Goat Rocks Wilderness

At 5AM on Friday morning, we set out for the Snowgrass Hikers Trailhead. All proceeded according to plan until 26 miles off the paved road, a sharp rock tore a 1.5″ gash through one of my tires. I used my tire repair kit to insert 5 plugs, greatly slowing down the air leak. That was sufficient to hold air for about 10 miles, so we turned around and headed back towards civilization.

Upon hitting blacktop, we also got cell phone coverage. I called Tesla service and they would flatbed my car back to Fife, WA and replace the tire. Expecting that to take about 5 hours, I declined to explore my options. The two nearby rural tire shops had nothing in the correct size, so we headed towards I-5 and started calling every shop between us and Chehalis.

Les Schwab in Chehalis claimed to have a matching tire in stock. When we arrived, they had a Continental in 245/55R19, but it was the wrong series. They insisted they could only replace all 4 tires. My tires are nearly new, no thanks guys. Another call and Discount Tire in Lacy (27 miles North) had the correct tire, series, and size, so off we went again. The plugs held, Discount Tire replaced the tire, and shortly after lunch, we once again had 4 good tires.

For the second time, we set off for the Snowgrass Hikers Trailhead. As we got into the I-5 freeway, a car 5 car lengths ahead of us threw up something which left a quarter sized chip in my windshield. We pressed on and arrived at dusk. We camped overnight in Motel Tesla.

On Saturday morning we hiked over to Berry Patch Trailhead and headed North. We took the optional scenic detour to Goat Ridge and found the lookout is now ruins. We continued North and took the Lily Basin Trail #86. We stashed our packs and scooted out to Johnson Peak (7,257′) and tagged the summit at noon.

We descended almost bee-lining towards Heart Lake (a better route than our ascent), returned to our packs, and then visited Goat Lake. The camp sites were all full, the lake shore was crowded, but the lake was empty. I dove in and found out why: it was still ice-cold. We filtered drinking water, ate our first dinner, dried off in the sun, and then pressed onwards.

About a mile past Goat Lake we found an empty campground and set up for the evening. It was a lovely evening, cool and brisk and we slept well under my MSR tarp tent. In the morning we set our sights on the summits of Old Snowy Mountain (7,900′) and Ives Peak (7,920′).

Based on our previous days experience and the forecast, we again left our packs behind and headed for the summit of Old Snowy with just an extra layer and water bottles. Oops. As we ascended the wind picked up and the exposure made us regret the choice. To keep warm we picked up the pace and reached the summit before 10AM. We did not loiter and scurried right back down.

50° with 30-40 mph winds. Brrrr…

Being separated from our layers prevented us from hiking the ridge over to Ives Peak. We descended on the PCT, retrieved our packs, and then hiked out Snowgrass Trail #96 to the trailhead and our car.

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