Lux Laboring ~ Labor Day Weekend in the Goat Rocks, September 2021

“Speak to the earth and it will teach you.” Job 12:8

Usually, my favorite thing to do over Labor Day Weekend is to stay home. Car camping has lost its lure with me and the few times we’ve ventured down a dirt path over a holiday weekend it was a mad house. But, I was growing weary of the world down below and having a really hard time letting go of summer. And the weather was nice. And I knew of a place, way up high, that was maybe running dry.

Most backpackers want to camp near water. It makes everything easier. And most of the time – we humans just want what’s easy. Early in the summer the snow-melt streams down the mountains in all ways and manners. But as summer comes to an end, in some places, many of the streams that people use as a water source begin to dry up. The Goat Rocks is one of these places.

Sometimes the best place to go when everyone is going somewhere, is somewhere else. To find your own way. Sometimes you have to think outside of the box drawn out for you. So, my grand plan for the weekend was to leave ‘early’ Saturday and camp in the ‘dry’ zone and hope that we could find a snow patch to harvest from or get close enough to Old Snowy that we could stock up on water in a magical tarn I knew of, that usually sits nestled down at its base. It was a bit risky. But, I had a couple of fellas coming with me that don’t like boxes and thought it was definitely worth a try.

I have learned, that the more I trust the earth and the wonders God wove into it, the more I am left in awe. Its provisions are incredible and they give me hope.

When I say ‘early’, I am not always sure people know what I really mean. But, TJ didn’t seem to flinch or gasp when I said to meet us at our house at 4:30 am to head out. We were at the Snowgrass TH by 7 a.m. and although it was already pretty full, we found a spot to leave the Tahoe and headed off into the woods with high hopes.
It was a bit chilly but the sun was filtering through the trees all nice and pretty like, promising to warm us once we climbed out of the shelter of the forest.
The Snowgrass trail starts out very mild. And then just after you cross this pretty bridge it begins to work its way up to those rocks where the goats like to roam.
Most hikers find camp somewhere around here, especially so late in the season. But, we were headed towards higher ground.
As we climbed Mt Adams joined us.
The wildflowers that usually adorn this area had faded with the streams that also run rampant through here. Everything was already turning golden and arid in preparation for fall.
A little further up St Helen joined us as well.
And then we hit the well know and traveled PCT.
We jumped on its well worn path and continued on up.
Up where everything is wide open and wondrous.
Mikey and TJ hung out in this rocky area a bit while I ventured up the path to see if I could find my favorite spot and perhaps a little snow to melt for later.
And ‘find it’ I did:) The creek that ran through it at some point in the summer was long gone. But, I found a little patch of snow nearby that would suffice.
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So, far from the crowds, off the beaten path, we made camp.
With the remnants of wild flora and layers of lovely hills pouring out all around us.
And Adams, loyally lingering there off in the distance.
We tried to nap, but the sun was cooking up our tents so we went on a little adventure instead. I had spent some time chiseling away at a little snowfield and we had a few bags sitting in the sun. But, we were really hoping for a puddle to pull from.
That lovely tarn at the base of the Old Snowy trail hardly resembled the glossy glacial pool I remembered, but she was still holding just the right amount of satiation.
So we gathered up as much as we could carry and then Mikey carried it ALL:)

With so much water in tow we didn’t plan to climb Old Snowy or traipse along The Knife (both worthy side notes along this way), but we paused at the gap just below Old Snowy.

Where Rainer and Goat Lake sit so solemnly side by side.
If you head off to the left and venture up to what looks like a mountain of shale, there are a couple of rocky thrones.
Where you can sit and ponder the wonders of this world.
Or kick back and enjoy the majesty sprawling out before you.
Its hard to see St. Helen in the haze, but from the iron thrones you get a sweeping view of Adams, Helen, Goat Lake and Rainer, all in one glorious breathtaking bite.
After lingering in their majesty for a while we headed back down.
Then perched beside Rainier for a bit where the wifi was strong:)
And soaked in the vast views a bit more. That’s The Knife stretching out behind Mikey’s right shoulder, reaching towards Mt Rainier. We’ve ridden its edge before and it is other-worldly.
Eventually we made our way back to camp.
Following Adams.
To my favorite place.

Our humble abodes still sat in the brilliance of the sun.

So instead of giving a nap another go, I boiled us some water, of which were very rich in:)
And we had a late afternoon coffee date.
I cozied up in this little perch and read for a bit.
And then mosied around to see what I could see. I loved it so much up there.
Back at camp the boys were just chillin’.
And after a while we spotted some goats up in the rocks:)
So, we changed the channel with a twist of our chairs and watched them instead of the mountains for a while.
Until the sun began to fade.
Causing Adams to blush a bit.
And setting the hills above Goat Lake on fire.
Those goat laced rocks behind T’s tent reflected the hues of the setting sun all perfectly pink and pretty-like.
And we soaked up every last radiating ray of light. Then tipped our heads up toward the heavens and lingered long into the night with an endless sea of stars floating above us.
A new day’s morning light lit up the hills all golden and glorious.
But, it took a while for its auspicious aura to find its way to us.
So we lingered there for a while waiting for its warmth to embrace us and dry up all the dewy dampness.
And then we packed up and headed out.
We wanted to show T around a bit.
So instead of just heading out the way we came,
We followed one of the dried up creek beds.
To the lovely Lily Basin Trail.
As we reached the end of our descent the creek bed had shrunk to what was once just a trickle.
And we tip-toed our way along it.
And then jumped on the main trail.
All the way to Goat Lake.
If you could zoom in, you’d see humans clustered around its shores and Goats meandering though the rocks above it. It was a happening place:)
Once we climbed back out you could look out and see how far we’d come.
Then with Old Snowy at our backs we continued on.
Past this little crest.
And then down into the Jordan Basin, a land flowing with streams of wild water and people alike:)
The trail drops just past the Jordan’s sweet resting place.
And meanders this way a bit.
And then along one last ridge with the view of camp off in the distance.
And then down into the friendly forest.
Until it met up with the Goat Ridge Trail – which took us back to that packed parking lot where our chariot awaited.

In the end, we found everything we needed. Saw all that we wanted. And left feeling blessed to wander the wild together. God’s goodness is threaded through it all. The world is brimming with choas and confusion, but when I am brave enough to step away from it all, I am reminded that there is so much more to this life than what we see on the daily. The world is bigger and much more brilliant than we often realize. It is resilient. And ridiculously vast. Full of wonders – that I often think were place just beyond the well worn path, to remind us of God’s goodness and grace.

Psalm 121:1 ~ I lift my eyes up to the mountains, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

When your heart is weary – look to the mountains. Venture off to places others won’t. And remember. There is more to life than this.


Day 1 ~ Trail head to camp – 6.5 miles, plus some meandering – 2 miles

Day 2 ~ The Round About Way Out ~ 8.5 miles

Total Miles ~ 17

One thought on “Lux Laboring ~ Labor Day Weekend in the Goat Rocks, September 2021

  1. Thanks for the reminder. The world isn’t chaotic and mean. Sing this song. Not that song. Seek and you will find. You did! Love you.


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