Like so many days before, my buddy and I attended to other commitments on a sunny day only to find ourselves hiking on the following, very cloudy day. Our path to the clouds this morning was the Beckler Peak Trail just east of Skykomish, WA off of Highway 2. The forest road is very narrow and the seemingly new parking area and privy are pretty small so arrive early.
The first and last pictures below the map show the parking area on our arrival and departure. There would really only be room for about 15 well parked cars. We left my buddy's house at 5:15 AM and were on the trail right at 7 AM. We were surprised to find another car there before ours, but we'd later meet two ladies who had camped on top the night before.
I could type up a paragraph describing the trail, but luckily a ranger already did that for me (5th picture below the map).
Until last summer I had never been on the Mountain Loop Highway east of Granite Falls. After climbing Mt. Pilchuck last year and hiking to Heather Lake and Lake 22 this year the area is really starting to grow on me. Today's trip up to Goat Lake did nothing but stoke my enthusiasm (even if we did get unexpectedly soaked). The lake itself is gorgeous and the trails to and from are a dream for anyone who loves waterfalls. Plus, it's nice and easy.
To get to the Goat Lake trailhead we drove way out the Mountain Loop from Granite Falls, beyond cell phone range, and even beyond the end of paved road. There are many fantastic views on this highway and great campgrounds that I didn't even know about. About 3 1/2 miles past the end of the pavement we found the road up to the trailhead (Northwest Forest Pass required).
My Wednesday day off really felt like a Saturday. So it really felt strange to be in the office on Thursday and it was pretty painful to look out the window from my desk and see warm sunshine. The mountains were calling. Since I'm ahead of schedule on my project at work I decided to take a vacation day on Friday to hike and luckily it didn't take too much peer pressure to convince my hiking buddy to do the same.
Very early Friday morning we headed up to Snoqualmie Pass to climb Mt. Washington. You can get there by taking Exit 38 off of I-90 and then a couple of quick right hand turns into Olallie State Park. Once again we were first to the parking area and first on the trail.
Sunshine! Sunshine! Sunshine! What a July the 4th! I was able to sleep late. I didn't have to go to work. On top of that, I woke up to warm and clear blue skies for the first time in several weeks. To celebrate I decided to take a quick hike up to Cherry Creek Falls near Duvall, WA. Also, since A-man has been begging me to take him hiking lately, I thought this would be a great starter for him.
This trail is pretty close to civilization and can be reached at the intersection of Cherry Valley and Mountain View just east of Duvall. Less than 30 minutes from my house. Another bonus!