Thursday, August 28, 2014

Chain Lakes and mountain goats

Mt. Shuksan and morning clouds
Twelve Senior Trailblazers took three cars up to Heather Meadows to begin our hike around Chain Lakes, a loop hike that begins at the Bagley Lake trailhead and goes around Table Mountain, coming back up from Artist Point and down the Wild Goose trail back to the cars. I snapped this picture of Mt. Shuksan from the parking lot, because it looked as though the clouds would eventually fill in everywhere, keeping us from a view.
On the Bagley Lake trail on our way to Herman Saddle
The trail around Bagley Lakes is fairly flat, and then we make our way around to the right to begin the long trudge up to Herman Saddle. That's Table Mountain shrouded in fog in front of us. The temperature was perfect for hiking, however, and nobody was complaining about the cool breeze and overcast. And we also had another reason for not hurrying: blueberries!
That's my hand holding the berries I picked just before popping them into my mouth. It was sometimes hard to resist stopping long enough to gather these beauties, a sweet burst of flavor, with lots of others beckoning. But we had places to go.
Peggy at Herman Saddle before starting down to the lakes
We stopped at the top, before beginning our descent, and had a nice snack before heading downwards to Chain Lakes. This particular hike takes us up to the Saddle, down to the lakes, and a gentle climb back to Artist Point. Although we only went up and down around 2,000 feet in eight miles, I felt every bit of it. We went downwards to our lunch spot at Iceberg Lake.
Peggy in front, Chris and Rich behind
We put on more clothes when we stopped for lunch, except for Mikey and Rich, who is shown here taking off his shirt to allow it to dry out a bit, but he actually did put on another one after he cooled down from his exertions. I never needed my fleece but did don a jacket while we were stopped.
Bob in front of Mt. Shuksan (hiding behind that cloud)
Once we finished our final climb, we stopped to survey our beautiful surroundings before heading back down to our final destination. You can see that finally, at the end of our day, the clouds began to clear off somewhat, but I really enjoyed our mostly cloudy day, which made it much easier to enjoy working so hard. And then somebody yelled out that there were mountain goats spied on the hillside across the valley!
Look! Mountain goats!
I used my telephoto all the way out to capture these goats, which were about a mile away. It's not often you get a chance to see them, so I was thrilled to get a picture that was this good. Off we went on the trail, heading toward Artist Point, when someone spied yet another batch of mountain goats! These happened to be in sunshine, so I was able to capture this shot. Enlarge it for the best effect.
Another six of them
It's obvious who is the Big Cheese in this picture, isn't it? And I think those are a couple of kids laying around in the grass below. It was so exciting to see them; often we know they are there, but they stay out of sight and we come back from our hike having seen nothing much larger than a red-tailed hawk. It was really wonderful to share these sightings with my friends.

And then we returned to our cars, went our various ways, and now it's getting late as I finish this post, feeling pretty darn fortunate after a fine day in the wilderness with some of the best people in the universe. Really.


  1. Great to see the goats! And excellent pix!

  2. oh what a cool sight seeing the mountain goats....those clouds look rather ominous...but i think i would push through if for nothing else the blue berries...smiles.

  3. Wow. That is one beautiful hike and your photos are stunning. Love those little mountain goats.

  4. wow. i'm so impressed you got to see (and photograph) mountain goats! on one of your regular hikes!! not even in some remote, wildlife preserve! :)

  5. Wow, mountain goats! What a perfect metaphor for the senior trailblazers. You give those goats a run for their..well, grass?

  6. I love these photos of the high altitude hikes you do in late summer. You know you are up there when you are sharing the terrain with the goats!

  7. What a wonderful, wonderful day. Even reading about it (and admiring the photos) my face is hurting because I am smiling so broadly. I can only imagine how much better it was for you.
    I hope you have many, many more days like this one.

  8. Beautiful views, and love those blueberries!

  9. Oh, I really like those mountain goats. I wonder how they got there in the first place. So thrilling to see your photos!

  10. You always see amazing views when you hike but those goats are a super treasure. How exciting.

  11. That's so exciting to see all those mountain goats! Wow! What a special hike that was. :)

  12. You didn't pick those blueberries up from the ground where the goats were grazing did you?

  13. Delightful adventure again, DJan. And those mountain critters got your goat, eh?

    Blessings and Bear hugs!

  14. What fun to see the goats! Your blueberries look yummy! Another great hike:)

  15. What a gorgeous day! Mt. Shuksan with the clouds is spectacular.

    Those are huge blueberries! Were they on bushes? In Michigan, there are big berries on tall bushes. On the East coast we saw them on very, very low bushes and they were small. We didn't even know they were blueberry plants. I don't see Michigan type bushes in your photos, but the berries are huge. I'm so envious!

  16. Mountain goats and berry stained hands.. what a great day!!


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