Nick's Outdoor Adventures

An Informal Guide to California Backpacking & Kayaking

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Lassen Volcanic National Park

Dates: February 21-22, 2015
Duration: 2 days, 1 night
Mileage: ~9.5 miles
Group Members: Nick McGuire, Molly Kovalek
Pack Weights: Nick (~50+ lbs), Molly (~35 lbs)
Contacts: Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center - Southwest Park Entrance, Hwy 89  (530)-595-4480
Notes: $10 7-day parking pass and Wilderness Permit (free) obtained from the Visitor Center. 

Outbound Travel:
Davis, CA to Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center = ~2.5 hours; Left Davis ~8:30AM

Day 1: (~4.3 miles) Left the Lassen Nat. Park visitor center (Elevation: ~6700 ft) at 12:30M and snowshoed up the road (Hwy 89) for a couple miles before taking the Ranger Cutoff.   The cutoff was steeper than I remembered from 2009 but saves quite a bit of distance.  Probably could have gotten away without wearing snowshoes as the snow was pretty firm in most areas but they helped with some of the steep slopes on the cutoff. We then reconnected with the main road (2:15 PM) before taking a small but very steep shortcut to bypass one of the road switchbacks.  Took one more shortcut to bypass the road section that swings towards Emerald Lake to head straight to Lake Helen which we reached around 3:30PM (~3 hrs).  The approach for the most part was very warm (only wore shorts, shell pants & a t-shirt) but it got very windy and cold only a few hundred feet from Lake Helen that required us to stop and put gloves and jackets on.  Set up base camp (Elevation: ~8200 ft)  near some trees just west of the lake and dug into a hillside to make a tent platform and a small kitchen area.  Made dinner, melted snow for water (brought 2 Jetboils) and stayed up to watch the stars for a while.  Wind was intermittent but not too bad given we were sheltered by some trees and a short ridge to our east between us an the lake (wind was coming from the northeast).  Went to bed ~8AM - wind definitely picked up during the night and was gusting pretty heavily at times but the tent was anchored well and didn't move much at all.  Had most of the vents open in the tent but it got really cold at night (may have dropped into the teen's - wore long underwear tops & bottoms, fleece pants and jacket, used sleeping bag liner and did not have the bag vented at all - still slightly cold) so I partially closed the one in the rear door as it was letting some of the wind in.  Molly had a -15 deg bag rented from OA which was definitely necessary, even with all our clothing layers. 

Day 2: (~5.1 miles)  Woke up a little after 7AM but stayed in the tent till after 8AM because of the cold and wind.  Eventually ventured outside after the sun came up more and the wind had subsided a bit.  Made breakfast and melted more snow for water.  Hiked across Lake Helen to the eastern shore to glissade down the tall slope that leads up to the road.  Broke camp and packed up, leaving by about 1:10PM.  Put crampons on because the snow was pretty hard in a lot of areas, especially in the shade.  The weather was still a bit windy and chilly (wore long underwear underneath shell pants for the whole hike and rain shell top over a t-shirt) for the hike down.  Decided to stay on the road instead of taking the Ranger Cutoff.  A large area of the road was melted out on one of the south facing slopes so we took our crampons off and just hiked in our boots.  Reached the southern turnoff for the Ranger Cutoff around 2:45PM.  Made it back down to the visitor center by 3:25PM.  

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Tahoe National Forest - American River / Mudford Bar Trail

Dates: November 2-3, 2013
Duration: 2 days, 1 night
Mileage: ~9.8 miles
Group Members: Nick McGuire, Amanda Eberle
Pack Weights: Between 25 & 30 lbs
Notes: Pleasant weather.  Slight chance of rain but never came.  Snow on the ground in only one shadowed location about a mile from the trailhead.  
GPS Route Map Available!


Outbound Travel:

Davis, CA to American River Ranger Station (Foresthill) = 70 minutes
Ranger Station to Mumford Bar Trailhead Parking = 25 minutes

Day 1: (~6.1 miles) Mumford Bar Trailhead to American River Trail
Left trailhead parking lot / campground at 10:55AM and headed along Mumford Bar trail.  Trail was pretty decent at first but lots of downed trees and very over grown in sections as we got closer to the river.  Just before reaching the river the trail was hard to follow due to all of the downed trees and brambles but we were able to make it to the river / Mumford Bar around 12:30AM.  Had lunch along the river (drop to river is rather steep).  Continued along American River Trail, quickly passing the cabin situated not far from Mumford Bar.  Trail eventually became very hard to follow and we had to navigate around very brushy sections before trying to meet back up with the trail.  Eventually decided to turn back and camp along the river about a quarter mile east of Mumford Bar in the region where the trail was closest to the river and where there was evidence of previous camping, likely by kayakers.  Spent the afternoon exploring the river around the campsite and making dinner.   

Day 2: (~3.7 miles)
Left the campsite around 9:30AM and reached Mumford Cabin about 15 minutes later.  Continued our hike out and reached the parking lot at the trailhead around noon.

Tahoe National Forest - 5 Lakes Basin

Dates: August 18-19, 2012
Duration: 2 days, 1 night
Mileage: ~8.3 miles
Group Members: Nick McGuire, Amanda Eberle, Michael Ahlmann, Marybeth Ahlmann
Pack Weights: Between 15 & 40 lbs
Notes:  Stopped at the CAL Fire station in Colfax (opens at 8AM on Saturday) to get a campfire permit.  The guys there were super friendly and gave us permits good through mid-2014 which was quite generous.   Grouse Ridge road was in pretty good condition; no need for 4WD and we saw some cars out at the campground...quite a few cars parked at the trailhead and a few people camping.  Overcast but pleasant with forecast of 20% chance of thunderstorms temperatures in the low 70s during the day and high 50s at night.  Rained a bit on the hike in but clear skies the rest of the day.  Light rain very briefly at night once.  

