A Couple of “Late” Season Hikes

As it often does, summer sped by way to fast. But when I returned from Scotland, my amazing visit to Fair Isle, I was pretty darn determined to get up into the mountains a time or two before the monsoon season hits the Pacific Northwest.

Goat Lake Trail – September 2018

My first trip was the Goat Lake Trail and this was a do-over trip. Back in June I dayhiked to Goat Lake with my friend Beth and to be fair I was overwhelmed with the beauty of this mountain lake. On our hike we checked out the campsites and I was especially interested since I knew I’d be back.  Becase for me, day hikes are exploration / scouting trips. By the time we get anywhere near the mountains, and lakes, the best of the morning light has faded, and then we need to hustle back down the mountain to get home in time for the last ferries to Lopez Island. So no sweet evening light either.

But this trip I had the luxury of stunning light and solitude. Although this is apparently a very popular day hike, it wasn’t a fall, mid-week overnight destination and I had the campground and lake all to myself after the last day hiker headed home.

Goat Lake – Goat Lake Trail

I quickly set up camp and headed downhill following the Elliott Creek towards the stunning waterfall that I had visited on my last trip. It was dang hard not to stop every few yards and admire and shoot the many cascading waterfalls along Elliott Creek but my goals was the larger one down stream. However I couldn’t quite resist this on since the filtered light was so amazing.

Goat Lake
Elliott Creek – Goat Lake Trail

I read somewhere that these fall on the Goat Lake trail were so beautiful it was like they were designed by landscape photographers. I’d have to agree. I spent an hour, maybe two, just exploring and taking images of this amazing flow of water.

Goat Lake
Elliott Creek – Goat Lake Trail

The are so many compelling composition I could spend days here. But eventually the light began to fade so I grabbed one last image and headed back up the hill to the campgrounds.

Goat Lake
Elliott Creek – Goat Lake Trail

I had a quick rest and a simple dinner and then headed to the lake to take advantage of the last bit of evening light. This is what I love about backpacking photography. The scenery is amazing and the peace and solitude is such a gift.

Goat Lake
Goat Lake – Goat Lake Trail

I woke early, as I usually do on camping trips, and explored the lake once more. It was a glorious hour or so of hiking but the conditions never quite eclipsed the previous evening. So I had a quick breakfast and headed home.

Hidden Lake Lookout – October 2018

Usually when I work hard to capture an image, I find that my efforts are well rewarded. And this is perhaps the hardest I have ever worked at capturing a single image and my knees paid the price.

I’d guess Hidden Lake Lookout would be considered a “moderate” hike. It’s about 8 miles round trip with an elevation gain of around 3300 ft. And the hike up the ridge overlooking the lake wasn’t too bad. We stopped and had a leasurely “lunch” and took in the stunning view.

Hidden Lake

After which Beth decide to hike the rest of the way up to the Hidden Lake lookout. I decided to hang out and a shoot photos. Which, in hindsite, was, or at least would have been a really, really good idea.

I mean I did hang out and shoot a number of huge panorama images from the ridge but I have a lake shore addiction. So I decided to head for the lake, or as close as I could get. And let’s just say the journey looked much shorter and easier than it really was. Most of which you can’t even see in the image above.

The hike, more of a boulder hopping, snow trudging scramble took probably a half hour. And it was all down hill so I had Newton helping me out. And I will say that the view from the little clearing above the lake was spectacular, and at the time, so worth the trip.

I took several image from this vantage point, but this was my favorite. And probably one of my favorites of the year.

Hidden Lake
Hidden Lake – Marblemount Washington

As I was photographing away, I kept a eye out for my friend Beth and finally noticed she had hiked back down from the lookout. So now it was time for me to pay the piper for my extravagance. Not wanting to keep her waiting, I hustled backup up to the ridge totally blowing through the energy I was sorely going to need for the knee killing, down hill hike back to the car.

And I struggled mightily and have yet to be so happy to see the car. Big thanks to my great hiking partner who patiently put up with my lameness. That said, it was so worth the effort and there was a to-die for camping spot near the lake should I ever get amnesia and think I should trot up there with a 30 pound pack.

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