Goat Lake Hiking + Life Lately {July 16}

Goat Lake Hiking

Happy Thursday (almost Friday!), everyone! How is your week going so far?

The heat wave finally broke here in Seattle! We’re back to temperatures of lows in the 50s and highs in the 70s. It’s like fall during summer, which I’m not complaining about in the least. Half the reason we moved to the PNW was the year-round autumnal weather. The other was because of the mountains.

Goat Lake Hiking 4

We went up into the Mount Baker National Forest in the Cascades again this weekend (which is where we went for our hike at Lake Twenty Two last week) for a 10.4 mile, 1400 foot elevation hike at Goat Lake. While this hike was significantly less steeper than our previous hikes (especially Poo Poo Point and Lake Serene), it was the longest hike we’ve done so far by a couple miles. It was roughly a 90 minute drive from where we live, and we gained a significant amount of elevation just in driving there. We live less than 100 feet above sea level, and by the time we reached the trail head we were at 2900 feet. 

Goat Lake Hiking Trailhead

First off: hiking 10 miles is a lot harder than running 10 miles. I don’t know how trail runners do it. 

Compared to our previous hikes, Goat Lake hiking trails were blissfully less crowded. Admittedly, we did not go hiking on Saturday but on Sunday instead. Originally, we wanted to hike on Saturday, but we had to turn around before we even reached the trailhead because our fuel empty light came on. That trip wasn’t a total bust; we still got to enjoy the scenery by one of the many beautiful creeks before heading back.

Goat Lake Hiking

Charlie still hates water. He prefer to curl up on the river rocks. 

Goat Lake Hiking

The trail to Goat Lake splits early on into two sections. There’s no worry about getting lost, as they join up a few miles later. The Upper Elliot split is through the forest, while the Lower Elliot goes along the beautiful Elliot Creek. We took the Lower Elliot up and the Upper Elliot back, so we got to enjoy both. 

Overall, most of the trail is relatively flat and would be ideal for trail running. I will say, if I ever trail ran (which I’m too nervous about hurting myself to do), I would definitely chose a trail like this one. 

Goat Lake Hiking Washington

A while after the two separate legs rejoin, we came across an absolutely gorgeous waterfall that was shortly off the trail. P.S. Ryan isn’t shorter than me, it’s just how we’re standing on those rocks.

Goat Lake Hiking

If you ever hike this trail, be mindful that the waterfall is off the main trail, as we got briefly off the trail for a while after it. There are smaller trails up the mountain, but they are definitely more steep! We soon found our way back to the main trail and shortly arrived at Goat Lake. 

Goat Lake Hiking Cascades

I can’t get over how incredibly picturesque and beautiful alpine lakes are. The water is so clear! We enjoyed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches while sitting and soaking in the scenery. It was much cooler up at the lake, probably 10-15 degrees colder than it was at the trailhead. I’m always cold, so I pack jackets even when hiking in summer. 

Goat Lake Hiking Washington

Meanwhile, a couple of chipmunks taunted Charlie. Only our puggle would get outwitted by a few little chipmunks. 

After exploring for a while around Goat Lake, we began our descent. One of the best parts of the Goat Lake trail was that most of the trail was soft dirt and redwood mulch. After a few hikes on more technical and rocky trails, this felt so good under our feet, especially Charlie’s little paws. 

Hikes make me super hungry (or maybe it’s hiking on top of marathon training?). Ryan and I were both hungry by the time we finished the hike. It took us six hours, including the 45 minutes or so we spent at the top of Goat Lake. There weren’t many places to eat nearby (unlike in Gold Bar, which has so many awesome little food stands), so we were ravenous by the time we got back to town. Qdoba to the rescue! Nothing is as satisfying as guac and salty chips (plus a brown rice, veggie, and chicken bowl) after a long hike. 

Monday’s speed workout, needless to say, was tough after this hike. A day of complete rest really does make a huge difference. I’d much rather spend Saturday doing a long run and a hike and then completely resting on Sunday, but no rest day is better than no hiking! This Saturday I have 14 miles on schedule, so we’re aiming for another long but less steep hike on Saturday afterwards, probably Wallace Falls in the Cascades.

Because of how much I’m running and hiking, I’m being very conscious about eating enough on these days, since I’m burning 2000-3000 calories on Saturdays between the long runs and the hikes. It’s a lot of physical activity, but I honestly love it and could think of no better way to spend a Saturday. I can feel myself getting stronger from the hiking: hills are becoming easier as are all of my workouts. If I start feeling the symptoms of overtraining or lose a crazy amount of weight (I’m not stick thin, but I’m not at a weight where I should be losing weight), I’ll back off some of the miles and reassess my nutrition. 

