Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Trinity Alps Wilderness

View from the Top by Wayne-K
View from the Top, a photo by Wayne-K on Flickr.

Patrick, Lyn, and I spent four days and four nights backpacking in the Trinity Alps Wilderness. We departed Pleasanton at 2 PM on Wednesday and headed North, with the intent of beating traffic and avoiding the backpacking crowds. After dropping off our wilderness permit at the Weaverville ranger station, we headed to the Stuart Fork Bridge Camp to spend the night.

We started the actual backpacking on Thursday morning, hiking the Stuart Fork Trail to Morris Meadow. We spent the night next to the creek in a wonderful, Hilton-like site. One of the benefits of starting a trip mid-week is the lack of people – and the abundance of serenity. On Friday morning, we packed up our gear and headed further into the wilderness, past Portuguese Camp to a nice, isolated spot along the creek. We camped near the trail junction to the Caribou Scramble, our goal for the next day.

We rose at 6 AM on Saturday, with plans to tackle the Caribou Scramble before the heat of the day. The weather during our trip was toasty, about 90-100 degrees during the days, and we didn’t want to get broiled on the exposed mountain. We departed camp just after 7 AM and headed up the scramble. The air was thick with smoke, apparently from a fire in the region (we would later learn there was a fire near Clear Lake). The fog created some nice sun-rays as the sun rose over the Sawtooth Ridge and I was happy to capture a few pictures of it. We enjoyed a brief brunch of trailmix and granola bars on the top of the mountain and headed down before it got too hot. One thing to note is the term “scramble” was a bit of an exaggeration. The “scramble” was really a well graded trail and while the 90 switch backs (we counted) were plentiful, it was nothing like a true scramble. Anyway, upon returning to our camp, we packed up our gear and headed down the trail for a few miles. We stopped at a wonderful site at Morris Meadow, next to the creek.

On Sunday, we packed up our gear for our final day and hiked seven miles back to the trailhead. After a quick “bath” using the water spigot at the campground, we changed into clean clothes, enjoyed a quick beer, and headed out. We stopped off at the La Grange CafĂ© in Weaverville for lunch. We wanted to support a local establishment and we were rewarded with great burgers. After four days of oatmeal, granola bars, trailmix, and dehydrated food, the large burger was a bit of a shock to the system, sending me into a mild food coma. Fortunately, I survived and was able to complete the 4.5-5 hour drive back to Pleasanton.

Here are a few photos from our trip.

Sunrise over the Sawtooth

7/52 - Morris Meadow

View from the Meadow


Sawtooth Ridge

Lakes in the Distance

Trinity Alps Wilderness

Cooling Off

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