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  1. #1
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    Goat Flats~Boulder River Wilderness

    Nestled in the North Cascades, Goat Flats is/was often the stopping point along the trail to Three Fingers Lookout. Goat Flats it's self is a worthy destination. I say "was" because mother nature, and Forest Service Budge cuts have conspired to make this trip a week long adventure. First the road washed out, then a logging operation. Well at least the logging operation helped with a partial repair, but was closed the road while logging was on going. The result is it has been years since there has been any reasonable access.
    With the logging operation ending this weekend, and a contractor scheduled to work the road next weekend, this weekend was a short window of opportunity to get in there.
    I drove the 8 miles of drivable Forest Service road then switched to mountain bike for the remaining 9 miles to the trail head. Cached the mountain bike at the trail head and continued on to the Wilderness Area foot on what is left of the trail. The trail has always been a rugged one. Now, the first 3/4 of a mile resembles a dry creek bed....well it kind of has turned in to a creek in the rainy season due to drainage problems. Beyond the 3/4ths mile the trail is overtaking by brush, devils club and salmon berry.....nasty stuff. The trail tread is slumping resulting in an ankle twisting side hill.
    At 2.5 miles Saddle Lake is reached. In summer it more resembles a swamp, it's water tinted brown by cedar tannins. Typically in the past i would just blow by this place as it did not seem too appealing. But i wanted to find a place to sit and have lunch. So wandered a bit.

    I was rewarded for my wandering. To my shock the old Saddle Lake shelter was still standing, at the edge of a small meadow. This trail side shelter is very very old.








    After lunch i pressed on to Goat Flats. Thankfully the trail from Saddle Lake to Goat Flats is i much better shape. Still i was moving at a snails pace cause i was already tired. That's ok...cause the views are nice.

    At Goat Flats i set up camp.



    After setting up camp i relaxed, watched the clouds clear, the sun set, moon rise, frost form on the ground, and a meteor shower before retiring late. I got up early and watched the sun rise.
    Then after breakfast i strolled beyond Goat Flats bound for Tin Can Gap to have a look at the Glacier Crossing, to reach the Lookout. I was stopped by short glazed over field with bad runout. As i did not pack Crampons or Ice an Ice axe crossing was not an option. Properly equipped this would have been a trivial crossing...or even after late afternoon sun it would have been easy...but not in the morning after below freezing temps. It was the end of my trip so i headed home.

    Photo Dump



















  2. #2
    Caveman's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
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    Wow. Those are some beautiful shots.
    If you ain't havin' fun, you're doin' it wrong

  3. #3
    2ply's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing your adventure! Looks like your window of opportunity worked out well. Great looking area to be in.
    Everyone ought to believe in something....I believe I'll go set up the hammock!

  4. #4

    Join Date
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    This is a great trip report with fantastic pictures.

    Thanks for posting this.

  5. #5
    TallPaul's Avatar
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    Aug 2012
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    I loved the pics of the city lights, then the one with the stars, then the trail... Well pretty much all of them. Nice report.

  6. #6
    Traverson's Avatar
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    Great pic's. Can you tell us what camera, lens, and settings you used.

  7. #7
    Moderator raiffnuke's Avatar
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    Amazing photos! Thank you for sharing them with us.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkeye Hanger View Post
    Great pic's. Can you tell us what camera, lens, and settings you used.

    I'm shooting with a Pentax K7. Lens used is a 18-55DA WR. Not my favorite lens, but for backpacking purposes is versatile and rugged. I don't have to worry about dirt of moisture with that lens. The sweet spot seems to be @ F8 to F11, although i depending on the zoom setting i can squeak out a sharp image above F8, but it aint a linear scale.

    All shots were recoded in camera in RAW (Adobe DNG) and converted to JPEG post process and down sampled for easy up loading to the web.

    Anything with red in it was pretty much desaturated post process. For some reason anything red that's highly luminous looses detail ie different shades of red if i don't desaturate.

  9. #9
    dman's Avatar
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    Nice report Hulk. I am really interested in that hammock set up you have. Is it a sock for a bridge hammock? I would like to know more about it.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by dman View Post
    Nice report Hulk. I am really interested in that hammock set up you have. Is it a sock for a bridge hammock? I would like to know more about it.
    Excellent pictures!

    Hulk looks to be rocking a brand new Warbonnet RidgeRunner with SpinnDrift sock. www.warbonnetoutdoors.com

    Bet you were sleeping nice Hulk?

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