On my second day of hiking in the Central Cascades of Washington State, I drove the very rough road to Section 3 Lake at 6,000 feet. The small lake is the location of one of the Northeast Trailheads into the Goat Peak Wilderness.
I knew this hike had a low-probability of success. Heavy winds and rain storms had moved in through the night, showing no signs of dying down anytime soon. And, in fact, never did stop for the remaining three days of my vacation.
I donned my raincoat, hat and gloves and began the hike to the south through a series of pretty alpine meadows dotted with small ponds. After three wet and cold miles I reached the one-mile steep ascent trail to the summit of 7,336-foot Bear Creek Mountain.
Here common sense prevailed. There was no way I was going to try for the summit in heavy storm conditions when the rocky trail was so exposed to the elements.
Returning to the trailhead, I relived some of my previous climbs to the summit on nice days. On those days the hike provides a big bang for the buck. All of the Goat Rocks scenery are splendidly laid out in front of the Bear Creek Mountain Summit, from Devils Horns, to Tieton Peak, Mt. Gilbert (the highest point in Goat Rocks), Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier.
Oh well, as the old cowboy used to say: Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you.