5/29/12 Goat Marsh Lake Hike (MSH) Second Try - SUCCESS!

This forum is used to share your experiences out on the trails.
Post Reply
User avatar
mileagemike25000
Posts: 475
Joined: February 8th, 2012, 7:40 pm
Location: Vancouver, WA

5/29/12 Goat Marsh Lake Hike (MSH) Second Try - SUCCESS!

Post by mileagemike25000 » May 29th, 2012, 8:09 pm

On 4/22/12 we attempted to hike from the Kalama Horse Camp to Goat Marsh Lake and wasn't able to complete it due to high snow and no snow shoes. At that time we didn't make it very far on the Toutle River Trail before having to turn around. :( Even though it stills seemed a bit too soon and early in the season we decided to try again! ;)

So here we are again at the Kalama Horse Camp, but this time it is open for the Memorial Day weekend. We parked in a day use area that is very close to the Toutle Trail #238 TH.
1 Toutle Trail #238 at Kalama Horse Camp_(1).JPG
Thebeginning of the trail is a bit convoluted so please let me know if you want the GPX file for guidance? :) You will basically follow the Toutle Trail #238 as it climbs along a ridge that follows the Toutle River. After 1.5-2miles you will hike along a slide area that has some nice views!
2 View from open area along trail_(1).JPG
At about 2.5miles out, and at 2500ft of elevation, we noticed the lack of snow cover that stopped us on the previous visit! :o
3 Toutle Trail 2500ft today_(1).JPG
And what the same area looked like about 1month ago!
4 Toutle Trail 2500ft similar area on 4_22_12_(1).JPG
Continuing our hike we intersected the Kalama Ski Trail #231 and turned left at this junction.
5 Turn left from Toutle Trail to Kalama Ski Trail #231_(1).JPG
We were travelling NE now and met several people on horses that warned us of high snow further on down the ski trail. They indicated that the horses were postholing up to their knees, so they turned around. ;) Did this surprise us? They were on very large horses, and adding their weight certainly didn't help! We figured it would be okay based on their info. :D
Continuing on the ski trail we crossed 1 road and 1 stream before getting to NF-81.

On NF-81, which was completely snow free and in good shape, there was a large parking area on the north side of the road. There is also a partially defaced sign indicating the continuation of the ski trail.
6 Parking area where Kalama Ski Trail #231 continues across from NF-81_(1).JPG
If you want a short hike to Goat Marsh Lake, then this is an area to park. However, there is a larger parking area just north of the sign that is surrounded by trees! These areas are accessible now, and we saw a truck on the road!

Continue to hike up from NF-81 and at the end of the second secluded parking lot is another sign for the trail. In a short distance the ski trail opens up into a much wider path that is easily followed.

As we hiked the snow started to show on the trail!
7 Ski trail gets snow covered at 2700+ feet_(1).JPG
We met an older gentleman (only hiker we met that day) who had been backpacking in the Mt. St. Helens area for several days. He mentioned that there wasn't any snow in the Goat Marsh Lake area! That sounded good to us.
And as we continued it completely covered the trail, but was easy to follow! The snowline was at about 2900ft! :o
8 Much snow at 2900ft!_(1).JPG
We continued to hike until we reached a sign that guided us to the Goat Marsh Lake Research Area, and turned left.
9 Turn left at sign to go toward Goat Marsh Lake Research Area_(1).JPG
In about 1/2 mile we reached the gate for the research area! :)
10 Goat Marsh Lake Research Area_(1).JPG
We started hiking up the trail leading to the lakes and found there was nothing but snow everywhere! What did this hiker mean by no snow? ;)
11 More snow than expected_(1).JPG
Following what were likely his footsteps, and the blue diamond shape ski markers, we finally reached the first spectacular view of the day!
12 First Glimpse of Goat Marsh Lake!_(1).JPG
Travelling clockwise around the lake area we stopped to take a picture from the snow covered shore.
13 Another view from snow covered shoreline_(1).JPG
And as we hiked over some snow covered areas to bare ground we stopped again to admire the view from an area between the lakes! You can see the base of Mt. St. Helens in this picture but imagine the view on a clear day!! :o
14 Another view from further on down trail between lake areas looking toward Mt St Helens_(1).JPG
We finally reached the second lake area of the Marsh!
16 Second lake area!_(1).JPG
TR continued on next reply post!

User avatar
mileagemike25000
Posts: 475
Joined: February 8th, 2012, 7:40 pm
Location: Vancouver, WA

Re: 5/29/12 Goat Marsh Lake Hike (MSH) Second Try - SUCCESS!

Post by mileagemike25000 » May 29th, 2012, 8:22 pm

Continuing from the original post.

Reaching the second lake area we had a great view of Goat Mt.!
17 View of lake toward Goat Mt!_(1).JPG
We reached a rotted tree across the trail and didn't see much trail beyond this point, so we turned around. On the way back I took this photo that shows Mt St. Helens in the background.
18  Another Goat Marsh Lake View  -see base of Mt St Helens_(1).JPG
Oh, did I forget to mention that we saw a small herd of elk in the trees beyond the 1st marsh area? :)
Elk in meadow_(1).JPG
Unfortunately, the beauty of the Goat Marsh Lake Research Area can't be described by these pictures!

