Saturday, June 19, 2010

Goat Mountain

Friday, to celebrate our wedding anniversary, my wife and I hiked Goat Mountain in the Mount Baker Wilderness.  We were not able to leave home until about 9:30 am and were not on the trail until about 11:00 am, so had just a short day hike.

We stopped at the Ranger Station in Glacier to ask about the trail conditions and about native orchids.  We were informed that most of the trails were still snow covered at 4500 feet and above, but that the Goat Mountain Trail was open for several miles and that someone had reported seeing Lady's Slippers on the trail, so off we went.

We made one stop on the way to the trailhead to take pictures of Mount Shuksan and the Nooksack River.  There was no one else at the trailhead and we spent a while there taking pictures of some of the dew covered plants, of an unidentified beetle, and of a small butterfly, probably a Silvery Blue (Glaucopsyche lygdamus).

We found the trail to be all in the woods and quite steep with a lot of switchbacks, but we were not in a hurry and took our time, doing the three miles of open trail in about four hours (45 minutes back), stopping often for pictures and to explore the woods along the trail.

After the second switchback we began to see Fairy Slippers (Calypso bulbosa var. occidentalis) along the trail as well as a number of Coralroots, both Merten's (Corallorhiza mertensiana) and Spotted (Corallorhiza maculata), neither of which were close to blooming.

While taking pictures of some of the Fairy Slippers we also found some unusual fungi and lichens, one fungus like a black cup partially buried in the ground and the lichens with interesting fruiting bodies held above the flat "leaves."

There were a lot of waterfalls and streams as a result of snow melt at higher elevations and we made a long stop to take some time exposures of one of them.  When my wife was finished she pulled out a book and sat on the trail to read while I finished taking pictures.

There we saw the only other hikers of the day, two girls who were making much better time than we were.  After they passed us my wife spotted a mouse, possibly a Deer Mouse, which we could not identify with certainty and we watched him (her?) going about its business totally unconcerned with us.

After the mouse we came to a long stretch of trail that was relatively flat and it was there that we found the day's treasure, numerous spikes of a tiny Corallroot that I had never seen before, Corallorhiza trifida.  This tiny plant was growing in a rather damp area and we had to crawl around to get pictures.

As we gained altitude we continued to see these along the trail for a while along with Trilliums, which were finished flowering lower down the trail, and many other wildflowers also, including the wild ginger, Asarum caudatum.  This, when any part is crushed, has a strong ginger odor.

We continued up the trail until about 3:00, having hiked about three miles, at which time we had to turn back.  Though keeping our eyes opened for other treasures and for morels, of which we found a few, we were back at the car in less than 45 minutes and home before 5:00.


  1. OOOooo bonus ant on the Twin Bells

    excellent pictures as always, congrats on the trifida

  2. Thanks, Marti. It was a good place for a day hike and we will probably do it again sometime. We've done Church Mountain, Yellow Aster Butte and Heliotrope Ridge in the same area, but not this. The Corallorhiza certainly was an added bonus, though.

  3. Thank you for the new information. I've added Hooker's Fairy Bells to my next Fairy Flowers post. The followers section on my blog is now more visible. You can follow by Mr. Linky or Google. My husband and I graduated from The Evergreen State College after studying photography. Your images are stunning. It makes me very homesick. S. California just doesn't have the greenery. My gmail address is the same as my blog.
    Thank you again for sharing part of your beautiful world.

  4. I can well understand your being homesick. We loved our recent trip to northern California and have friends in southern Cal, but we think we live in the most beautiful part of the country. Thank you very much for commenting and for checking these posts.


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