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rubywrangler
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PostTue Jan 05, 2021 8:09 pm 
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After my housesitting gig of sorts ended and I dropped off my ballot in mid-October, I headed south in the cRV.  I spent a few days meandering down the Oregon coast, camping at some lovely OR state parks, and landed in Northern CA.  I spent a couple days hiking the Tall Trees grove at Redwoods NP (ok) and the James Irvine/Miners Ridge Loop at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park (incredible).


My first extended stop was the Trinity Alps, where nighttime temps were generally still warm enough that the statewide ban on backpacking stoves wouldn’t be a problem. I had been eyeing the Trinity Alps High Route for awhile after reading about it on Leor Pantilat's blog, but some recent reports scared me off.  Having never been in the Alps before, I decided to do some (mostly) on-trail exploring this time around. I picked up a delicious pizza from Tangle Blue Saloon in Weaverville and took it along for dinner on a 2 night trip to Canyon creek lakes, El lake, Kalmia lake, Boulder creek lakes, and Forbidden lake in the White Trinities (the western part). This area is among the most popular backpacks in the Alps but I only saw a handful of folks. The weather was ridiculous. 70s in the daytime, mid-high 40s at night, no clouds. From upper CC lake, there is a bootpath up to El. Then I followed a sometime-bootpath, sometime-deer path from El up to Kalmia lake, which was lovely. I read that this spot receives the most snow in CA, don't know if that's true.  A quick side trip to the saddle overlooking the upper Stuart Fork valley and 3 more lakes (Mirror, Emerald and Sapphire) was one of the highlights of the trip. I descended a pair of steep gullies west of Kalmia and picked up a way trail in the valley below Thompson Peak and Wedding cake.  Then headed back down past the CC lakes and up the much steeper and narrower trail to Boulder Creek lakes, a gorgeous spot. In the morning I followed cairns up slabby granite to Forbidden lake before hiking out.

lower canyon creek lake, wedding cake and thompson peak beyond
lower canyon creek lake, wedding cake and thompson peak beyond
looking up valley from the route to el lake
looking up valley from the route to el lake
canyon creek lakes
canyon creek lakes
El lake
El lake
breakfast companion
breakfast companion
off route to kalmia lake
off route to kalmia lake
canyon creek lakes from pt 7861
canyon creek lakes from pt 7861
caesar peak and mirror lake
caesar peak and mirror lake
mirror pass and n/ne ridge above el lake
mirror pass and n/ne ridge above el lake
kalmia lake
kalmia lake
view from descent gully
view from descent gully
almost to the valley
almost to the valley
heading back to upper canyon creek lake, sawtooth peak above
heading back to upper canyon creek lake, sawtooth peak above
sunrise on hilton
sunrise on hilton
sawtooth and little granite peak from boulder creek lakes
sawtooth and little granite peak from boulder creek lakes
heading up to forbidden lake
heading up to forbidden lake
boulder creek lakes
boulder creek lakes
boulder creek lake + hilton
boulder creek lake + hilton
boulder creek lakes
boulder creek lakes
sawtooth + boulder creek lake
sawtooth + boulder creek lake
looking up the trail to boulder creek lakes
looking up the trail to boulder creek lakes

The weekend looked cold and I was ready for a shower so I drove over the Alps on CA-3 to Etna. Awesome drive, incredibly scenic. Made a detour to the Russian Wilderness for a dayhike that had been recommended - the big blue loop aka 7 lakes loop, a mostly on trail and partially off trail side trip along the PCT. It was ok. Big blue lake was lovely but the rest of the loop was not as interesting.

