Friday, July 29, 2011

1st Annual Church Backpacking Trip

This past January, Susanna and I led the first dayhike for the newly created church hiking club. That got me thinking about leading a backpacking trip up into the nearby Trinity Alps. It had been nearly 14 years since I had last led an organized backpacking trip. It was time to change that! On July 21st, seven hardy explorers from our church began a 3000' climb up into the Trinity Alps on Canyon Creek Trail. After 7 miles, we found a campsite on an "island" surrounded by flowing creeks and a thundering waterfall. We then day-hiked a short distance up to the stunning lakes in the upper drainage of Canyon Creek.

The following day, we re-traced our steps back out of the mountains. It was a big success and we are looking forward to leading another excursion next year!

North into Oregon

In mid-July, brother John and I escaped to the PCT for a 5-day, 82 mile backpacking trip which brought us well into Oregon. We began the journey in Seiad Valley, a tiny town in Northern California (this is also where we started our trip last year when we went south to Castle Crags), and ended at Green Springs Mountain along Highway 66 in Oregon. With the crazy amounts of snow that fell over the winter and spring, we still had many snow obstacles to get through. Most of these were on N and NE facing slopes. In some of the forests, we found snow to still be drifted to 5 feet high. This made for very interesting problems, as we lost the trail several times and had to rely on map, compass and good navigation skills.

On days 1, 4 and 5, we had beautiful sunny skies with occasional white, puffy clouds and temps in the 70's. Day 2 was mostly cloudy with temps in the low 60's and day 3 was mostly foggy with temps in the 50's! This was mostly a pleasant surprise as it was much more comfortable to hike.

Here are a few of the highlights:

Avoiding snowfields on Day 1

Echo Lake (Campsite #1)

Bearground Spring (Campsite #2)

On day 3, we happily entered Oregon!

Heading cross-country to avoid a HUGE snowfield covering the trail...the wildflowers were INCREDIBLE as we summited Observation Peak (7,340')

Lots of snow on the PCT!

On day 4, we left the Siskiyou Mountains and entered the Southern Cascades. This is Pilot Rock

Day 5 breakfast stop with a view. Hobart Bluff (above) and 82 miles later, this (below) is our destination!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Above the Lost Coast

In late June, we escaped for a weekend above the Lost Coast. We drove south to the Mattole River in King Range NCA. After a night of car-camping, we headed out on the trail on a foggy, windy morning. The trail brought us down to the coast, where we caught the Cooskie Creek Trail, which immediately begins an 800 foot climb in barely over half a mile. The fog soon turned to beautiful sunny weather. The trail then meanders through meadows and trees on it's way to Gorda 2, a 2,378 foot mountain. The views of the ocean way below were incredible!

After a long loop, we turned back toward the ocean and dropped to sea level, where we set up camp. The following day, we hiked out along the pounding surf under blue skies and a light breeze.

Our campsite near the Cooskie Spur Trail:

Sea Lions cover these rocks:
Classic "Lost Coast!"