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Early-June NE CA/Lassen Area Suggestions

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Early-June NE CA/Lassen Area Suggestions

Postby herefishyfishy » Wed May 23, 2012 10:32 am

Hi all, this is my first post here and I'm a little hesitant to start with a 'solicitation for suggestions' right off the bat, but hopefully I'll narrow things enough not to annoy anyone too much.

A friend and I, both experienced hikers (5-6 multi-night backcountry trips/year), are looking to do an early season trip up to NE California. We have about 7 days total and wanted to spend a bit of time poking around Lassen, maybe 1-2 nights of car camping at lower elevation in addition to the backcountry trip.

The first idea that came to mind was the South Warner Wilderness, as I've heard a lot of nice things about it, and it's still on the list, but it would be a pretty long additional drive. Wondering if anyone has other suggestions for a 4-5 day, ~30 mile loop within a ~2hr drive of Lassen that might actually be somewhat accessible in a few weeks and not too mosquito-ridden (although that is probably too much to hope for).

Frankly, with all the reports I've heard about the relatively dry conditions in the southern sierra, I'm wondering if we should head south instead of north...but there's just something about Shasta that draws you in.

-fc



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Re: Early-June NE CA/Lassen Area Suggestions

Postby Fly Guy Dave » Wed May 23, 2012 11:04 am

Two wilderness areas that are up in that region and are often overlooked are the Marble Mountain Wilderness and the Caribou Wilderness. Both have solitude, beautiful scenery and excellent fishing.
"Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man." --Jeff Lebowski

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Re: Early-June NE CA/Lassen Area Suggestions

Postby maverick » Wed May 23, 2012 11:10 am

Hi HFF,

Welcome to HST!
Please read viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4205
This will give members here more info about your experience, abilities, and the
type of trip your looking for so we can better customize our recommendation to your
needs.
No need to be hesitant, we are all about helping out folks plan the safest, funnest
backpacking trips possible here on HST!
Since you mention Shasta, click on this link then on Forest Recreation Report to see
what the conditions are like: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/stnf/ ... width=full
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Early-June NE CA/Lassen Area Suggestions

Postby dave54 » Wed May 23, 2012 7:07 pm

Caveat: this time if the year the Caribou Wilderness is a giant mosquito nest. They are BAD!!! The entire wilderness is basically a conifer swamp with over 600 lakes or wet meadows one acre or larger. It is best later in the year. I did a grad paper on the climate in the Caribou.

Ishi Wilderness should be nice now. It gets hotter than Hades July and August.

Lassen Park is criss crossed with trails, and off trail hiking is relatively easy. The east half of the park is flat to rolling terrain with an open understory.

Lots of bikepacking options also. Not too much paddling. You can paddle the length of Butte Lake in Lassen Park and camp at the south end. The state park north of Fall River Mills is paddle in only.
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Re: Early-June NE CA/Lassen Area Suggestions

Postby Quercus » Thu May 24, 2012 1:30 am

I think Caribou Wilderness is an excellent choice for early season hiking, although you definitely will encounter mosquitos. I lived in Lassen County for a number of years, including in the town of Westwood, which is only about a 30-minute drive to Caribou. I have hiked in Caribou many times at different times of the year. I recommend bringing insect repellent and a tent/shelter for bug protection and you should be fine. Just plan on taking shelter as the sun goes down and the mosquito presence increases. Caribou is a small wilderness area and you can hike most of the trails in just 2 or 3 days. There is easy access into Caribou off of Hwy 36. I plan on hiking Caribou myself in the next month.

Ishi Wilderness is very nice, but I would probably not go there in June unless you want to risk experiencing high heat and very dry conditions. Ishi is mostly low elevation foothill country and, for me, is best Fall through Spring. I hiked there about a month ago and in April of last year and found it to be nice that time of year. I found the trails I hiked to be in pretty bad shape, not appearing to have been maintained much in recent years. Lots of trees and branches across the trail. Also be advised that it is a fairly long drive to Ishi, including many miles of sometimes very rough dirt road once you leave the highway near Red Bluff. I wouldn't recommend a passenger car with low clearance. I'd check out Ishi, but wait for Fall when things cool down.

I have also hiked in the Warner Wilderness near Alturas. Very nice there, no crowds, but extremely remote and seems like a very long drive from just about everywhere.

Another location in NE CA that is similar in terrain and habitat types to Caribou is Thousand Lakes Wilderness, which is accessible from Hwy 44. This is also a small wilderness area located not too far north of Caribou. You very well my encounter mosquitos here in similar numbers to those in Caribou.

The nice thing about Caribou, Thousand Lakes, Ishi, and the Warners is that permits are not required, there are no quotas, and you will not encounter crowds. If you hike in Lassen National Park, which lies adjacent to and immediately west of Caribou, that will probably not be the case. The downside is these areas are not high Sierra landscsapes with majestic peaks. These areas are in the southern Cascades where volcanic landscapes predominate. I say check it out and use the opportunity to get tuned up for the season.

Scott
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Re: Early-June NE CA/Lassen Area Suggestions

Postby herefishyfishy » Thu May 24, 2012 11:03 am

Thanks everyone for the replies and advice.

Ishi wilderness would be a fun time, but I'm concerned that it could be a quite warm...

Going to look into Marble Mountains as well, not sure how soggy they might be...

Warners look attractive and like the remoteness.

Will report back after the trip!
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Re: Early-June NE CA/Lassen Area Suggestions

Postby maverick » Thu May 24, 2012 12:54 pm

Spirit Lake is a gorgeous lake sitting in a mountain bowl. Lots of deer, osprey, and good
fishing make for a great all-around trip.Wild flowers are outstanding too. It is 17 miles
one way from the Haypress Meadows Trail in the Marbles, and a great destination for
an early June trip up north.
http://kevingong.com/Hiking/200207BigElkLake2.html
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Early-June NE CA/Lassen Area Suggestions

Postby dave54 » Thu May 24, 2012 9:49 pm

South of the Lassen area is Bucks Lake Wilderness. It is more Sierra-like with granite. Also further south is the Lakes Basin area. Lakes Basin is not wilderness, but still a great place to hike.

The west side of Lassen Park will be crowded any summer weekend. The trail to the Peak is a congested freeway. The eastside is more remote and gets less use. The trail to Cinder Cone gets a fair amount of use, but the view from the top is worth it. Weird colorful landscapes. Off trail cross country in the eastside Lassen is far easier than in the Sierra.

I am divulging some secrets now. At the SW corner of the Park is a small lake called Heart Lake. A couple of trails lead to it, and gets very little use, mostly from locals. Another spot used by locals lies along the south boundary of the Park about halfway. A small network of trails connect Blue Lake, Ridge Lake, Rice Creek, and several meadows, and connects to the Park trail system.
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