Outbound Travel:
Folsom, CA to Colfax CDF Station = 45 minutes
Colfax CDF Station to Bowman Rd = 45 minutes
Bowman Rd to Grouse Ridge Trailhead = 30 minutes

Day 1: (~ 4.5 miles)  
Grouse Ridge Campground/Trailhead to Five Lakes Basin
Left the trailhead around 10AM.  Headed out towards Glacier Lake and the 5 Lakes Basin via the same trails in the Summer 2008 trip.  Followed Trail 13E28 from trailhead to 13E13 to Glacier Lake and then 13E50 to Five Lakes Basin.  Trail somewhat disappears after heading north to the first set of lakes north of Glacier Lake.  At the south end of the first big one we headed off trail to the North-East to head down into the basin and attempt to make camp at the same campground I'd found back in 2008.  Arrived at 12:15 PM and luckily no one was camped there and we were able to setup camp.  Some mosquitoes on the hike in before Glacier Lake but none in this area.  Relaxed all afternoon (Mike & MB fished without any luck).  Large dead tree I had photographed in 2008 had fallen down.  Someone has also placed a large tuperware container with a log for the campsite, a few trinkets and a deck of cards that has seen better days due to some water damage.  

Day 2: (~ 3.8 miles) Five Lakes Basin to Grouse Ridge Trailhead (via Sand Ridge)
Woke up around 7AM and left camp by about 8:30AM.  Headed west from the campsite to the north end of the lake where we had headed off trail the day before.  Skirted its northern edge and followed its western shore to the south until almost reached its south end.  Just before that there are some woods with some campsites where is where you can pick up the trail to Sand Ridge.  Hiked back to the trailhead via Sand Ridge (shorter and very scenic but obviously more exposed) which made for a nice loop.  

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Desolation Wilderness (Brown Mountain Trip)

Dates: August 13-14, 2011
Duration: 2 days, 1 night
Mileage: ~XX  miles
Group Members: Nick McGuire, Amanda Eberle
Pack Weights:
Nick (~32 lbs)
Contacts: Pacific Ranger District - 7887 Highway 50, Pollock Pines, CA 95726  (530)-644-2349
Notes: Single night weekend trip up to the Desolation Wilderness.  Figured we would try a new area so we headed up to Loon Lake and set our sights on an unnamed lake in the remote Zone 5 (Brown Mountain) without any trails.  Reserved a permit online for the first time at http://www.recreation.gov/
Route Map Available!

Outbound Travel
: Left  Davis at 7:30AM.  Reached the Ice House Rd turnoff at ~8:45AM and parked in the Wilderness Parking Lot (free) at Loon Lake Campground at 9:30AM.

Day 1: Left the Wilderness Parking Lot at Loon Lake around 9:45AM heading east on the main trail towards Spider Lake and the entrance into Desolation Wilderness.  The trail conditions website had said (as of 7/9/11) that there was snow in Zone 1 (Rockbound Lake) but that the trail was free of snow.  The conditions for Zone 5 were unknown with the possibility of snow.  There was no snow in sight anywhere that we could see except for the tallest distant peaks to the south which had patchy snow on the north side.  We stopped for lunch along side Buck Island Lake a little after noon and reached the Wilderness Boundary sign at 12:45PM.  We continued along the main trail along side Rockbound Lake until we reached the creek crossing that feeds its South end.  Just before we reached it we ran into a small troop of rangers on patrol, showed them our permit and discussed our plans before moving on.  Since our destination goal was a small unammed lake at the source of the creek we figured we would attempt to use the creek as a handrail to make the cross-country trip up to it.  As we feared the terrain closest to the creek was rather wooded and brushy making route-finding difficult.  By staying a short distance away from the creek to the North we were able to slowly pick our way up the hillside through less dense forest and brush although there were a couple spots that were a bit challenging.  We eventually made it up to flatter terrain that had more granite slabs than trees and were able to reconnect with the creek.  We hiked along it for a ways, meandering back and forth, losing it at times navigating through patchy forests and around marshes.  After several hours with no lake in sight (although the terrain and landmarks indicated we must be close) we decided to climb up a small bluff that would give us a better vantage of the area.  Partway up we finally spotted the lake, which we had gone past, likely due to the fact that the creek coming out of the lake was dried up and instead the main creek we had been following was being supplied by runoff from higher up.  We made are way down to the creek, hiked halfway around the lake and found a couple trees to set up our hammock around 3:30PM.  The location wasn't perfect, more brush than granite, but was the best we could find.  No signs of anyone around.  Ate dinner and went to bed around 8PM.  Mosquitos pretty bad around 8PM by the lake although we had already encountered a lot along Loon Lake in the shady wooded areas and our hike up along the creek. 

Day 2: Woke up around 7:00AM and had breakfast.  Broke camp and head out just after 8AM.  We knew from the previous day that the region north of the creek alongside Rockbound Lake looked less brushy and not too steep so we figured we could head almost straight down to the lake.  We were able to successfully navigate towards a long crest of rock blocking most of our view of the lake and headed down a slot to its north-west.  With a clear view of the lake and the terrain ahead we were able to make almost a straight-shot all the way back to the main trail along the mid-point of Rockbound Lake.  The terrain here was mostly granite slabs and low brush so it was much easier going and were were able to make it down in only 50 minutes (8:55AM).  Right as we stepped back onto the trail we ran into the same ranger who had checked our permit the previous day and shared our experiences with him.  He and his troop had been patrolling the campsites around Rockbound Lake sighting a lot of campfire violations.  Continued heading out on the main trail reaching the Wilderness boundary at 9:05AM, turnoff for Spider Lake at 10AM and finally the parking lot at 11:40AM. 

Home-bound TravelLeft the trailhead parking lot around 11:50AM and made it home sometime a bit before 2:30.  Bad traffic in Placerville per usual at the 3 sets of stop lights. 

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The Lost Coast - Mattole Campground to Shelter Cove (One way)

Dates: August 20-21, 2010
Duration: 2 days, 1 night
Mileage: ~24 miles
Group Members: Nick McGuire, Amanda Eberle, Michael Ahlmann
Pack Weights: Unknown
Notes:  Planned on doing around 8 miles a day over 3 days but ended up finishing the route on the second day so we only spent one night instead of the two originally planned.  Weather was overcast but very mild (not too hot and definitely not cold....no wind which was very nice)

Day 1: (~ 6 miles)  Left Mattole Campground around 2PM and planned on going down to Randall Creek, just outside the second "impassible" zone.  Made it ~3.2 miles to the light house around 3:10PM before continuing on.  Reached the Cooskie Trailhead turnoff and noticed that the Lost Coast Trail route sign had been modified and had you continue along the bluff above the beach instead of going down to the beach through the gate by the run-down cabin.  Hiked quite a ways and thought we made it to Randall Creek.  The tide was coming up at this point and just before we got to the creek (that we thought was Randall) there was one sketchy spot where the tide was up against a rock outcropping that we had to run around between the waves which wasn't super safe.  The creek is right afterwards though so we were able to stop there for the night. around 5PM  It was the same creek that we camped at during our 2008 trip, which I have written down as Cooskie, which was my first clue that we may not be at Randall. 

