TR: Canyon Creek & Boulder Creek in Trinity Alps 5/9/14-5/11 | High Sierra Topix  

TR: Canyon Creek & Boulder Creek in Trinity Alps 5/9/14-5/11

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TR: Canyon Creek & Boulder Creek in Trinity Alps 5/9/14-5/11

Postby maiathebee » Thu May 15, 2014 6:45 pm

Last weekend I hiked my first solo backpacking trip. I went in a little nervous, but came out feeling great! I spent two nights in the Trinity Alps.

I planned to visit the popular Canyon Creek drainage, hoping that the early dates would cut down on the crowds of people who swarm this area in the summer. On my way in on Friday morning, the only people I saw was a large trail crew, but on Saturday it'd be a different story! I started at 10:30am on Friday and didn't see anyone until around noon when I neared the spot where the trail crosses Canyon Creek. Then Saturday afternoon into Sunday, I had the entire Boulder Creek drainage to myself---bliss!

The first few miles of the Canyon Creek Trail are through deciduous forest with mossy rocks strewn about.

Image
Canyon Creek Trail by snackronym, on Flickr

The weather was cloudy across the west side of the canyon, while the trail follows the east side of the canyon.

Image
Western slopes of Canyon Creek by snackronym, on Flickr

As the trail gains elevation, the forest transitions to more evergreens and the views start to open up to the granite walls of the canyon. At one point, you look out to the junction of the Boulder Creek (behind the sloping granite in the foreground) drainage with Canyon Creek's drainage.

Image
Looking out to the west by snackronym, on Flickr

After a brief stretch of exposed trail with views, it's back to the woods again. The forest is pretty and you get peeks at the walls of the canyon, but for me this type of trail is a bit boring. At least it makes for pleasant hiking, though!

Image
Walking through the forest by snackronym, on Flickr

Ah, finally I get a view back down the canyon I've been hiking up!

Image
Fist look back by snackronym, on Flickr

And at this point Canyon Creek cascades nicely over wide slabs of granite. Soon after these falls, I'd encounter the first people of the day (a trail crew of about 8 people rolling big boulders around).

Image
Canyon Creek by snackronym, on Flickr

After 2.5 hours of hiking, I had lunch at 1pm at Upper Canyon Creek falls.

Image
Upper Canyon Creek Falls by snackronym, on Flickr

My pace would slow a lot now since I kept wanting to turn around and take photos and admire the grander and grander views of the canyon!

Image
The best tree by snackronym, on Flickr

I reached Upper Canyon Creek Lake at 3pm and set up camp. Pretty much all of the established campsites are within 100 feet of water due to the steeply sloping sides of the basin.

Image
Upper Canyon Creek Lake Camp by snackronym, on Flickr

I had a nice view over to the little basin where L Lake lives and I planned to dayhike there the next day. Mother nature had other plans, however. I spent the night listening to sleet fall on my tent and winds whip by. I woke up to a thick whiteout with strong winds and a mix of frozen precipitation that didn't stick to much besides my tent.

Image
Wintery Mix by snackronym, on Flickr

So I spent most of the morning huddled inside my bag, napping on and off.

ImageTent Life by snackronym, on Flickr

As I thought the storm was clearing, I packed up my gear inside the tent ready to make a break for it if it cleared enough. Finally, around 11am, I got my chance.

Image
Lower Canyon Creek Lake by snackronym, on Flickr

I headed back down the trail, thinking I'd either leave or visit Boulder Creek if the weather was nice when I got to the junction. It looked promising at first!

Image
Canyon Creek by snackronym, on Flickr

And then it started to hail (?).

Image
Looks like styrofoam by snackronym, on Flickr

Image
Creek crossing in the hail by snackronym, on Flickr

Image
This meadow was nicer yesterday by snackronym, on Flickr

And then suddenly, five minutes later, it was completely clear and sunny again. I guess I'll be heading to Boulder Creek after all!

Image
Wait what? Is this the same day? by snackronym, on Flickr

I forded Canyon Creek. The water was about shin to knee deep.

Image
Crossing Canyon Creek again by snackronym, on Flickr

As I headed up the steeper sections of the Boulder Creek Trail, the views began to open up.

Image
Boulder Creek drainage by snackronym, on Flickr

And soon I arrived at the surreal, Tolkien-esque basin in which Boulder Creek Lake lives. The basin is chock full of waterfalls and little ponds. So beautiful!

Image
Boulder Creek Lake by snackronym, on Flickr

Image
Surreal ponds in the Boulder Creek Lake basin by snackronym, on Flickr

Image
Boulder Creek Lake outlet waterfall by snackronym, on Flickr

I got up early the next morning for some beautiful sunrise alpenglow reflections on the pools around the basin.

Image
Alpenglow above Boulder Creek Lake basin by snackronym, on Flickr

Image
Alpenglow on Boulder Creek Lake basin by snackronym, on Flickr

Image
Surreal ponds and reflections by snackronym, on Flickr

Image
Reflections by snackronym, on Flickr

I said goodbye to the basin around 8:30am and headed back down to my car.

Image
Boulder Creek Lake by snackronym, on Flickr

ImageHeaded back down through the forest by snackronym, on Flickr

Image
I didn't die! by snackronym, on Flickr
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maiathebee
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Re: TR: Canyon Creek & Boulder Creek in Trinity Alps 5/9/14-5/11

Postby maverick » Thu May 15, 2014 6:57 pm

Thanks for the wonderful TR and pictures. Weather wise it seems you got a bit
of everything. Happy to read that you first solo trip was such a success, they
only get better. :)
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: TR: Canyon Creek & Boulder Creek in Trinity Alps 5/9/14-5/11

Postby rlown » Thu May 15, 2014 7:07 pm

nice report!
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Re: TR: Canyon Creek & Boulder Creek in Trinity Alps 5/9/14-5/11

Postby LMBSGV » Thu May 15, 2014 9:07 pm

Wonderful report and photos. You've added another place to my bucket list. And it's great your first solo worked out so well. I'm hoping for a Sierra solo report from you sometime in the future. Thanks for sharing your experience.
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TR: Canyon Creek & Boulder Creek in Trinity Alps 5/9/14-5/11

Postby bheiser1 » Thu May 15, 2014 9:26 pm

Thanks for the TR and pix, you reminded me of how beautiful the Trinity Alps are. Great narrative :).
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Re: TR: Canyon Creek & Boulder Creek in Trinity Alps 5/9/14-5/11

Postby BakoGal » Thu May 22, 2014 6:31 am

Beautiful photos! I'm moving to that area in 2016....you've given me something to look forward to! Thanks for sharing.
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