Trinity Alps Wilderness, California - August 5 to 8 2013

The Trinity Alps are a mountain range in Siskiyou and Trinity Counties in Northern California located to the northwest of Redding. The Trinity Alps Wilderness is the second largest wilderness area in California at 517,000 acres (the largest is Sequoia-Kings Canyon Wilderness; I do not include the Death Valley Wilderness because, while the majority of it is in California, a portion is in Nevada). The regions unique flora and natural history is described in "The Klamath Knot", written by David Rains Wallace.

Brian flew into SFO while Jim dropped into Sacramento to visit relatives. He showed up in The General (white) later that day. We got supplies, packed up, and drove off the next day. After dealing with bridge tolls and traffic, we eventually made it to Interstate 5 stopping for lunch at Los Lagos Market, a small grocery store that also sold tasty food in Williams. After lunch we headed north on I5 to Redding. We made a left at Redding onto Highway 299 and then turning right at Highway 3 ending up at Weaverville. After locating our motel, the 49er Gold Country Inn, we hiked down past the Weaverville Joss House (the oldest Chinese temple in California) to find dinner. Nearby was the site of the famous 1854 Tong War between two Chinese gangs/mining companies. We ate at La Grange and walked back to our motel. We later shopped at Tops Super Foods for food as I had forgotten our first nights meal in my refrigerator. That evening, Brian and Jim talked to some other motel guests about the engine in The General.

After a light breakfast, we took Highway 3 north about 30 miles to Swift Creek Road near Trinity Center. About 7 miles later, we had arrived at the trail head. We put our gear on and started to hike. Fairly soon we reached Swift Creek Gorge after about a mile, and then rapidly arrived at Swift Creek Bridge. This bridge is adjacent to a nice creek-side beach that makes for a great rest stop, but when we were there it had a few tents in it. We crossed the bridge and moved up onto the Granite Creek trail to hike through Granite Canyon. The 5 mile hike up to Granite Lake varied from old growth forests to open meadows (e.g. Gibson Meadow) with a few small stream crossings. Granite Lake is a beautiful lake surrounded by the white granite of Gibson Peak. I lagged behind eventually reaching base camp with some help from Brian. At this time, I seriously began to re-evaluate my hiking model and also wondered how bad my medicines were affecting my ability to hike.

We found a nice campsite nestled amongst the redwoods. We dined that evening with burritos made with tenderloin, a quite tasty meal. We did a small day hike above Granite Lake and explored the surrounding area. The next day we did a longer day hike to Seven Up Pass. Brian and Jim continued on for a bit along the trail to Seven Up Peak. We met two kind souls, and also Garret the volunteer Ranger. We had to pull a MacGyver, but everyone was happy that night. We also swam in Granite Lake using some nice new Texas trunks from Brian. The next morning we had Jagermeister and Red Bull, plus Hostess cupcakes for breakfast. We then packed up and hiked out. I was burping Red Bull all morning. Jim missed the cut-off to the trail head and was missing for a while, but he was located and we piled into the General for the next part of our Journey.

We headed back and got onto Highway 99 at Red Bluff on our way to Chico. We stopped at Julia's roadside fruit stand on the way for some tasty fruit. We eventually reached Chico, but somehow no one remembered where out motel was. We had planned to have it close to the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, but we had to search through the trunk to find the paper that had our hotel reservation. Tensions rose, especially when we discovered the motel (Rodeway Inn) did not appear to have a functional check-in manager or air conditioning. Eventually our concerns were resolved, and we made it to SNBC for dinner and beer (after a wait). That night, there was a long documentary about The Eagles on TV. The next day, we met one of Jim's cousins for breakfast at Moms (?), and did some shopping for SNBC gear before heading back to the SF Bay Area. The next day, Brian and Jim flew out back home.

The General and Brian at the trail head

Bridge up to Granite Lake

Meadow below Granite Lake

Day hike, below is Granite Lake

Drainage into Granite Lake

Looking above in the previous image

Closer to Granite Lake

On a day hike, above Granite Lake

Looking towards Mt Shasta

Jim on our day hike, collecting Rhagoletis sp.

Brian on our day hike

Jim washing up at Granite Lake

Mt Shasta, sans snow. This is shot from a ledge by our base camp that we would go to after dinner.

Granite Lake

Base camp Trinity

Jim, between base camp and Granite Lake

Looking down from the pass, drainage to Granite Lake

The other side of the pass, looking towards more Trinity Alps