Day 2: (~ 18 miles) Left what we thought was Randall Creek around7:45AM and quickly realized there was a long section that was still pseudo impassible (tide was coming in and there wasn't a lot of beach left).   It wasn't and issue till we got to another rock outcropping that the water was crashing against that we had to run around between waves.   After we made it around that outcropping we got to a creek and the trail went up on a bluff above the beach to avoid a treacherous stretch along the shore.  Given how far we had come that morning to get to this point we realized that we had actually camped at Cooskie Creek, traveled through the rest of the second impassible section that morning, and had just reached Randall creek where the impassible section ended (hence why the trail now left the beach for the safety of the bluffs).  Reached Spanish Ridge TH at 9:30AM, Kinsey Ridge TH at 10AM (15 min break), Etter Cabin at 10:35, Hadley Creek at 11PM (10 min break), Rattlesnake TH at 12:10PM, Big Flat Creek at 12:25PM (lunch break till 1:10PM), and Black Sands Beach / Shelter Cove at 5:40PM.  The final impassible zone wasn't an issue because the tide was going out.  Overall the tides were much more of an issue this year although I don't know whether its a time-of-year specific or something about this year.

Outbound Travel:
Black Sands Beach to Ranger Station = 17 minutes
Black Sands Beach to Ettersburg Rd turnoff = 22 minutes
Black Sands Beach to Honeydew = 1 hour
Black Sands Beach to Mattole Trailhead = 1 hour 32 minutes
Mattole Trailhead to Hwy 101 = 1 hour 20 minutes
Mattole Trailhead to Davis = 5 hours 35 minutes


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Mt. Shasta (Summit - Hotlum-Bolam Route)

Dates: August 6-8, 2010
Duration: 3 days, 2 nights
Mileage: TBD
Group Members: Nick McGuire, 3 clients, and 2 Shasta Mountain Guides (Victor and Brian)
Pack Weights: Unknown (varied each day)
Notes:
First trip on the North side of the mountain....awesome weather, awesome conditions and the whole side of the mountain to ourselves the first two days.
Route Map Available!

Day 1: (~2000 ft ascent, ~XX miles)

 
Day 2
: (~4300 ft ascent, ~XX miles)

Day 3
: (~2000 ft descent, ~XX miles)  

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Desolation Wilderness (Pyramid Lake Trip #2)

Dates: July 17-18, 2010
Duration: 2 days, 1 night
Mileage: ~??  miles
Group Members: Nick McGuire, Amanda Eberle
Pack Weights:
Nick (~27 lbs)
Contacts: Pacific Ranger District - 7887 Highway 50, Pollock Pines, CA 95726  (530)-644-2349
Notes: Pacific Ranger District office opens at 7AM during the summer.  Decided to go ultralight since we were just going for one night and the daytime temperatures were supposed to be in the mid-70s and night time lows in the mid-50s.  Took the hammock, one sleeping bag and liner, and one sleeping pad. 
Route Map Available!

Outbound Travel
: Left Davis around 6:00AM and headed for the Pacific Ranger station just east of Pollock Pines.  Got there about 5 minutes after 7AM and picked up our wilderness permit and parking pass.  There was a line of around 4-5 people in front of us and we had to wait a little bit but still had no problem getting a walk-in permit for the Waca Zone.  Parking lot had a handfull of cars in it when we got to the Twin Bridges parking lot.  

Day 1: Left the Pyramid Creek trailhead  around 8:00AM and followed the path along the creek up to the base of the Horsetail falls.  Remember to stay low along the creek and go through the forest along the approach rather than getting to high and ending up too far off to the west before getting to the base of the falls.   Reached the top just after 9:30AM and proceeded North-North West towards Ropi Lake. Skirted the lake shore between Osma and Toem Lake before heading North along the western shore of Toem Lake and climbing up in elevation to the base of Gefo Lake.  Ran into two guys camping along the western shores of Toem lake by the tall rock cliffs people use for jumping into the lake. Continued climbing north towards Pyramid and stopped for lunch along the western shore where the main creek enters at the north-west corner.  Lots of mosquitos!  Crossed the creek and set up camp in the trees on the northern shore of the creek very near where we had camped last year.  Left camp a little after 12PM and head east up towards Pyramid Peak to explore all the waterfalls along the creek.  Made it up to around 9000 feet in the bowl below Pyramid peak where there's a small lake which still had ice floating in it.  Headed back down to camp around 2PM to hang out by the lake and consider swimming.  The water in Pyramid Lake was very cold and the streams were freezing but there was one portion of the lake that was slightly isolated that had much warmer water which we waded in for a bit.  Relaxed around camp and set up a bear hang on the opposite side of the creek before making dinner...mosquitos started coming out again though. Decided to retreat inside the mosquito-netted hammock around 8PM even thought it was still not dark yet.  Only saw a couple people in the distance while at the campsite and two more people hiking through around dinner time.  Weather was nice, slightly breezy.  Got a little colder at night but i was comfortable in shorts and a long sleeve thermal ontop of the sleeping pad and with part of the sleeping bag underneath.  Amanda got cold because the pad slipped out from under her...definitely need to have something underneath you in the hammock.  

Day 2: Woke up around 7:30AM and made breakfast after taking down the bear hang.  Cleaned up camp a bit and then decided to pack up since the mosquitos were pretty bad.  Left camp around 8:30AM and head back the way we had come in. Didn't run into people till Horsetial falls although there were some peole camped near Gefo Lake.  Finally was able to follow the green and yellow spray paint markings the entire way down the rocky slope.  The route they chose probably wasn't the best but it is reasonable and leads you to an important final waypoint.  The primary landmark to head for is the massive dead tree midway down the slope that towers over everything in the area and is the site of the last spraypaint markings that I've found.  At this point you need to choose whether you go right (West) and head down the "tree-ladder" or the rock crevices along side it (which is what we did) or go left down the sketchy steep section of granite closer to the edge of the falls.  Saw some people also climb up the middle between the two routes but it was hard to tell how safe it would be to downclimb it.   Continued our decent and stopped at one of the big swimming holes along the creek for lucnh around 11:30.  Reached the parking lot around 12PM.  Not as many people on the trail as last June but still a decent number at this time.

