Duffy Lake + surprise Goat sighting 8/21/2020

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poppacouch
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Duffy Lake + surprise Goat sighting 8/21/2020

Post by poppacouch » August 25th, 2020, 5:18 pm

Short summary:
No bugs, beautiful scenery, warm & swimmable lake, lots of other people, and a MOUNTAIN GOAT at the top of Duffy Butte!

Long version:
Only had time for a quick one-nighter, but always looking for any opportunity hammock camp and our group had a few young kids, so Duffy Lake was chosen. Meets the criteria: Not too far from Portland, campsite is not too far or difficult from TH, and scenery is amazing and lake is swimmable!

Left Portland around 8am and arrived at TH little after 10am. Plenty of vehicles parked - reminder that others are attracted for the same reason we are...

On the way to the lake passed several groups, including one that suggested we'd probably find a campsite...

Arrived and promptly found a great campsite on the west side of the lake. The kids took off to play and dads leisurely set up camp - nice arriving with lots of daylight and no hurry (the usual late Friday arrival).

I had been here a few years back and saw a few young guys summit Duffy Butte and have fun tossing rocks, etc. At the time I couldn't convince my young kids to do it. This year was different...

There is no trail (that I know of) to the summit of Duffy Butte. We bush-whacked our way up through some old burn, young evergreen trees, boulder fields, and finally thick ?manzanita? Took us nearly 2 hours to get the summit and found that the west side we came up is the only reasonable approach, as the east side is a steep cliff. Looking over that cliff edge made my stomach uneasy (getting old is weird that way... wouldn't have bothered me as a kid). Took a few pictures to celebrate our conquest. Then my son excitedly exclaimed, "Look!"

Maybe 30 yards away, starring back at us was a big, thick, bright-white mountain goat. This was an amazing surprise - had no idea to even be on the lookout for a mountain goat on this climb. My son's first instinct was to move closer, which immediately resulted in the goat moving away. Lesson: when lucky enough for close encounters, enjoy the moment in still, silence for as long as allowed... Took several pictures and it did stop several times to just stare back at us before eventually running around the face where we could no longer see it and we didn't see it again on our way down either. This was the highlight of the trip for me, mostly because it is the first time I'd been that close and it was a surprise!

Should one expect to see more goats where there is one? Anyone else seen these at Duffy Butte? I guess it'd be worth bringing binoculars and scanning the cliffs if you're in the area!

We made it down, with only one error: my son got his ankle clipped by a rather large rock that rolled down from others above him. He didn't enjoy that one bit, but luckily, he's a tough kid and made it down without any other issue - though he was sore... Could have been worse. Lesson: don't hike with others aligned vertically on loose rock - spread out if possible and/or move through the sections one at a time. Obvious, but equally easy to mess up with hustling down.

Rest of the trip was great: relaxing, swimming, just enjoying the peace of being in the woods.

We left Saturday around noon and it was so busy that we had folks politely waiting to take our campsite. As we hiked out, we saw a very steady stream of folks coming up Saturday as well - some day hikers, but lots of overnight campers.

Saw only a few mosquitoes, ate a few huckleberries!

Great trip with friends and our kids!
IMG_6702.jpg
Duffy Butte in the low clouds

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False summit - actual summit obscured by clouds

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Duffy Lake


Image
Panorama from the summit

Mowich Lake to the far left
Red Butte just behind it
Duffy Lake front and center
Little Duffy lake just to the south-east of Duffy
Santiam Lake just visible behind Duffy and at the base of TFJ.
Sadly, TFJ was in the clouds all day on Friday, but was freed on clear skies Saturday.

Goat_closeup.jpg
One WHITE mountain goat

goat_closeup2.jpg
Again...
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Looking up towards our peak
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One of the boulder fields
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Gorgeous morning view
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Hard to get outta bed when it's so comfy...

justpeachy
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Re: Duffy Lake + surprise Goat sighting 8/21/2020

Post by justpeachy » August 26th, 2020, 6:13 am

Very cool! I have never been lucky enough to see a mountain goat in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness, but I knew there were some around.
poppacouch wrote:
August 25th, 2020, 5:18 pm
We left Saturday around noon and it was so busy that we had folks politely waiting to take our campsite. As we hiked out, we saw a very steady stream of folks coming up Saturday as well - some day hikers, but lots of overnight campers.
I think the only destination in that wilderness more popular than Duffy Lake is Marion Lake. The trail to Duffy Lake is easy, not very long, and the lake is pretty. I've never seen it not crowded on weekends.

johnspeth
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Re: Duffy Lake + surprise Goat sighting 8/21/2020

Post by johnspeth » August 26th, 2020, 6:44 am

poppacouch wrote:
August 25th, 2020, 5:18 pm
There is no trail (that I know of) to the summit of Duffy Butte. We bush-whacked our way up through some old burn, young evergreen trees, boulder fields, and finally thick ?manzanita? Took us nearly 2 hours to get the summit and found that the west side we came up is the only reasonable approach, as the east side is a steep cliff. Looking over that cliff edge made my stomach uneasy (getting old is weird that way... wouldn't have bothered me as a kid). Took a few pictures to celebrate our conquest. Then my son excitedly exclaimed, "Look!"
I've been to the top too (June 2016). My approach was from the east. I found it an easy bushwack from close to Mowich Lake. I remember having a hard time picking the place to leave the trail because it looked like thick bushes everywhere. I just picked a place, picked through the bushes, and found myself on the bare ridge north of Duffy Butte a half hour later. It was an easy climb from there. I found a trail with human prints near the steep part of the ridge approach from the north. That was four years ago so I'm sure the accumulating brush has made things more difficult.

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Crusak
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Re: Duffy Lake + surprise Goat sighting 8/21/2020

Post by Crusak » August 26th, 2020, 10:07 am

Great report. Nice to see mountain goats venturing into that area!

I've scrambled to the top of Duffy Butte before, from the east side (we were camped at Mowich Lake). The view from the top is spectacular. We sat on the very top for a long time, soaking it in.
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jessbee
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Re: Duffy Lake + surprise Goat sighting 8/21/2020

Post by jessbee » August 30th, 2020, 5:01 pm

Cool! I've seen goats in several places in the Jefferson wilderness.

When I went up Duffy butte it was still early season and a fair amount of snow on the slopes (so, less manzanita!). I took the southwest ridge up and the northeast ridge down so as to make a nice loop. A fun little scramble for sure. There's lots to do in that area.
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