Day 27: Goat Rocks Wilderness

PCT Mile 2250 – 2274

Miles Hiked = 24

Sydney and I were up early and on the trail by 6am. As we hiked north from the camping area around Lava Spring (where we camped last night) there was a large lava field on our right and the forest on our left.

The trail today would follow a mild but steady incline and pass by pretty lush meadows.

and beautiful small lakes.

After several hours of hiking and while still in the forest we saw this little guy foraging for food along the trail.

This is an American Marten – also known as an American Pine Marten. It is a long slender-bodied weasel that is common in the forests of North America. This is only the second Marten that I’ve ever seen in the wild – the first was seen several years ago while in the Tetons on a day hike.

Soon we entered the Goat Rocks Wilderness. I’ve seen photos of this wilderness area for several years now, and I must admit, I’ve been looking forward to hiking here for quite some time. You’ll see why soon!

A little later, we saw this forest bird along the trail

It’s a female Sooty Grouse which is a common game bird along the wet mountain forests of Washington state. Over the coming weeks, Sydney and I would see these birds on multiple occasions. As you can see, it is a well camouflaged bird. They make a rhythmic hooting call as they communicate with their young.

Flower of the Day

This flower is called an Arrowleaf Ragwort. It is a very common flower along the Washington PCT in and is considered a native weed in North America. It is a perennial plant and blooms these bright yellow flowers every summer. Also, please note, it is toxic to most mammals including humans!

As we continued our hike, we popped out above the tree line. The views were hazy because of the fires in Washington. Some days are hazier than others – the haziness primarily depends on the location of the fire and the wind direction. Since most of the major fires are to the east of the Cascades, when the prevailing winds are dominant, the smoke is pushed to the east and our views along the PCT are much better.

In mid-afternoon, we were getting close to the heart of the Goat Rocks Wilderness.

As we approached Cispus Pass we enjoyed our first view of the Goat Rocks.

Goat Rocks

And then we hiked the last hundred yards to Cispus Pass which is located in the saddle of the photo below.

On the other side of the pass was this amazingly beautiful lush green valley that was drained by the headwaters of Cispus River.

The first campsites we passed were occupied ☹️so we continued on, but Sydney always has a smile on her face😊.

I was tired but it was so beautiful even I had a smile (rarity) and didn’t mind hiking on.

The next campsite we came to was available so we grabbed it – water was nearby and the views were awesome! I even had time to go to the steam and wash the dust off my legs.

Good night – thanks for reading!

2 thoughts on “Day 27: Goat Rocks Wilderness

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