Home-bound Travel:  Left the Pyramid Creek (Twin Bridges) parking lot around 12:15 PM.  Parking lot was full at this time with lots of cars parked pseudo-illegally around the edges and center of the lot.  Stuck behind some slow cars and at the three ridiculous stoplights in Placerville but made it back to Davis around 2:00 PM. 
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Desolation Wilderness (Half Moon Lake Trip)

Dates: August 22-23, 2009
Duration: 2 days, 1 night
Mileage: ~16  miles
Group Members: Nick McGuire, Amanda Eberle
Pack Weights:
Nick (~30+ lbs)
Contacts: Pacific Ranger District - 7887 Highway 50, Pollock Pines, CA 95726  (530)-644-2349
Notes: Single night weekend trip up to the Desolation Wilderness.  30% chance of thunderstorms forecasted but we decided to go anyway and just prepared accordingly.  I'd never been in to Desolation from an East-side entrance so we decided to try out the trailhead near Mt. Tallac. 
Route Map Available!

Outbound Travel
: Left  Davis around 6:30AM and headed for the Pacific Ranger station just east of Pollock Pines.  Got there about 30 minutes to 8AM, which is when they were supposed to open but apparently their hours had changed at the beginning of the month so they had actually opened at 7AM.  Permits available for most of the eastern zones except for around Middle Velma Lake. 

Day 1: Left the Mt. Tallac trailhead (~6430 ft in elevation) around 9AM...parking lot was already decently full and lots of day-hikers heading out.  Headed out on the main trail and reached the first trail junction (2.1 miles from the trailhead) near Cathedral Lake that cuts over to Fallen Leaf Lake around 10AM.  Continued on to the small but pretty Cathedral lake and stopped for a quick break.  Continued on climbing up the steep slopes to the south-east of Mt. Tallac till we finally reached the turnoff for the summit just before noon.  Its only a 0.2 mile diversion to the top but the extra 235 ft climb required to get up there didn't really interest either of us at this point.  Started descending towards Gilmore lake which we finally reached around 12:45PM.  Very pretty and rather large lake with lots of campsites but its close to the trail so not a lot of privacy on the south side.  Stopped for lunch for a bit and then continued south to meet up with the PCT and then the turn off for Half Moon Lake.  There are numerous trails leading away from Gilmore Lake because of people wandering around looking for campsites and exploring so make sure you take the main one that meets up with the PCT in a tenth of a mile.  Lots of people in this area but once we headed down the trail towards Half Moon Lake we were by ourselves.  Reached Half Moon lake around 2:30 PM and rather than following the trail around the north side of the lake we decided to skirt its south side to look for a campsite.  Some people were camped on the south east edge so we continued towards the western edge and found a nice campsite a little past midway along the south shore.  It was decently developed but probably violated the "camp 100ft from water rule".  Spent the next few hours rigging up the hammock and building a tarp shelter over it in preperation for the forecasted rain, which now looked possible since the scorching heat of earlier in the day had now given way to darker clouds and a breezy overcast sky.  Purified some water, made mashed potatoes for dinner and went to be a little after sunset.  The wind started to pick up quite a bit not long after and sometime in the night, probably around 10 or 11PM it started to rain off and on through the rest of the night.   

Day 2: Woke up around
7:30AM.  Still raining off and on but the wind had died down.  The tarp had kept us completely dry during the night so we were both thrilled.  The rain let up so we decided to get up, make breakfast and begin breaking camp.  We were both bummed about leaving the lake never having swam in it even though the water was pretty warm but the wind and the rain definitely prevented any attempts.  Left camp just after 9AM and started back to the trailhead.  We both decided that taking the trail all the way back up to Mt. Tallac just to have to decend again was stupid so when we go tto Gilmore lake we plotted a due East compass bearing in hopes of meeting up with the trail again somewhere below Mt. Tallac.  There appeared to already be a trail though that did this leaving Gilmore Lake so we followed that for around half a mile before deciding that it was heading a little too far south so we broke off from the trail and went cross-country for another half a mile or so till we met up with the main trail again.  Our route probably cut down our distance by over a mile and saved us from a 1000+ ft ascent.  Continued back along the main trail, stopping for lunch at Cathedral Lake before making it back to the parking lot just after 1PM.  

Home-bound TravelLeft the trailhead parking lot probably around 1:30PM.  Random traffic on Hwy 50 slowed our progress down pretty severely, although there wasn't any traffic at the two terrible lights in Placerville.  Got back to Davis around 4ish. 

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Trinity Alps Wilderness (Four Lakes Loop)

Dates: August 7-9, 2009
Duration: 3 days, 2 night
Mileage: ~24  miles
Group Members: Nick McGuire, Amanda Eberle
Pack Weights:
Unknown
Contacts: Pacific Ranger District - 7887 Highway 50, Pollock Pines, CA 95726  (530)-644-2349
Notes: Found this route online through a Google book on the Trinity Alps and it is also referenced on SummitPost.org
Route Map Available!

Outbound Travel
: Left Davis Thursday evening and went up north to Cottonwood, CA and spent the night at my grandparents house.  Left their place mid-morning and were at the Stoney Ridge Trailhead around noon....easy to find and the dirt road is in pretty good condition...high clearance and 4wd not required, at least at this time of year.  Construction on Hwy 299 delayed us for at least 30 minutes.

Day 1: Left the Stoney Ridge Trailhead around 12:25PM; The weather was slightly overcast but was forecasted to improve over the course of the weekend.  Pretty straight forward hiking for the next several hours although its pretty much constant uphill although not a severe incline.  Trail isn't very scenic at the beginning but goes through some pretty forests and meadows.  Continue climbing up to Stonewall Pass which is the first spot with truly impressive views of the area.  Reached a small pond near Echo Lake, which as sign on a tree informs you is several hundred yards away to the East, around 4PM.  One group apparently camping here who had come in from the same trailhead we had started out yet but we did not check out their campsite.  Continued on for a ways and climbed up Little Stonewall Pass and then Deer Creek Pass  which affords you spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, Siligo Peak in particular, and Deer Lake below.  Between Little Stonewall Pass and Deer Creek Pass are some phenominal meadows, including Siligo Meadow, which we noted as a potential campsite for the following night.  We then began the loop part of the 4 Lakes Loop Route going clockwise towards Summit Lake which we reached around 6PM where another set of campsites was supposed to be located on the Western shore.  Trekked down to the lake only to find that all the campsite had been taken.  We decided to hike back up to the main trail and gamble that the next lake, Diamond Lake, which was about a mile further, would have an open campsite although it was rumored to only have one good one.  Reached Diamond Lake just over 30 minutes later and luckily our gamble paid off and no one was at the one good campsite which is decently well developed (2 tent spots and a fire ring under a large white fir tree).  Set up camp (which included stringing up my backpacking hammock from two small trees near the lake), collected firewood and made dinner.  Beautiful view of the Trinities to the West.  Much prettier spot in my opinion than Summit Lake so we were very glad we had moved on and gambled on the campsite at Diamond Lake. 
 
