storm, then evacuated to the town of Packwood to dry out, we began this hike where our loop hike would have ended – in the area known as Berry Patch. By hiking in from our original ending point in the oposite direction, we figured we would salvage as much hiking and exploration time in the Goat Rocks Wilderness area as possible without having to repeat the miles of hiking we had already completed those first couple of days in and out of Snowgrass Flats, Cispus Basin and Cispus Pass. Here, Kent Doughty, registers for our new backcountry camping permit.

Registering for permit to camp
Registering for permit to camp

Even though there were still a few remaining clouds from that storm front that just passed through the area, right from the start of our hike, the views from the trail were stunning.

View from the trail
View from the trail

Although only a difference of something like 1,400′ or so gain in elevation between the trailhead and where we were planning to camp, this trail, like so many we follow, consisted of what felt like just about as many up hill gains as down. Up and down, up and down is how the trail worked its way around the mountain. This particular spot felt plenty steep to me – especially when loaded down with a heavy backpack.

It's a long, steep trail
It’s a long, steep trail

The next turn took us back down – then before we knew it, back up again. Yep, up and down, up and down, up and down, that’s how it was.

More Up than Down . . . along the trail
More Up than Down . . . along the trail

All the while, I couldn’t help but enjoy the view.

View along the trail
View along the trail

Finally, we reached the Jordan Creek Basin and found a lovely area off the main trail in which to set up camp.

Setting up Camp in Jordan Basin
Setting up Camp in Jordan Basin

Just look at the incredible view we had as we sat on a big rock overlooking the valley below and ate our dinner. The perfect way to relax after a long day of hiking!

Evening view from camp
Evening view from camp

Our backpacking dinners this year have gotten so much better – and healthier.  With a severe allergy to capsicum, it is difficult (if not impossible!) for me to simply grab one of those pre-packaged, instant backpacking meals off the shelf at REI, or similar store, so we took a class this year at our local REI on backcountry cooking. While most of the foods and recipes they demonstrated weren’t quite for us, we walked out of that class with lots of inspiration to be more creative. Last year, I felt that our meals lacked enough vegetables, and I grew so tired of tuna in a foil pack. This year, we have pulled out our dehydrator and dry our own foods. I felt lucky when we found a vegetable soup stock in the bulk foods section of our local Winco that did not contain pepper, and by adding dried lentils, beans and lots of our own dehydrated vegetables, I’d say that this vegetable soup was the very best dinner ever on the trail. So good in fact, that I’m seriously considering making up a big pot of it for home!

Best backpacking dinner ever!
Best backpacking dinner ever!

Go here – Backpacking Goat Rocks Wilderness – to read more about our backpacking trip into the Goat Rocks Wilderness. Happy Trails!

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