On November 19th, I headed back to Goat Lake with my favorite meetup group. It was a little wet and drizzly but not as bad as the last two outings. What a difference since the last visit on July 30th! See the hiking stats and WTA info on my last posting. The road out was VERY pot-holed, definitely recommend a car with higher clearance if you plan to go out on the Mountain Loop Highway before they close the road down for winter.
Part of our group (including myself) chose to go out and back on the Lower Elliot Trail and part of our group chose to return on the upper Elliot trail. I personally prefer the lower trail as the upper starts feeling a little bit like a road to me, plus it is longer. The trail was pretty muddy which is to be expected, most bad spots could be skirted around fairly easily. There were also a few smaller creek crossings that weren’t too bad. The main creek that the trail follows (I think it is Elliot Creek) was very full and beautiful. I didn’t take the adventure down the hill this time to get a picture of the big waterfall, but it was impressive. Don’t forget to stop and admire the huge trees! The mountains were all snow-capped and beautiful. The trail was still snow free, but I am sure it will have snow soon enough.
The flowers and blueberries were gone but the mushrooms were out. I don’t know much about mushrooms, so I cannot tell you which ones these are, but here are some photos of a few we saw along the way.
Since I previously posted about this trail in the height of summer I thought it might be nice to add some comparison photos from summer to fall. The area with the asters was very different with the leaves off the trees you could see the mountains peeking through. Also the overgrown plants around the lake were mostly gone. The view from the lake was also very different. Here are some contrasting pictures. Some of these may not be from the same spots, but you will get the gist.