Goosenest Mountain

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3.46 miles round-trip, 1073 elevation gain to the highest point of the rim

We’ve had a bit of a smoky summer in the Pacific Northwest, especially at the end of August. So, I haven’t gotten out of the house as much as I wanted to recently. I did a short hike up to Boccard Point in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, thinking I could at least get above the smoke, but it was still pretty smoky at the top.

Down in the valley, life was smoke-filled and depressing. Finally this week we had a day of pretty decent rain and it started to clear all the crud out of the air, which raised everyone’s spirits. Since I’d pretty much been lounging around the house eating the past few weeks, I wanted to get out this weekend and get my hiking legs again, but I didn’t want to overexert myself with a full backpack of camping gear to do an overnight. Doing a dayhike to a place like Goosenest Mountain was just the ticket.

Goosenest Mountain looms off in the distance every time I drive down I-5 through northern California (when there’s no smoke, of course). It’s an old volcano that collapsed in on itself, leaving a small crater instead of a peak at the top. I had some issues navigating there, mainly because I trusted Google Maps over written directions — almost always trust written directions more, especially if they are from an official source like forest rangers.

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Pretty hilly prairie on the drive in

Eventually, I made it to the trailhead and it was time to climb. Goosenest trail is pretty short and climbs pretty quickly to the rim around the crater.

Around 1.30 miles in, I arrived at the rim of the crater and could see my endpoint, the “summit” of the mountain.

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It was pretty smoky in the areas around Goosenest, so I didn’t get incredibly great views. Still, it was nice to summit a mountain.

On the way back down, I had enough cell reception to read up about Grass Lake, which is a big open grassy area that has a rest stop on the side of Hwy 97. Grass Lake was really pretty from the highway and from above. On my map, it showed up as water, though it only looks like grass, so I was confused. According to the Mail Tribune article that I found from 2009, it used to be an actual lake, but someone set off dynamite and accidentally drained the lake into the porous rock below. Today, there’s enough water to sustain a meadow of grass, but the lake is no more (at least not on the surface). Interesting stuff and beautiful area

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Grass Lake with Hwy 97 skirting the right side

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