We spent the weekend hiking the Stoney Ridge Trail in the Red Trinities. As expected, there was still plenty of snow. Sure it’s a drought year, but May 3rd is pretty damn early to be in the mountains. It made the trip more of an adventure.
After the first major climb, we planned on a series of passes on our way to and around the famed four lakes loop. On the third pass, with multiple more planned that day, we decided to skip out on the opportunity for more steep snow and drink whiskey by a fire instead.
Unsettled weather was forecasted on Sunday and it played out pretty much how expected it would. Low clouds made navigating the steep snow fields back over the passes interesting, but thankfully the fresh precipitation was barely a flurry. The limited visibility, and trail over snow in trail runners, made navigation one of the most fun parts of the hike.
It was a great weekend and nice to get out on a hard hike so early in the “summer” backpacking season. It reminded me of visiting Boundary Lake in Yosemite early last summer.
I solo’ed to Wilson Valley recently. After a light drizzle, hundreds of salamanders came out. There were so many that it was hard to walk without stepping on them. I spent a little time going up Jack Canyon and learned about various unmapped roads, routes and trails that I’d like to try in the area.
If my experience in canyon country is any indication, their trip in Mexico is going to be very hard. I can’t imagine many other people who’d be as prepared to take on this trip as they are.
I attended another wonderful hiker gathering last weekend. The size, format, venue and schedule of this ALDHA-W Gathering seemed just right. Not too big, not too small. Just a perfect weekend of slideshows and hanging out with really great people. You are some impressively strong, skilled and experienced hikers. Hot damn that’s a lot of walking. Thanks for being my friends.
After the Gathering, I spent the rest of the long weekend higher up in the hills. We lunched in Downieville, snacked in Sierra City, camped at Packer Lake (in a fall drizzle), and road tripped through the “lost Sierra”. Ambling around Truckee, Tahoe City, the lake, shopping for a SUP and exploring the Donner party’s history happened too.
I like backpacking in foul weather and rotten conditions. This weekend we were out in the Sierra’s largest September storm that I can remember.
The forecast was spot on. By early afternoon it was blowing sideways. A strong cold front blew late into the night, then crisp blue skies greeted us in the morning. We front-loaded the hiking, choosing to keep walking and do most of the miles on Saturday in the storm. Aiming for a lower, more protected lake was part of the goal. My four-season tent was a good choice.
With 6-8 inches covering the trail we set tracks on the seven miles to the trailhead.
I’d saved this loop for an off-peek period as it’s one of the most popular in the country. We nearly had it to ourselves.
I got to see the Rim Fire on the drive home. My primary feeling is that of disappointment, knowing that the burn extends across ridges and valleys far beyond the eye can see. I’m aiming to do a burn exploration and fungi hunting trip next spring.