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Early season Trinity Alps trip advice

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Early season Trinity Alps trip advice

Postby maiathebee » Tue May 06, 2014 5:56 pm

Hey y'all! Super excited to see everyone starting to post trip reports and think about adventures for 2014. I've got a lot planned, including my first solo hike ever---this weekend!


I'm planning to head up to the Trinity Alps this weekend and I'd love your advice for a great early season trip up there. According to the April 24th trail report ( http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOC ... 154861.pdf ), the snowpack is ridiculously low. I'll be staying in Weaverville on Thursday, hiking in on Friday morning and out on Sunday afternoon. I've been once before (Four Lakes Loop via Stoney Ridge) a few years ago and really enjoyed it.

Details:

--Level 4 backpacking experience, but this will be my first solo trip, so I'd like to stay on trail for this trip.
--I'm comfortable with Class 2-3 and x-country, but as I mentioned, I'd like to stay on trail for my first solo trip. I'd also like to minimize stream/river crossings for the same reason.
--I love big views and pretty lakes. I don't fish. I would enjoy campsites with great sunrises and sunsets.
--For this trip, I'm looking to do about 8-10 miles and 2000 feet of elevation per day (less than usual since again, first solo so I'm carrying everything instead of sharing the burden of tent/cook/bear gear).
--I'd prefer a loop or lollipop, but out and back is fine.

I've been thinking about Granite Lake up over Seven Up Pass to Four Lakes Loop and back via Bear Basin, but I am a bit worried about snow on Seven Up Pass and creek crossings in Bear Basin.

Another thought I had was to head up Canyon Creek, but again there is a creek crossing that could be gnarly before one gets to the Good Stuff (Canyon Lakes & L lake).

Thanks in advance!



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Re: Early season Trinity Alps trip advice

Postby rlown » Tue May 06, 2014 7:37 pm

regardless of your trip, the La Grange Cafe in Weaverville is the place to eat. 520 Main street. The Italian place across from the market to the South isn't bad either.

Personally, if just backpacking, Right up Stuart fork towards Emerald and Sapphire lks., esp, since it's early. in and out. not a lot of loops there for a 3 day.

When you check in to get your permit, they can tell you where they think there is snow and change your plans there.
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Re: Early season Trinity Alps trip advice

Postby kpeter » Wed May 07, 2014 6:00 am

I've backpacked exactly once in the Trinity Alps, a quarter century ago, but my father and I did a lovely five day trip with a small shuttle between trailheads. I posted some pictures in response to another inquiry some time ago.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8246&p=59909&hilit=kpeter+trinity#p59909

Perhaps some of that thread will help.

We went in at Swift Creek.
Granite Lake day 1.
Granite Lake over the Pass near Seven Up Peak and past Deer Lake to Summit lake on day 2
Stayed at Summit Lake and climbed (easy walk-up) Siligo Peak on day 3.
Summit Lake through Siligo Meadows and Bee Tree gap to the upper reaches of Long Canyon on day 4.
Down Long Canyon to our car shuttle on day 5.

All these distances were relatively short and allowed ample time for exploring. We went in August of what I remember as a normal year and found the flowers, particularly in the upper reaches of Long Canyon above treeline, to be spectacular.
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Re: Early season Trinity Alps trip advice

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed May 07, 2014 7:41 am

Going off trail in the Trinity Alps is nearly impossible in the lower densely vegetated areas, so staying on a trail is a good idea! I have off-trail hiked at the head of Canyon Creek and climbed Wedding Cake peak. It was very difficult until I got above the vegetation. Most of the climb was on snow. I had an ice axe. The trip was 4th July of a high snow year. I am horrible at creek crossings and I do not recall any crossing that freaked me out - we did have to wade. So I do not think you have to worry too much this year about early season creek crossings. Finding a dry place to camp may be a problem. With the underbrush, almost all campsites are established and if just recently melted, can be damp. Canyon Creek is very popular. As soon as it is open lots of people will use it, especially on weekends. This can be good, because if there is snow there should be a beaten path. Not good if you are looking for solitude.
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Re: Early season Trinity Alps trip advice

Postby maverick » Wed May 07, 2014 12:17 pm

Rlown wrote:
Personally, if just backpacking, Right up Stuart fork towards Emerald and
Sapphire lks., esp, since it's early.


Yes, Emerald, Sapphire, Mirror Lakes, but also Grizzly Lake, and the Four Lakes
Loop are some of the prettiest lakes in northern California. The Four Lakes Loop
via the Stoney Ridge Trail is the perfect intro hike, all trail, and if you want a
peak to climb Siligo Peak is on your way in, it has spectacular views. Diamond
Lake, Siligo Meadow, and Deer Creek have good camping, but Deer Creek can be
a bit crowded.
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 season Trinity Alps trip advice

Postby maiathebee » Wed May 07, 2014 1:19 pm

maverick wrote:
Rlown wrote:
The Four Lakes Loop
via the Stoney Ridge Trail is the perfect intro hike, all trail, and if you want a
peak to climb Siligo Peak is on your way in, it has spectacular views.


I did exactly this on my first trip there a few years ago! And yeah, Siligo is great :D

Thanks for the advice, everyone. I'll think about Stuart Fork or Canyon Creek and talk to the ranger when I pick up my permit to finalize the decision :)
oh hey! you're reading my signature.
that's nice. want to check out my blog?
here it is: plutoniclove.com
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Re: Early season Trinity Alps trip advice

Postby Ikan Mas » Wed May 07, 2014 8:20 pm

I backpacked with a couple of friends to Emerald on Friday. Went to Sapphire the next morning and then down the valley to the crossing that heads to Alpine Lake. Water was a bit too high for my friends, so we camped there, ate some shrooms, and fished. Next morning, an easy boogie out.

Conditions: No snow up to Sapphire Lake. Good weather, with a few drops of rain on the way out Sunday. Above freezing at night. Rainbows in the Stuart Fork were so stuffed with bugs they weren't interested in my lures.

Now a few photos:
Image
The Stuart Fork

Image
Morris Meadows

Image
Sawtooth Ridge

Image
Emerald Lake

Image
Emerald Lake from trail to Sapphire

Image
Sapphire Lake

Image
Morris on Saturday. Green now, but probably dry soon.

Image
Shrooms

Image
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Re: Early season Trinity Alps trip advice

Postby rlown » Wed May 07, 2014 8:23 pm

Morels. What a bonus! nice report..
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Re: Early season Trinity Alps trip advice

Postby tarbuckle » Thu May 08, 2014 7:46 am

Creek crossings won't be an issue this year in the Alps. I just returned from a trip up the NF. A trip that I wouldn't even consider until mid to late June(some years July) because of high water. Crossings were knee high.
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Re: Early season Trinity Alps trip advice

Postby maiathebee » Mon May 12, 2014 11:02 am

Thanks for the advice, everyone! I had a great time in Canyon Creek / Boulder Creek drainages. Full TR coming soon, but here's a little something:

Image

Alpenglow above Boulder Creek Lake basin
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Re: Early season Trinity Alps trip advice

Postby maiathebee » Thu May 15, 2014 6:46 pm

oh hey! you're reading my signature.
that's nice. want to check out my blog?
here it is: plutoniclove.com
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