big blue lake
big blue lake
big blue
big blue

After a couple days working from Etna, I headed back down CA-3 to the Alps for an overnight to the Red (eastern) Trinities- the four lakes loop via long canyon, with side trips to Siligo peak (8162') and pretty Lake Anna - on election day. Usually I stay up all night watching election returns but that seemed pointless this year so I skipped it - turned out to be a good decision. This is another very popular hike, but I had it all to myself. The Long Canyon trail climbs up to Bee Tree Gap, then over to Deer Pass where it intersects the 4LL. The loop circles Siligo and the best camping is at Diamond lake, which has views to Sawtooth peak and the rest of the white trinities. There is normally an infinity pool-effect but the water level was much lower than usual (this was the case for pretty much every lake I visited in California). On Wednesday I woke up very antsy for election results but couldn't get cell service anywhere on the loop trail.  By the time I got back to Bee Tree Gap and service around noon, it seemed like the election tide was already beginning to turn blue. Yay! On the way out I made the short side trip up a rocky gully to Lake Anna, which was totally worth it. My favorite lake on the trip.

gibson peak
gibson peak
bee tree gap
bee tree gap
deer lake and siligo peak
deer lake and siligo peak
summit lake
summit lake
siligo peak summit ridge
siligo peak summit ridge
diamond lake
diamond lake
diamond lake
diamond lake
cloudy sawtooth sunset
cloudy sawtooth sunset
dawn view from the tent
dawn view from the tent
sawtooth and diamond lake
sawtooth and diamond lake
luella lake
luella lake
siligo meadows
siligo meadows
lake anna
lake anna
lake anna
lake anna

On my last day in the trinities before the weather turned wintry, I dayhiked to granite lake. Very fancy campsites there. It was cloudy and breezy and I got snowed on briefly. Didn't stay long.


I thoroughly enjoyed my first trip(s) in the Alps and have already started planning my next one! Also the area around Trinity lake on CA-3 is a great place for car camping/caRVing.  I spent several nights there in between hikes as well as a couple nights at Whiskeytown NRA which nearly all burned in the Carr fire in 2018.  It is pretty mindblowing (and sad) to drive on Hwy 299 through Whiskeytown toward Redding.  But the lake is still pretty!


Next stop: Sierras
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flatsqwerl
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PostWed Jan 06, 2021 6:41 am 
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some pretty great hiking ideas here! up.gif
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timberghost
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PostWed Jan 06, 2021 7:06 am 
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Did you catch any fish?
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Gimpilator
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PostWed Jan 06, 2021 8:32 am 
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Very nice  up.gif  up.gif

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Keep climbing mountains and don't slip!
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geyer
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PostWed Jan 06, 2021 3:43 pm 
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drool
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reststep
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PostWed Jan 06, 2021 4:13 pm 
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That looks incredible. Thanks for sharing.

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"The mountains are calling and I must go." - John Muir
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Get Out and Go
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PostWed Jan 06, 2021 4:49 pm 
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Very nice.  I remember checking it out from above on a flight to San Francisco and thinking that looks like a nice place to hike.  A lot of the photos could pass for the Chelan/Sawtooth Wilderness; which is definitely not a bad thing.   smile.gif

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"These are the places you will find me hiding'...These are the places I will always go."
(Down in the Valley by The Head and The Heart)

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Half of me is ocean.  Half of me is sky."
(Thanks, Tom Petty)
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NWtrax
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PostThu Jan 07, 2021 1:34 pm 
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This area was on my radar a long time ago, it's back on now. Awesome! Thanks so much for the report.  smile.gif
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rubywrangler
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PostThu Jan 07, 2021 3:28 pm 
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Thanks all - it's definitely worth a trip, especially with the mild fall weather in the area. Summer must be blazingly hot though!

I don't fish and didn't see anyone else fishing the lakes, but did notice a large population of some kind of trout at Diamond lake.  Seemed to be lots of folks fishing the Trinity River.
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benneke
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PostTue Jan 12, 2021 10:25 am 
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Used to live in that area, you hit a lot of the highlights. You were there at the best time of year
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NorDub
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PostTue Jan 12, 2021 4:33 pm 
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Wow, this is stunning.

Quote:
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostWed Jan 13, 2021 5:47 pm 
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Looks fantastic.  I spent a little bit of time in the Trinity Alps, looks like I need to spend some more.  up.gif
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > trinity alps trips 10.29 - 11.6.20
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