Day 2: Slept in for once, made breakfast and left camp around 11:15AM.  Good nights sleep in the hammock and no bugs or dew to speak of.  Reached the grassy saddle on the north-side of Siligo Peak that looks down on Luella Lake around 11:45AM.  Decided that we had plenty of time so we climbed up Siligo Peak from the this side (there is actually a trail on the other side opposite Summit Lake).  Though there is no trail, the climb is pretty straight-forward although steep and rocky in places (we left our packs at the bottom and just took the tops of them).  Got to the top of the peak, or at least the highest point we felt like climbing to on the north side, around 12:45 PM.  At lunch at the top before descending the way we had come up.  Continued on the loop passing by Luella Lake and Round Lake before finally reaching Deer Lake around 4PM.  Stopped to swim but decided to just put our feet in instead since it was breezy and slightly chilly although we had been super hot earlier climbing up from the valley below.  Continued on back up Deer Creek Pass towards Siligo Meadows which we reached around 5:30PM.  Explored the area a bit and decided on a campsite a few hundred yards off the trail to the East on the opposite side of the meadow near a small multi-teered set of tiny waterfalls formed by the meadow drainage.  Campsite was not developed but had been used before given the presence of small fire ring.  Set up the hammock again, made dinner and enjoyed some awesome stars after our small campfire went out later in the evening. 

Day 3
: Slept in once again, made pancakes for breakfast and left camp around mid-morning to head back to the trailhead which we reached in the early afternoon.  Pretty easy hike out, after the two passes are crossed, given that the entire hike is downhill after Stonewall Pass.  There is an awesome spot just off the trail in the heavily wooded section where you can hike down to the creek that flows through the woods (you will hear the creek and waterfalls when you get close to it and the trail branches off to the left although its not well traveled).  Its a great spot for lunch and there are some really cool pools and waterfalls to play in and sit by although they are too small for swimming in.  Beautiful location though and definitely the highlight of the 3rd day.  Left the trailhead to head home around 2ish. 
 

Home-bound Travel
:  Stopped at the Trinity Alps Resort general store off of the Stuarts Fork turnoff for ice cream before heading home.  (Its open on Sundays!)  Traffic delays again due to construction on Hwy 299 but other than that the return trip was uneventful. 

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El Dorado National Forest (Loon Lake Trip, Guiding #1)

Dates: July 11-12, 2009
Duration: 2 days, 1 night
Mileage: ~10  miles
Group Members: Nick McGuire, Amanda Eberle (co-guide), and 8 participants
Pack Weights:
Nick (~37 lbs)
Contacts: Pacific Ranger District - 7887 Highway 50, Pollock Pines, CA 95726  (530)-644-2349
Notes: My first trip guiding with UC Davis' Outdoor Adventures.  We had originally planned to go to the Carson-Iceberg wilderness but when we turned off Hwy. 50 near South Lake Tahoe to head south we found out that two of the highways we needed to drive on were closed due to a bike race.  We decided to turn around and head back towards Desolation Wilderness and drive up to Loon Lake and camp just outside the wilderness boundary so we didn't have to get a permit. 
Route Map Available!

Outbound Travel
: Left Outdoor Adventures around 7:30AM and headed east on Hwy 50, turned around when we found out the roads were closed when we got to Luther Pass Rd near South Lake Tahoe.  Headed to the Ranger Station outside Pollock Pines to pick up a map and verify that we didn't need a permit.  Then headed back to Icehouse Road and drove North towards Loon Lake.  A motorcycle accident in front of us stopped both lanes of traffic for about half and hour so we didn't reach the trail head parking lot till around 12:30PM.

Day 1: Left the Loon Lake parking lot around 12:45PM and hiked for about 30 minutes before stopping for a lunch break.  We continued to hike along the trail which follows the south shore of the lake for a ways and soon noticed that some dark clouds were moving in from the south west.  We were several miles in when it started to sprinkle a bit but luckily we were close to one of our possible destinations, Spider Lake.  We quickly headed off the main trail and down to the western shore of the lake where we lucked out and immediately found a large well established campground.   We setup camp, filtered water and cooked dinner, all of which was punctuated by scattered bursts of rain.  Scouted out a tree for a bear hang after dinner and setup the rope before scavenging for dry wood for a campfire.  Roasted marshmallows and chilled by the fire till around 11PM when everyone retired to either the tent or the megamid we had brought.  Three of us, including Amanda and I had planned on sleeping out under the stars and thankfully I had brought a tarp so we had something to cover our bags with and hide under when it rained off and on.  It probably rained 3 or 4 times during the night but never very heavily so we didn't get too wet.   

Day 2: Amanda and I woke up around 6:00AM and made
breakfast for ourselves and one of our participants who was up.   No one else had gotten up by the time we were finished so we went back and chilled in our sleeping bags for a while till everyone else got up around 8AM.  Boiled some more water, started breaking down camp slowly, and filtered some more water too.  Although it was still partly cloudy the weather was pretty warm and the lake was way too inviting so Amanda and I went for a swim.  The water was actually really nice although we both got cold after 15 minutes or so and got out.    Finished breaking down camp and headed out around 11PM.  The trip back was quick although we stopped for a little while to do a short map & compass seminar.  We reached the trail head parking lost a little before 3PM.

Home-bound Travel:  Left the trail head parking lot just after 3PM.  The road changed names at one point and we thought we were on the wrong one so we ended heading back up towards the parking lot before we realized that the roads just overlap and the road we were on was still Icehouse Rd, even though the sign said different.  Made it back to Davis around 6PM. 
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Desolation Wilderness (Pyramid Lake Trip)

Dates: June 27-28, 2009
Duration: 2 days, 1 night
Mileage: ~??  miles
Group Members: Nick McGuire, Michael Ahlmann
Pack Weights:
Nick (~27 lbs)
Contacts: Pacific Ranger District - 7887 Highway 50, Pollock Pines, CA 95726  (530)-644-2349
Notes: Single night weekend trip up to the Desolation Wilderness before starting work.  Decided to go ultralight since we were just going for one night and the daytime temperatures were supposed to be in the mid-70s and night time lows in the mid-50s.  Didn't take sleeping bags, just a tent, sleeping pads and sleeping bag liners. 
Route Map Available!

