The Goat Rocks via Packwood Lake
Packwood Lake just 10 miles south of Packwood, Washington is worth the four mile one way hike all by itself. The hike in is largely short on views although glimpses of Mt Ranier to the north can be had. The lake has been naturally damed for thousands of years. There is a small dam here built in the 1960's to collect power.
There is also Forest Service cabin currently being renovated. It is among the oldest still standing in the Gifford pinchot National Forest.
The North shore offers a number of large campsites. After a short break and after dipping our toes in the lake we took the trail to Lost Lake.
The trail winds up and around the forested slopes on the East side of Packwood Lake. With views of Johnson peak, wildflowers and abundant huckleberries the hike is a very enjoyable ascent.
Lost Lake did not disappoint and we were glad it was found!(we thought it was funny). The crystal clear waters reflected the evening light and surrounding hills beautifully.
We camped and enjoyed sharing the 'backpacking style' camping with backpacking newbies Amy and John
Morning brought a nice climb decorated in wildflowers and views. At first we had grand views to the north of Mt Ranier.
Then Mt St Helens appeared to the south-west.
Finally as we rounded the slopes we were treated to views of the Packwood Glacier and Old Snowy.
Flowers were everywhere as nature's bouquet accompanies the amazing views.
We continued to climb to the base of cliffs where we skirted the hillside with Chimney Rock high above and stunning valley views below
We took lunch when we reached the highest point on our hike. It was an open ridge leading down to Packwood Saddle. The place is magical and I am sure I will always remember lunch with Jennifer, Amy Johnn, Cleo and Biscuit. When I am hiking far across the valley on the PCT in the future I know I will point and say remember that lunchbreak!
|Where did you have lunch today?|
After some much deserved rest we worked our way down to the saddle. A camper there informed us of the steep slope below us and he spoke true. What followed was the fastest steepest descent that ended at the Upper Lake Creek. Shortly after reaching the creek we found a nice campsite tucked across the trail and away from the creek a bit.
The east side of the lake has great campsites and this is a place we will return to soon.