Goat Peak by Easton / 靠伊斯頓的山羊峯

There are a dozen Goat Mountains in Washington State. By contrast, only three Goat Peaks. In the past, we’ve been to the one on the American Ridge by Mount Aix. So after yesterday’s trip out to the Olympic Peninsula, today, we went up to the Goat Peak by Easton, Washington. We have yet to visit the third one out by Mazama.

Goat Peak at dusk
Goat Peak at dusk

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Goat Peak 5040 at a Glance

Access: Walnut Lane
Round Trip: 9 miles
Elevation Range: 2200′-5040′
Gear: microspikes, snowshoes
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: yes

Goat Peak on a Cold Morning

The snowplows didn’t get to the outskirts of the community of Easton. But the residents had been plowing the streets with their big cars to get around. So this morning, we could at least drive through to Iron Horse Road and begin hiking down Walnut Lane. I wore microspikes on the icy road.

Under a partly cloudy sky, we walked past a gun shop and a retreat center en route. Then after meandering through the powerline clearcut, we were in the Tucker Creek drainage. From there, we headed into the forest and crossed the shallow creek to the east. Soon, we were hiking on an old roadbed.

Before sunrise
Before sunrise

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Walking South on Walnut Drive

As we hiked south on the main roadway, we passed a few spur roads. Periodically, I’d do a sanity check with my GPS. It was tempting to take any one of the side paths. Then at the 2920′ road bend, we continued south on a trail. Though, we should have stayed on the main road and go east instead.

When the trail ended in 500′, we backtracked out to the main road and continued. It was still comfortable to travel in boots. Though, I was trying to put off snowshoeing for as long as possible. Then in .25 mile at 3000′, I spotted the inconspicuous Goat Peak Trail next to a quarry.

Going the wrong way
Going the wrong way

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Getting up to the 3850′ Saddle

There was even less snow in the lower part of the forest. So the snowshoes stayed on my pack. We went through the initial 600′ elevation on 14 switchbacks. Then the trail stayed straight for the rest of the way up to the saddle. There would have been some views if it weren’t for the clouds.

At some point in the forest, I put on snowshoes when the snow deepened. But it was at most calf-deep. The sun came out just before we arrived on the saddle in the open terrain. Here the trail dwindled into the snow before we reached the roadway on the pass. Unsure of the summer trail’s whereabouts, we continued on the road.

Just the two of us
Just the two of us

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In Search of the Summer Trail

Soon, I became suspicious when the road ended in less than 500′ by a gully. I looked ahead and knew we had missed the trail entrance somehow. Then I noticed the cliffs and outcrops up above. So I knew the path would have to bypass the rocky terrain from higher up. So we turned around.

Back at the saddle, I carefully studied the snow formation over the vegetation. Voila! There I noticed a slight indentation and knew we were back on track. I suppose we could have scrambled some and eventually found the trail. But who would want to do more route finding work on the second to the shortest daylight weekend? Not us!

Some views to the north
Some views to the north

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Goat Peak Summit Sunshine

The path soon became more defined back in the forest. Hooray to no scrambling today! Now that the sky was clearing up, we finally had some views through branches. At 4700′, we went around Goat Peak’s east high point from the north while bypassing cliffs and outcrops. The route gradually went up to the saddle between the two summits.

The weather grew more promising higher up. Just below the summit was an overlook, which we would make a brief stop on the descent. Another 50′ elevation of going through calf-deep snow, and we were finally on top. Clouds were low. But glad they never really got in the way of the blissful sunshine. We very much needed it in this sub-freezing weather!

North panoramic view from the overlook
North panoramic view from the overlook

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Goat Peak Birthday Celebration Plus Outro

This year I decided not to go back to Change Peak for Mr. Cody’s birthday celebration. So glad I was able to seek out this new destination for a change of scenery. The summit was woodsy but open. The sunshine glistening on the snow-covered trees had brought this place back to life.

Without having to break trail, we were able to move quicker on the way down. On top of it, we also had our tracks to follow. Back down at Tucker Creek, we saw lots of snowmobile tracks from earlier in the day. Soon, we were back at the car at half an hour after sunset.

Outro
Outro

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