Four Lakes Loop via Long Canyon in the Trinity Alps

Upper Siligo Meadow

Who: Just me!
What: Backpacking
When: 5/27/14-5/28/14
Where: Trinity Alps Wilderness
Mileage: 18 miles
Elevation gain/loss: +6000ft/-6000ft
More photos: here

My second solo trip ever! After last weekend’s mellow backcountry excursion, I was hankering for a beating to help me get in shape for the High Sierra Trail in August. I headed up to the Trinity Alps Wilderness with plans to hike up Long Canyon and do the Four Lakes Loop (again), camping at Summit Lake before looping around past Diamond, Luella, and Deer Lakes and then returning back via Long Canyon. I’ve hiked the Four Lakes Loop via Stoney Ridge before and I set out thinking that this would be simply a training trip, but I was pleasantly surprised to find peace, relaxation, and solitude as I hiked this rugged landscape. The mid-week post-Memorial Day start offered me plenty of alone time. At the trailhead, I met couple who were planning on doing the same loop over three instead of two days, and on my way up Long Canyon I encountered four people (two solo hikers and one couple) who were headed out. After I hiked over Bee Tree Gap, I didn’t see a soul until my car rejoined Highway 3 the next evening.

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Heather and Half Moon Lakes in Desolation Wilderness

Allie and Miranda enjoy the alpenglow on the Crystal Range at Heather Lake

Who: Allie, Miranda, Sarah, and me
What: Backpacking
When: 5/23/14-5/25/14
Where: Desolation Wilderness
Mileage: 13.5
Elevation gain/loss: +1700ft/-1700ft
More photos: here

A different kind of trip for me—short distances, not much elevation gain, and a lot of great company. We headed out the Glen Alpine Trailhead with plans to visit Lake Aloha and come back down the Tamarack Trail by Lily Lake, but got stopped by too much snow. Miranda and Sarah hadn’t backpacked all that much (lots of car camping though) and none of the three who accompanied me had really spent much time in the Sierra. I planned this introductory trip to maximize beauty and minimize effort, choosing Desolation Wilderness for its easy access to High Sierra scenery. Even though we didn’t make it all the way as planned, I still think this trip achieved its goals!

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Canyon Creek & Boulder Creek in the Trinity Alps

Who: Just me!
What: Backpacking
When: 5/9/14-5/11/14
Where: Trinity Alps Wilderness
Mileage: 23 miles
Elevation gain/loss: +3650ft/-3650ft
More photos: here

My very first solo backpacking trip—I was both a little nervous and quite excited as I bumped SWV and Justin Timberlake in the car on the drive up from Oakland. Free reign of the stereo? Check. I planned to visit the popular Canyon Creek drainage in the Trinity Alps Wilderness west of Mount Shasta, 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 were a part of a trail crew rolling heavy boulders around just below where the trail crosses Canyon Creek, but on Saturday it’d be a different story! The canyon was crawling with day hikers as I made my way down from Upper Canyon Creek Lake. Turning off onto the Boulder Creek trail cured this, though, and from Saturday afternoon into Sunday, I had the entire Boulder Creek drainage to myself—bliss!

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