|The first section of trail was easy|
Today eighteen Senior Trailblazers decided to carpool up to Goat Mountain for an excursion in the High Country. Since we are limited to 12 in a group, we broke into faster and more moderately paced hikers and navigated the long drive to the trailhead. I was (of course) in the slower hikers, and by the time we arrived at the trailhead, the faster hikers were just setting out.
The trailhead is already at 2,500 feet, and we climbed uphill for about three miles to the viewpoint at 5,200 feet. This is a LOT of elevation gain in a short distance, but the beginning of the trail was simply delightful, with lots of trillium to enjoy, and plenty of waterfalls across the trail.
We didn't see any snow until we got around the 4,000-foot level, but then there were patches that began to cross the trail. We managed to navigate the distance without mishap, until we got to the "meadow" where the snow was constant.
|The beginning of the meadow|
We donned our microspikes and started the long slog across the snow, constantly climbing upward. There were many times when the intense sun and steep climb made me wonder what the heck I was thinking! It was hard, and at times I thought about turning back. But I didn't.
|Half of our crew at the top|
That is the beautiful Mt. Shuksan behind some of our hikers today. It was impossible to shepherd this entire group into a picture, so I contented myself with this motley crew. I was quite spent by this time and only wanted to find a place on a rock that was not covered with snow, so I could eat my lunch.
|The spectacular view|
After I rested, I took in the incredible view and then gathered my strength for when we would have to go back down the way we had come. We lingered for awhile so the faster group could take off and left us some time to bask in the beauty.
I felt quite rested and happy to be in this place, but I knew we had to get back down, and some of us were on the tired side (I'm speaking for myself here). Fortunately for us, we had great footgear to help us descend.
|Mel's gear in front, Tom's behind|
The difference these things make is impressive. Especially so on the uphill part, because by the time we began our descent, the snow was soft and caused some of us to slip and slide. My knees took quite a beating, but I think they'll be fine by tomorrow.
|Back down to the trillium|
I was very happy to finally get to take my spikes off and walk on the trail, with solid ground underfoot. We went somewhere around seven miles round trip, up and down around 2,700 feet. I'm tired, and it's close to my bedtime, so I'll sign off here and take a few moments to water the garden.