We were tired on our last day. A little hungover. Looking for a mellow activity. With no reception to research short hikes or hot springs, we asked our campsite host, Jim, to recommend a leisurely outing.
“You guys should go to Goat Lake,” he said. “It’s just one or two miles in and spectacular. You’ll love it.”
Done. We filled our water bottles, got a few snacks, drove to the trailhead and started walking.
And walking. And walking.
It ended up being a 9 mile hike with nearly 2,000 feet of elevation gain. About four miles in, when the trees disappeared and the trail seemed fit only for mountain goats, we cursed Jim’s name.
Soon thereafter, we arrived to a pristine blue lake cradled in a granite cirque, and quickly forgot our sore legs and wobbly ankles. We dove in. The snow melt shocked our senses and we dried ourselves on a warm slab of rock.
Jim had joked that he was “old and senile.” So whether he intentionally sandbagged us or had just forgotten the actual distance of the hike, I’m not sure. But when we finished, we drank a beer in the local hot spring and toasted Jim. There is no way we would have gone if we’d known how tough it was, and there’s no way we wouldn’t do it again.