The Goat Trail
June 18, 2011
A backcountry patrol just got back from The Goat Trail. It is still early season in the highcountry right now and the patrol encountered a little bit of everything weather-wise including rain, sleet, hail, snow, and finally a bit of sun. Skolai pass was nice and has mostly dried out from the winter snows. Great hiking up there!!
Yup, thats snow in June!
The Goat Trail is a great hike. The idea that it's a trail is a bit misleading. There are sections where there is a narrow path but this hike is a route and not a trail. The top of Chitistone Pass still has some snow, but it was pretty easy to avoid. The patrol also ran into a number of bears including one particularly close encounter. Remember to store your food properly and be bear aware.
The scree slopes were steep and exposed, as always, but no significant changes or challenges.
The Chitistone River crossing was easier than expected but remember that this is usually the crux of this trip. The patrol had especially cool weather that brought water levels down a lot.
The patrol did encounter a significant amount of human impacts. Fire scars, rock rings from tents, litter, and toilet paper were all found along this route. The rangers pack a significant amount of litter out of the backcountry every year. The haul on this patrol included a packcover, water bag, sandal, and food wrappers. Please remember to pack everything out of the backcountry and practice Leave No Trace Principles.
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Did You Know?
The fishwheel, a device relied upon by many Alaskans today for harvesting salmon, was first used in the U.S. in North Carolina in 1829. A good spot to observe fishwheels in action is in the Copper River, near Chitina.