trinity alps wilderness

This weekend six of us went backpacking in the Trinity Alps Wilderness. I had already been here once before, so I know it’s a pretty special place. Typically I don’t like to go backpacking to a place where I’ve been before, and although I knew it’s a pretty amazing place, I was kind of wary about returning, because it’s such a long drive to get there. But after this weekend I found the Trinity Alps area to be even more incredible than I remember, and I am looking forward to returning and exploring even more of the wilderness.

There was a pretty big age range in this group, from less than twenty to more than fifty, with some veteran backpackers and some relative newbies.

We arrived at the trailhead really late at night– past two in the morning, so we slept in the parking area. Since my tent is really quick to setup, I slept in the parking area behind the wilderness signs. The rest of the guys slept in the van.

In the morning we started our trek into the wilderness. The hike starts at the end of a long heavily forested valley. The trail is cut into the side of the valley.

After a couple of miles the trail starts climbing up granite. This area is similar to some of the trails in Yosemite, with steps cut out of stone.

At about mile three you hit this area called “the sinks.” It’s a small waterfall with a beautiful emerald colored pool in front of it.

Our campsite was only about five miles in, so we got into camp pretty early.

Since we got into camp so early, I decided to do a day hike on my own towards Boulder Creek Lake.

I didn’t realize that it would be a pretty major hike. You basically have to get over this wall. You don’t go straight over it, but off to the right side. The trail is pretty steep and overgrown with bushes, so you’re basically bushwhacking the whole way. My legs got pretty scratched up.

I made it to Boulder Creek Lake. It’s nice, but not as nice as some of the other lakes in the area, and it’s much harder to get to. I guess it’s nice because it’s secluded. The serious backpackers come up here to get away from the crowds.

The next morning I took the young guys out to a day hike towards Canyon Creek Lakes. This rock is pretty cool, from here you can see way out to the end of the valley that we hiked through the day before.

There are several waterfalls on the way to Canyon Creek Lakes.

You can scramble up to the side or even top of most of the waterfalls.

We made it to Lower Canyon Creek Lake pretty quickly. The water was warm enough to wade and even swim in.

My new best friend. His name was Cusco. He plopped himself down at my feet.

We continued on towards the Upper Canyon Creek Lake, but stopped when we saw these guys cliff diving. I’m almost always down to cliff dive, as long as it’s safe to do so. There’s something that’s so exhilarating about jumping thirty feet off a big rock into water. One second you’re standing on the edge with your knees shaking, the next second you’re in the air thinking, “Oh sh******!!!!” and then the next thing you know you’re in cold water paddling up to the surface.

They looked like they were having a blast, so we decided to join them.

Here’s my big splash. Thanks go to Nate for capturing it on video.

Our original plan was to camp another night, leaving on Monday, but we decided to head back early, trying to beat the Labor Day traffic. The hike out of the valley felt incredibly long. Like usual we rewarded ourselves with dinner buffet at an Indian casino on our way back home.

Things I’m thankful for:

  • Amazing scenery
  • Good backpacking buddies
  • Places to cliff dive safely

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