Outbound Travel
: Left Mikes place in Sacramento around 6:25AM and headed for the Pacific Ranger station just east of Pollock Pines.  Got there about 20 minutes after 7AM and picked up our wilderness permit and parking pass.  Rangers warned that parking lot could be full, that the horsetail falls trail was the hardest in the wilderness area and that there would be a ton of people.  (none of which ended up being true at 8AM, even on a Saturday morning when the temperature in the valley was supposed to hit 105+ degrees F)

Day 1: Left the Pyramid Creek trailhead (~6115 ft in elevation) around 8:15AM and followed the path along the creek up to the base of the falls.  Climbed the rocky slope up to the top after a decent amount of routefinding.  The trail is obvious at the beginning but when the slop just becomes loose boulders its not well marked except for some green and yellow spray-painted arrows you can find every now and then.  Reached the top just after 11AM and proceeded North towards Ropi Lake to try and meet up with the primitive trail from Lake of the Woods.  Found it after searching for a little while and headed over to Lake of the Woods where we stopped for lunch some time after noon.  Skirted north along its western shore before heading West towards the top of Desolation Lake.  Crossed a stream there and headed up along the western side of the series of lakes connected by the creek up to American Lake and Channel Lake.   Headed West and descended down to Waca Lake which is located in zone 38 where our overnight wilderness permit was for.  Spent a long time looking for a campsite but couldn't find any good spot and they one or two we did find weren't 100 ft from water.  Scouted North towards Lake Aloha but still no luck finding a site.  Decided to head South towards Pyramid Lake and finally found a decent spot along its north-eastern shore that was barely under 100 ft.  We decided to go back to Waca and attempt to use a flat rock slab spot we had found earlier instead but just before leaving I decided to check out the grove of trees on the far western shore of the lake where another creek/waterfall come down into the lake.  Ended up being promising and we found a nice flat campsite a hundred yards or so from the lake (~8000 ft in elevation).   Set up camp, purified water and then went swimming.  Lake water was all snow melt and was quite cold but we found a rock to jump in off of so we both jumped several times and swam a little bit.  A little before 6PM we setup a kitchen area and made dinner (Pizza!...a little messy but really good and it came out really well on the jetboil).  After cleaning up Mike layed down for a bit because of a headache while I went off exploring the waterfall/stream next to us.  Ended up following/climbing alongside it up several hundred feet and found some amazing waterfalls, snow tunnels and an absolutely fantastic view.  Headed back down to camp a little before dark to report what I'd seen to Mike and insist that we explore the area together further tomorrow.  Went to bed a little after dark...still warm and even without sleeping bags (just liners and thermals) we were both comfortable throughout the night.  Once we left the Horsetail Falls and Lake of the Woods area we only saw 2 people the rest of the day...Awesome!

Day 2: Woke up around 6:30AM and made breakfast after taking down the bear hang.  Cleaned up camp a bit and then went off exploring up the creek to where I had been the previous evening took some amazing pictures and got high enough to get a good view of Lake Aloha.  Continued following the stream and waterfalls up another couple hundred feet in altitude...wanted to continue all the way to the source somewhere up near Pyramid Peak but time wouldn't permit.  Headed back down after standing in my favorite waterfall for some pictures and broke camp around 11AM after a quick lunch.  Hiked south along the western shore of Pyramid Lake heading towards Ropi Lake and the others further south of us.  Had to traverse West to avoid a large cliff band where the creek leavign Pyramid Lake drops into the valley below.  Found an amazing swimming hole we had to stop and swim at just west of Gefo Lake.   Skirted between Gefo and Toem Lake before heading east along the bottom of Toem and then Ropi Lake before heading south towards Horsetail Falls.  Climbed down the falls path again, following the marked trail
(yellow and green spray painted arrows on rocks) for a ways before losing it here and there and just choosing our own route till we met up with the maintained trail at the base. 
Decent number of people hiking up, especially towards the bottom...a lot of people had come up from the valley to escape the heat and swim in the creek.  Reached the parking lot around 2PM.

Home-bound Travel:  Left the Pyramid Creek (Twin Bridges) parking lot around 2:20 PM.  Parking lot was full at this time with lots of cars parked pseudo-illegally around the edges and center of the lot.  Stuck behind some slow cars and at the three ridiculous stoplights in Placerville but made it back to Mikes around 4:45 PM. 
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Mt. Shasta (Summit - West Face Route)

Dates: May 29-31, 2009
Duration: 3 days, 2 nights
Mileage: TBD
Group Members: Nick McGuire, 6 clients, and 2 Shasta Mountain Guides (Lel and Solveig)
Pack Weights: Unknown (varied each day)
Notes:
This was my first trip that I shadowed with Shasta Mountain Guides.  My role was supposed to be just as an observer but our two awesome guides let me essentially co-guide with them and so I really got a much better feel for how guiding with clients actually works.  We had 6 totally awesome clients and we managed to get all of them to the summit so in the end it was an absolutely fabulous trip!
Route Map Available!

Day 1: (~2500 ft ascent, ~3.5 miles)
Met the two guides I was shadowing with at the Fifth Season around 8:30AM in the morning in Mt. Shasta City.  After all six of our participants arrived a little after 9AM we began going through the gear checklist and dividing up group gear.  Headed off for the the Bunny Flat trailhead around 11AM and were on the trail towards horse camp not long after.  Stopped at horse camp for a bit to fill up water bottles from the spring which is now flowing and then headed off for our basecamp on the west face in Hidden Valley (~9400 ft).  We reached hidden valley in the early afternoon and set up camp, half in the snow and half in the dirt where the snow had melted away.  After setting up camp the team went off to do snow school nearby while I stayed behind to continue melting snow for water.  We ate dinner around 6PM and decided we would leave for the summit sometime around 2AM the following morning.  Cleaned up camp and went to bed around 9:30PM.  Thunder and ominous clouds in the distance throughout the evening but no precipitation or winds.  Weather was warm most of the day and even in the evening didn't cool off too much. 
 
