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