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Trip Report    

Snowgrass Flats, Cispus Basin, Old Snowy & Goat Lake

Mountaineers B3 Backpacking trip, August 10-13, 2015. Group of 8 people and 1 dog.

Day 1: We hiked from the Snowgrass Trailhead to a camp below the bypass trail, east of Snowgrass Flats. Camp had close access to running water. We originally planned to camp 2 nights along the PCT above Snowgrass Flat, but chose to remain lower down in the timber due to concerns over the possibility of thunderstorms (as it turned out, there were thunderstorms both nights).

Day 2: We moved our camp a short distance west along the Lily Basin Trail to the "alpine camp" area, again choosing to camp low to avoid thunderstorms. Again, there was easy access to running water. After setting up camp, we day-hiked to the junction with the PCT and then northwest to the high point below Old Snowy Mountain. Most of the group continued to the summit of Old Snowy. The path to the summit of Old Snowy is easy to follow, but steep and rocky in places. There is a short, easy scramble at the top.
There was no water in the usually reliable creek near the junction of the Snowgrass Trail and the PCT. There was however, a snowfield near the high point of the PCT and another a short distance up the path to Old Snowy. Water could have been obtained from either.

Day 3: We hiked the Lily Basin Trail to Goat Lake, where we evaluated the weather to decide if our plan to camp at the bench (6800') below Hawkeye Point was prudent, again in consideration of thunderstorms. Seeing no evidence of impending storms, we filled all our water containers (we did not want to count on water at the bench) and continued with our original plan. When we arrived at the bench, we found that there was, in fact running water (but may not be for much longer this summer).
After setting up camp, we hiked to Hawkeye Point. Hawkeye Point provides an excellent overview of the spine of the Goat Rocks, and a visit is highly recommended. Again, the path is easy to follow from the bench, but steep and rocky.

Day 4: We hiked up to the saddle above the bench for sunrise and breakfast, then broke camp and hiked out along the Jordan Basin Trail to the Berry Patch Trailhead and then to the Snowgrass Trailhead. There was running water in Jordan Basin but none beyond.

- The area was very dry and dusty, some of the usual water sources were dry.
- The views were intermittently obscured by smoke from fires around Mt Adams, but the side trips to Old Snowy and Hawkeye Point were still worthwhile. The saddle above the bench is an excellent sunrise/sunset spot, providing views of Mt Adams and Mt Rainier.
- Wildflower season was mostly past, but is normally one of the attractions of this trip.
- We encountered goats in the area of Hawkeye Point, but did not have any problems with them.
- A Northwest Forest Pass is required for parking at the trailheads.
- There were no posted restrictions on dogs.
- Camping is not allowed at Snowgrass Flats or Goat Lake.

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