The hike was 8.8miles with about 900ft of elevation gain.
15Goat Marsh Lake Hike.JPG
Have a great hike and please help keep this gem pristine!

User avatar
mattisnotfrench
Posts: 1296
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Location: SE Portland
Contact:

Re: 5/29/12 Goat Marsh Lake Hike (MSH) Second Try - SUCCESS!

Post by mattisnotfrench » May 29th, 2012, 9:27 pm

Cool report! That sounds like a neat hike.

For whatever reason that area holds snow lower and later than anywhere else I can think of. I have no idea why.
Author of 101 Hikes in the Majestic Mount Jefferson Region.

Also available: Off the Beaten Trail: Fifty Fantastic Unknown Hikes in NW Oregon and SW Washington

sasquatch22
Posts: 267
Joined: October 5th, 2010, 10:43 pm

Re: 5/29/12 Goat Marsh Lake Hike (MSH) Second Try - SUCCESS!

Post by sasquatch22 » May 29th, 2012, 11:48 pm

Another great TR and series of images, Mike. And thanks for the reconnaissance report ;) .

mm25000: "And as we hiked over some snow covered areas to bare ground we stopped again to admire the view from an area between the lakes! You can see the base of Mt. St. Helens in this picture but imagine the view on a clear day!!"

Uh oh. Cat's out of the bag :| .

User avatar
drm
Posts: 4901
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Location: The Dalles, OR
Contact:

Re: 5/29/12 Goat Marsh Lake Hike (MSH) Second Try - SUCCESS!

Post by drm » May 30th, 2012, 6:24 am

The other hiker probably meant that the lake itself was open water and not frozen.

User avatar
mileagemike25000
Posts: 475
Joined: February 8th, 2012, 7:40 pm
Location: Vancouver, WA

Re: 5/29/12 Goat Marsh Lake Hike (MSH) Second Try - SUCCESS!

Post by mileagemike25000 » May 30th, 2012, 5:46 pm

Matt - Thanks and I highly recommend putting this on the must-do list! It is amazing how much snow is still there at this time. This area does seem to be in the shadow of Goat Mt., keeping it from direct sun.

Sasquatch22 - I appreciate the kind feedback! From my understanding this area has always been open to the public, but only to hikers. I wouldn't expect much traffic due to this report since not many people in PH'ers appear to read about the less traveled locations and only a fraction of them will make the trip! For the few that do they will be in for a treat. :)

Dean - Yeh, we figured he meant the marsh when we finally arrived at the shoreline and followed it around. However, we didn't expect the trail between the research area gate and the Goat Marsh Lake shore to be completely snow covered, but we weren't completely surprised based on the trail condition up to the research area boundary! He really didn't go into detail so our interpretation of his comments was up for grabs! :?

User avatar
Sean Thomas
Posts: 1639
Joined: February 25th, 2012, 11:33 pm

Re: 5/29/12 Goat Marsh Lake Hike (MSH) Second Try - SUCCESS!

Post by Sean Thomas » May 30th, 2012, 8:26 pm

Mike, thank you for your continued reports and solid info on trail intersections/conditions as you hike your 25,000 miles. I wanted to go up to Goat Marsh Lake 3 or 4 weeks ago but am happy to see conditions from your tr's for now. Maybe put it on the docket for next month :)

User avatar
airoff
Posts: 413
Joined: March 15th, 2012, 8:35 am
Location: Portland, OR

Re: 5/29/12 Goat Marsh Lake Hike (MSH) Second Try - SUCCESS!

Post by airoff » May 31st, 2012, 3:52 pm

Thanks Mike! I hiked around there last year while recovering from a broken foot. I accessed the area from much further up the road, so I didn't have to put too many miles in. I was drawn there by reports I'd read about the Noble Fir groves in the Research Area (and of course the hopes of seeing a goat! :-)). I swear I read somewhere that the tallest known Noble Fir is there, but I can't seem to confirm that fact via google and I'm pretty sure I didn't see it, though there are some giant old growths up there...

Anyway, great pics and TR as always!

User avatar
mileagemike25000
Posts: 475
Joined: February 8th, 2012, 7:40 pm
Location: Vancouver, WA

Re: 5/29/12 Goat Marsh Lake Hike (MSH) Second Try - SUCCESS!

Post by mileagemike25000 » May 31st, 2012, 6:23 pm

Sean - Thanks! I'm glad to hear that the information is valuable and plan on continuing to make the effort. :) Hopefully you can plan a trip there when there is a clear view of Mt. St. Helens? I'm looking forward to your TR after the visit! :)


airoff - Sorry to hear you broke your foot and hope it is fully healed! I know everything in the area seems to have the name Goat in it, but without sounding naive, have goats been sighted here? There were some nice old growth trees there but I wasn't aware of a giant Noble Fir in the area. If there is such a tree I would think the forest service would keep its location hidden/undocumented for fear of heavy hiker traffic that would affect the ecosystem and their research!

Post Reply