Elkhorns: G.O.A.T!?!? (8/9-13/20) plus some goat beta

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Elkhorns: G.O.A.T!?!? (8/9-13/20) plus some goat beta

Post by walrus » August 14th, 2020, 11:32 am

TL, DR: vistas, peaks, lakes, bluebirds, nutcrackers, sandpipers, eagles, hawks, even a peregrine and goats, goats, goats! Put a quarter in the phone booth, had a drink at the bar, but passed on the rafting.
Twin Lakes
  • Sunday: Anthony Lakes to Summit Lake - about 25 people/horses dogs all between TH and Dutch Flat Saddle. No one else at Summit Lake.
  • Monday: Summit Lake to Twin Lakes. Two trail runners around Sardine Gulch. 4 others camping at Twin Lakes.
  • Tuesday: Twin Lakes to Summit Lake. No one on trail. No one camped at Summit Lake, 4 mountain bikers rode by around 7pm.
  • Wednesday: Summit Lake to Hoffer Lakes via Crawfish Basin with side trips to Lost Lake and Lakes Lookout. On the trail, met 2 backpackers we'd previously chatted with at Twin Lakes and a pair of hikers on their way to Lost Lake. No one else camped at Hoffer Lakes, a few people wandered by on an evening stroll from campground at Anthony Lake.
  • Thursday: Hoffer Lakes back to TH via Lilypad Lake and Black Lake. No one on trail, ours was the only car in the parking lot when we got back.
Goats: No goats sighted north/west of where the Pole Creek trail comes in. Signs of goat as far as Summit Lake. For better or for worse, at Twin Lakes, someone has installed a salt lick at the base of the lower lake. There is a resident herd there, but they seem to spend the day lounging (kids playing king-of-the-mountain on boulders) and traipsing back and forth to the salt lick. If you want goats wandering by, camp at the bottom of the lower lake or across the outlet stream. We camped at the top of the lower lake and had no goat traffic (although plenty of goat sign). Saw at least 40 individual goats between Rock Creek Butte and Twin Lakes, but the goats outside the herd at the lakes were more classically shy. Caught a pair doing sunrise salutations atop Rock Creek Butte:
Goats Rock Creek Butte
Trail: Only obstacles that needed to be navigated were in the wilderness area between Dutch Flat Saddle and Cracker Saddle (also in this section, the trail down to Lost Lake, but you can follow the horse tracks around most of down trees in the burn). The rest of the trail is nice and mountain-bike tidy - no logs, most slippy bits shored up. One small patch of snow up by Mt. Ruth that is probably gone by now (it had shrunk in half by the time we returned).

Weather: Clear and sunny most of the time, highs in the low 70s. Cloudy on Wednesday with an hour of light rain/hail mid-day, enough to make spots in the dust, but not actually dampen anything. Cleared up in time for Perseids, quality stars all around.

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