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TR: Boulder Creek Lakes, Trinity Alps

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TR: Boulder Creek Lakes, Trinity Alps

Postby millertime » Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:06 am

October 9th-11th 2011.
Canyon Creek > Boulder Creek Lakes.
Maps are at the bottom of the page http://www.summitpost.org/boulder-creek ... ail/373837

I finished training in the Air Force early October and you could say I was a little homesick after not seeing a mountain in 9 months. I took leave before reporting to my duty station and naturally the first thing I wanted to do was go backpacking. Not wanting to go to Tahoe or drive the 8 hours from Sac to the eastern sierra, we opted for the Trinity Alps which my friend had never visited, and I had been wanting to venture up Canyon Creek for some time.

Forecasts predicted light pm showers for the 10th which wouldn't bother us, projected to barely hit Redding. Accepting the possible interesting weather we headed up to Weaverville to get a permit and made for Canyon Creek road.

The hike up the east side of the Canyon was a breeze, and fall colors were on display.
_IGP6443.jpg


After a few miles the trail joins the canyon floor, passing by meadows and through groves of trees towering over us. I'm not sure what species of tree they were, as I'm not good with trees, but you can check my full album at the end and let me know. The recent snow was evident anywhere there was shade which flattened the grass in the meadows. The creek was higher than I expected, no doubt due to the snow the week prior.
_IGP6514.jpg


We made it to the intersection on which we needed to head east to head to Boulder Creek Lakes and shortly came to a creek crossing. Even with the snowmelt filling the creek, crossing was an easy task hoping rock to rock to the opposite bank. On the other side we followed the trail for some distance which disappeared into the snow. We quickly found some boot prints near were the trail vanished and being that there was only one destination they could be heading, we followed the tracks up boulder creek for a distance. I knew the trail up to the Boulder Creek Lakes hugged the northern slope above Boulder Creek, and these tracks started to head too south-west for my liking, so we broke of the tracks and headed north in search of the trail. Eventually we hit thick forest growth which continued up a hill which I was certain the trail would be climbing, so we stuck with it and climbed through the brush uphill and right when I was about to turn around to look for the trail at an easier spot we intersected it.

Finally back on track we began the climb up to Boulder Creek Lakes which would be no more than a mile. My buddy went into crossfit mode and started burning up the rarely if ever maintained trail at a blistering speed, leaving me in the dust. When I finished the ascent I found him chatting with a family of 5 or 6 who were exploring the lakes and had camp near the river crossing from earlier.

We searched the northern shore of the lake for a camp spot, but unable to find anything decent away from the lake that was not a pool of water, I had to break the rule and camp on right on the edge of the lake. After setting up camp in the late afternoon clouds had moved over the canyon, that wasn't supposed to happen yet! Whatever.
_IGP6616.jpg


We didn't do too much exploring and relaxed for the rest of the late afternoon and evening turning in for bed at around 7:30. At 1am I woke to the sound of rain hitting my tent. What was supposed to be "weak pm showers" on the 10th, barely reaching south as far Redding, turned into 1am to 4pm showers. After the trip I learned that the storm made it south past Sacramento for a good portion of the day. Later in the morning I woke to water rushing under my tent. I put my hardshell on and dug a small trench around my tent to divert the flow of water from the rock behind it.
_IGP6820.jpg


At 4pm after reading a good ways into my book, the rain dissipated and I set out to do some exploring around the lake. I first climbed the class 2 slope behind the lake, aiming to possibly make it up to forbidden lakes, but I never found the route and picked what looked like the best way up from what I could see. A good way up I could no longer continue as my route turned into slippery class 2/3 which I wasn't comfortable with, but I had a great view of Boulder Lakes so it was well worth it.
_IGP6950.jpg


I headed back down to explore the east and south shores of the lake
_IGP7311.jpg



After an hour and a half of exploration I returned to camp where we fixed dinner and turned in as soon as it turned dark. I woke the next morning to a foggy sunrise and snapped pictures while making breakfast and packing up camp.
_IGP7442.jpg



We hit the trail at 8:30, working our way through the fog back down Boulder Creek trail to the crossing at Canyon Creek. I knew there was a different crossing upstream a ways and attempted to scout it out but never found it assuming it was submerged. We crossed at our original spot, out of options which was difficult due to the fact that only the tips of the rocks in the creek were above the surface of the water. Getting halfway across the creek was no issue with care, but a few of the rocks were submerged. We would need to keep enough momentum to jump with each step to 3 consecutive rocks in order to make it to the bank without getting wet. Falling wouldn't be a big deal as it would be easy to land in the water on our feet, as this part of the creek was lower than the middle, reaching about only about foot in depth. Knowing it wouldn't be the end of the world and confident we wouldn't hurt ourselves (otherwise we would have walked upstream for miles to find something else), we each crossed successfully. When each of us crossed, due to having our packs on our back, we didn't have enough momentum to make our jump strategy work, and upon reaching the 3rd rock we had to jump to, each of us put a foot or two in the water. We emptied the water out of our boots and headed back to the intersection with the Canyon Creek trail.

Upon reaching the intersection it was about 10am and we opted to stash our packs and hike up to Canyon Creek lakes before heading out. This was a great choice as Canyon Creek was very impressive with the previous days rain melting the previous weeks snow, causing the waterfalls to be what I assume is very impressive for October.
_IGP7811.jpg

_IGP7720.jpg


The trail continued along the creek all the way up to Lower Canyon Creek Lake. I scouted out the only good stretch of shore I could find that had a good view across the lake and began snapping shots.
_IGP7880.jpg


After a few minutes at the late it was time to head back down the trail to find our packs back near the intersection and make our way to the trailhead. The day in the rain was kind of a bummer but the passing storm made for some photography opportunities which always outweigh any negative in a trip for me. This canyon makes for a great relaxing 2-4 night trip if you wanted to combine it with Canyon Creek Lakes,as it is gradual all the way up the canyon, and there is never a dull moment with the scenery along the way. The only taxing part was the climb up to Boulder Creek Lakes, and that was most likely due to the fact that I hadn't been hiking in 9 months.

Full album here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/17893090@N ... 241859381/



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Re: TR: Boulder Creek Lakes, Trinity Alps

Postby rlown » Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:17 am

nice TR! any fishing along the way?
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Re: TR: Boulder Creek Lakes, Trinity Alps

Postby millertime » Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:35 am

No fishing :( but that will be the last time I don't bring a pole. After the rain subsided and 20 hours in a tent on the 10th, fishing really would have hit the spot. I have a 5 piece pole that I need to replace the reel on which I forgot about before the trip; but I am curious what other members pack as far as a fishing gear when backpacking.
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Re: TR: Boulder Creek Lakes, Trinity Alps

Postby rlown » Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:38 am

millertime wrote: I am curious what other members pack as far as a fishing gear when backpacking.


check out viewtopic.php?f=6&t=4124

It all works well in Trinity, btw..
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Re: TR: Boulder Creek Lakes, Trinity Alps

Postby maverick » Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:45 pm

Wow two members with back to back great TR's from the Trinity Alps. Thank you
so much for taking the time to write up this great report and posting these great
pictures Millertime.
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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TR: Boulder Creek Lakes, Trinity Alps

Postby bheiser1 » Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:14 pm

Great report. I like the Trinity Alps a lot, but haven't seen the Boulder Creek area. Another one for my to-do list :)

Your pics were great too. It really looked wintry in several of them. I especially liked the shot of the lake with the clouds at the far end.

Thanks for sharing!
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