Day 2
: (~4800 ft ascent, ~ miles) Woke up at 12:30AM to start boiling water for breakfast.  Got everyone up at 1AM and after breakfast and packing we were all ready to leave around 2AM.  Not much of a moon so everyone had to use headlamps.  We proceeded straight up the center of the west face.  Snow wasn't too hard so crampons weren't necessary and it was even punchy in a spot or two.  Took breaks every hour or so and roped up as it got steeper early in the morning.  Eventually had to put crampons on as we got higher on the face.  Reached the top of the west face sometime before 9AM.  Took a break at the top and then traversed over towards Misery Hill.  Here we dropped ice axes, harnesses, the ropes, and helmets.  Proceeded up Misery Hill which was pretty burnt out in spots and finally made it to the summit just after 10AM.  Fair amount of people at the top and below on the summit plateau.  Climbed back down to the top of the west face after spending maybe 20 minutes at the summit.  Downclimbed for a little ways down the west face in crampons (lots of balling) before we got to snow that was safer to glissade on.   Glissaded almost all the way back to camp...troughs were decent but not too fast.  Back in camp by early afternoon.  Melted snow for water and drained the garbage bags full of snow that we had set out in the sun to melt.  Got everyone's water topped off and the kitchen squared away before heading to the tents for a couple hours of downtime before dinner.  Got hammered by a massive hail thunderstorm around 4PM.  Lasted for about an hour and a half....decently strong winds and very heavy rain and hail at times.  Lots of thunder and lightning, and some strikes were very close (2 seconds till thunder).  Cleared up very nicely in time for dinner preparation and the sun actually came out to help dry stuff out.  Ate dinner and went to bed early. 

Day 3
: (~2500 ft descent, ~3.5 miles)   Woke up around 8AM and had breakfast.  Broke down camp, packed up and left around 10AM.  Hiked out in a few hours.  Didn't take any breaks on the way back to horse camp so we took a 30 minute break there.  Spring was running so we were able to fill up our water bottles again.  Two rangers arrived right before we left and had just wanded the summer trail so we followed their trail back out....about 50% snow 50% dirt.  Got back to bunny flat in the early afternoon, debriefed quickly and packed up before heading back to the 5th Season to return gear and then over to the Billy Goat for burgers and beer!  AWESOME TRIP!

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Snow Mountain Wilderness (Wilderness Guide School Outing #2)

Dates: May 2-3, 2009

Duration: 2 days, 1 night

Mileage: ~12 miles 
Group Members: Julie (OA Guide), Dan (OA Guide), Nick, Dan, Megan, Gena, Emma, Tucker, Brett Anne, Peter, Heidi
Pack Weights: Nick (44 lbs)
Notes: Deafy Glade Trailhead / Dixie Glade Picnic Area of M10, ~13 miles west of Stonyford, CA.  This was the second and final outing through Outdoor Adventures as part of Wilderness Guide School.  The wilderness area was located in the Mendocino National Forest. 

Day 1: (less than 5 miles)   Arrived at the Deafy Glade Trailhead in the late morning and started off in steady, but light rain.  Myself and another participant were the current guides and not long after we had been on the trail (probably less than a mile) we came to a non-trivial creek crossing that appeared to be blocking our desired route.  Although I was comfortable making the creek crossing given it was rather shallow, several of our participants were just wearing tennis shoes which may have gotten soaked and been difficult for them to deal with the rest of the day.  After weighing our options and finally choosing a location to cross I made the decision that I wanted to cross but there was still some concern in the group and given that it was still raining, we were all concerned that it might be higher the next day when we had to come back.  Our real OA guides stepped in and decided that we shouldn't cross so we headed back up to the trailhead to consider our options.  We decided to drive to another trailhead further west but the road became increasingly worse for the small sedan one group was in so we decided to abort this attempt and head back to the Dixie Glade Picnic area, slightly east of the Deafy Glade Trailhead.  We arrived back there in the early afternoon and after a quick lunch break and headed out on the trail there which meets up with the Deafy Glade Trail in about a mile.  Thus, with limited options, we decided to just camp about a half-mile down the trail, practice navigation skills and go for a day hike.  After we chose a campsite, we were relieved as guides and two new guides took over for setting up camp and preparing for the cross-country day hike down towards the creek again.  We arrived back at camp in time to start our dinner cook-off and deal with another scenario before going to bed around 11PM.  It had rained off an on all day long although never very heavily.

Day 2: (less 5 miles) Woke up around 7AM and made breakfast.  Slept in the megamid that night and stayed relatively dry even with several heavy rain-spells during the night.  After breakfast we broke down camp except for the megamid, stashed our packs and went for another day hike down to the creek crossing from the first day, practicing navigation skills along the way.  Ate lunch and had dessert by the creek crossing before heading back to camp.  Arrived at camp in the early afternoon, played some games and then broke down the rest of camp and headed out to the picnic area which we reached before 2PM.  The weather on this day was much nicer...drizzled in the morning but then the sun came out and it was relatively pleasant the rest of the day.   
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Mt. Shasta (Shasta Mountain Guides - Guide Training School)

Dates: April 27-28, 2009
Duration: 2 days, 1 night
Mileage: ~6 miles
Group Members: Nick McGuire, 6 others from OA, and 25+ SMG guides and other participants
Pack Weights: Unknown (varied each day)
Notes: This trip was
the first guide training out of the year for Shasta Mountain Guides.  Myself and most of the other guides from UC Davis who went on the first trip earlier that month were invited back to go through their official training

Day 1: (~1.7 miles)  Met at the Fifth Season rental store in the the town of Mount Shasta at 9AM and discussed gear and trips for a while before heading up the the Bunny Flat parking lot.  Hiked to Horseshoe Camp in three separate groups of 10 people and set up camp.  Composting toilet was open for the season which was nice and snow conditions were good...was snowing off and on throughout the day.  After a brief LNT presentation in the Sierra Club Cabin we split back up into our groups and headed off for a snow school.  Went over all the basics again including ice axe handling and self-arrest and proper climbing and traversing techniques.  Headed back to camp and made dinner in our three groups.   Hung out for a while in the evening meeting different people while the head guides from SMG had a meeting in which they decided we would not be making a summit bid and instead would focus on snow school.  Went to bed around 8-9ish and planned to wake up around 7AM. 