In other exciting news, my sister just booked her flight to visit us in Seattle in August! My parents plan on coming up sometime in the fall, which we’re so excited for! Mission convince-family-to-move-to-PNW has commenced. Ryan, my mom, and I send back and forth links to different properties in the Cascades all the time now. 

I’m linking up with Running with Spoons today for Thinking Out Loud. 


Questions of the Day:
Do your parents and siblings live near you?
Do you go trail running? 
Are you always cold?  




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28 Responses

  1. I’ve never run on “real” trails…just paved ones that are relatively flat. Not sure if those count:)
    I am ALWAYS cold…like a good 10-15 degrees colder than Rob. I can never go anywhere without a sweatshirt!

  2. I am very lucky that I live about 30 minutes away from my parents. It’s not to be able to pop home on the weekend for a quick visit. I do not go trail running although I would love to. I am far too clumsy to trust myself running on uneven terrain. And I am ALWAYS cold. I complained of being chilly when my boyfriend and I went to Mexico in March. He was like “are you kidding – I think you’d be cold on the surface of the sun!” haha. Hope you have a fabulous Thursday!

    1. Tripping scares me a lot about trail running! I usually almost fall a couple times each hike (although no actual falling yet, knock on wood!). Have a fantastic Thursday!

  3. I live 20 minutes from my dad and when my mom is here, 15 minutes. She remarried a man that lives in Alaska so she spends about half the year there and half the year in WI where our family is. I am also blessed to have my sisters close too. I plan to try trail running soon! The trail by my house has been closed for the summer 🙁 Your pictures look so beautiful! Looks like you’re doing some great exploring in your new area!

  4. Your pictures are stunning! What a fun and beautiful hike. Gus also hates water (which is super unusual for a lab!) Do you see a lot of dogs on the trails when you hike?

    Also, super exciting that your sister is coming to visit! Hopefully the weather/scenery will convince her to stay 😉

    1. Thank you! We see a lot of dogs on hikes – everything from small Pomeranians and Corgis to labs and German shepherds. I read somewhere that Seattle has more dogs than children and it’s definitely true out on the trails.

  5. I loved your hiking pictures and details of your trek to here. It sounded amazing and our kind of thing.

    Lynne (my wife) and I regularly go out trekking and hiking around Scotland, where we live. Your pictures reminded me of some of our landscape although you definitely have more trees! 😀

    1. Thank you! Hiking around Scotland sounds nothing short of amazing – I loved Scotland when I visited and my husband really wants to go. Such beautiful landscape out there! 🙂

  6. We live close to Baker and have always wanted to hike it, but we don’t really know where to go! And we’re scared of bears. Is that trail well-populated? Like, will we get devoured by cougars and bears because we’ll be the first thing they see all day and they want breakfast?

    1. We haven’t seen any bears or cougars yet! All the ones we’ve gone on have been well-populated (we saw about a dozen other hikers at Goat Lake and several more at Lake Twenty Two) so there’s plenty of traffic to keep bears away. I keep telling Ryan we need to get bear mace, though, because I’m all sorts of paranoid. Also, we just to to the WTA website to find trails, that way we stay on populated ones and know where to find them.

  7. Now that is just gorgeous. The mountains are the loves of my life, so it’s kind of surprising that I haven’t made it up to them yet this summer. I go almost every 2 weeks in the winter for snowboarding, so apparently I need snow on the ground to motivate me 😛

  8. Those trails look so pretty! I wish we had trails/forests like that near Chicago – it’s more of a concrete jungle around here! I don’t get to trail run very much, but there are some good prairie paths with gravel that are fun to run on…that’s about as close to trail running as I can get within a few hours of here!

    1. I used to live about 50 miles outside of Chicago, and there really aren’t many trails out there! I bet the Lakeshore is really scenic for running though.

  9. Looks like a great hike! We’ve seen Qdoba while out traveling lately, but haven’t tried it yet. We’ve been hiking, though – Glacier Nat’l Park yesterday. That hike turned into a run because a storm came in fast!

    1. I’ve heard such great things about Glacier NP – definitely on my list of places to visit! Too bad about you getting stormed out, that’s never fun on a hike!

  10. Looks gorgeous! I’m so behind on reading and commenting on blogs lately, but I’ve been admiring all of your beautiful Instagram photos. I’m glad to hear the Seattle area is treating you well, and I hope to return soon-ish for a more adventurous trip.

  11. Funny you should say that about running, because Goat Lake (lower trail) *is* one of my favorite trails to run! I absolutely hate running on asphalt, so it’s trails or nothing for me. Luckily there’s a great gravel trail right by our house that I can use daily.

    1. I’ve lived in Washington just long enough where I am seeing the appeal of trail running! I bet Goat Lake is beautiful for trail running – I really want to try the Bridle trails and Redmond Watershed preserve as well!

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