Day 2
: (~4 miles) Woke up around 7:00AM and ate a leisurely breakfast.  Head out of camp by 8ish for our second snow school.  Went a little higher up the mountain just east of Giddy Giddy Gulch entrance to find steeper snow.  Practiced crampon techniques for a while and then spent the rest of the time learning how to properly set up a rope team and short rope participants up a slope.  Snowed off and on the entire morning and visibility was low.  After a few hours we head back down to break camp and were back at the parking lot and all packed just after noon.


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Cache Creek Natural Area (Wilderness Guide School Outing #1)

Dates: April 25-26, 2009

Duration: 2 days, 1 night

Mileage: ~12 miles 
Group Members: Julie (OA Guide), Dan (OA Guide), Nick, Dan, Megan, Gena, Emma, Tucker, Brett Anne, Peter, Heidi
Pack Weights: Nick (35 lbs), lowest was 22 lbs, highest was 46 lbs
Notes: Judge Davis Trailhead off Hwy 20.  This was the first outing through Outdoor Adventures as part of Wilderness Guide School.  

Day 1: (~6 miles)   Left the trailhead in the early afternoon with two guides-in-training leading and proceeded out towards the creek, encountering different made-up scenarios along the way including someone getting out too far ahead of the group and someone getting slightly dehydrated.  Stopped for lunch before heading down to the creek at which point we got two new guides.  Spent the early afternoon looking for a suitable campsite and luckily our current set of guides were able to find the pseudo-established campground in the area I had been to on my previous trip back in November.  Day hiked up to the meadow nearby after setting up camp, played several games and talked about soft skills before heading back to camp to make dinner and pump water.  Ate dinner, played some more games and then laid out under the starts for some quick amateur astronomy lessons before going to bed. 

Day 2:
(~6 miles) Woke up around 7AM, made breakfast, and switched to a new set of guides.  Had a quick knot tying seminar and went through the first aid kit before breaking camp and heading out around 11AM. Stopped for lunch part way up the main trail and discussed Leave No Trace principles as well as discussed some of the scenarios we had dealt with that morning.  Ran into cattle along the trail near the trailhead once again but managed to get back to the parking lot by mid afternoon. 

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Mt. Shasta (Summit - Avalanche Gulch Route)

Dates: April 3-5, 2009
Duration: 3 days, 2 nights
Mileage: TBD
Group Members: Nick McGuire, 7 others from OA, and 2 Shasta Mountain Guides
Pack Weights: Unknown (varied each day)
Notes: This trip was a course offered through Outdoor Adventures at UC Davis as a Mountaineering Guide School.  We were given a special reduced rate and the trip was run by Shasta Mountain Guides.  We had am AMAZING experience with SMG...make sure you check out the link to their website on the Backpacking External Links page!  Our guides were Dane and Keith...two of the coolest guys out there and the awesomest guides ever. 
Route Map Available!

Day 1: (~1000 ft ascent, ~1.7 miles)  After meeting at the Fifth Season rental store in the the town of Mount Shasta at 9AM and going over gear requirements, paperwork, meeting our guides, etc., we headed up to the Bunny Flat Trailhead in the late morning.  After dividing up group gear and another meeting we left the parking lot just before noon to snowshoe out to Horseshoe Camp.  It was sunny and clear but windy and it began to snow soon after leaving.  We reached the Sierra Club cabin by early afternoon and went inside for lunch as the weather conditions had begun to deteriorate further.  After lunch we headed a few hundred meters to the west of the cabin and found a good location in the trees to setup camp.  Spent the better part of the afternoon building a bomber winter camp before heading out for our first snow school.  We found a decently steep slope just north of our camp where we went over ice axe basics and general mountaineering footwork including the rest step and different styles of climbing and traversing and how to teach these skills to beginners.  We then finished up our snow school session with some ice axe self-arrest and glissading practice before heading back to camp for dinner.  Made dinner, relaxed, refilled water bottles with melted snow, disccused plans for the next day and were finally in our tents between 8 or 9 PM.  Slighly chilly during the night but not too bad.

Day 2
: (~2000 ft ascent, ~2.5 miles) Woke up around 7:30AM and had a leisurely breakfast.  A little bit of frost in the tent and damp sleeping bags....should have ventilated the tent a bit more.  Geared up and headed out a little while later towards Giddy Giddy Gulch.  Reached the base of the gulch by mid-morning and switched to crampons before beginning our ascent.  Practiced the different steps we had learned the day before and reached the saddle between the gulch and Casaval Ridge by mid-day.  Ate a long leisurely lunch before beginning our second snow school session focusing on roped travel.  We went over the basic knots required for setting up a rope team and then broke off into 3 groups to practice traveling as a rope team.  After this we then split into 2 groups and practiced team ice axe arresting with both participant and lead falls.  Headed back down the mountain around 4:30PM by way of Avalanche Gulch.  From the saddle we were able to practice our first lengthy glissade and I discovered the joys of "boot-skiing" or the standing glissade for the first time which was extremely fun.  Made dinner when we got back to camp, and had a lengthy discussion about the next days summit attempt.  Our final conclusions included getting up sometime around 1-2 AM and leaving our avalanche gear behind given the safe snow conditions we had experienced.  Went to bed just before 9PM. 

Day 3: (~6300 ft ascent, ~10 miles)   Woke up at 2AM and had breakfast and a hot drink.  Packed up our gear for the summit ascent, put on our crampons and and were out of camp just after 3AM.  Very bright moon so headlamps were barely necessary.  Got into a great climbing rhythm and reached Helen Lake a few hours later via the Avalanche Gulch route.  Ditched our trekking poles and put on our climbing harnesses, breaking up into two 5-person rope teams for the rest of the day.  Continued to climb up Avalanche Gulch through the Red Banks which we reached just as the sun was breaking over the north side of the mountain.  Continued climbing up the typical route over Misery Hill and onto the summit plateau.  Felt great especially with the breaks we had been taking every 1-1.5 hours.  Continued on from the summit plateau to the summit itself which we reached at about 12:20PM.  Winds at this point had been pretty constant at 30+ mph gust a bit higher but were definitely tolerable.  Spent 40 minutes on the summit before heading down.  Plunge-stepped or traversed our way all the way down to the base of Misery Hill at our own paces, free from the rope teams.  Regrouped again at the top of the Red Banks and continued down a little further before we began glissading down the mountain.  Conditions were good for glissading but not perfect so it was often a mixture of plunge-stepping and glissading.   Regrouped again at Helen Lake where two of our group members skied down while the rest of us either glissaded, plunge stepped, or boot-skied down the mountain.  Made it back to camp right at 4PM.  We immediately began striking camp and packing up before snowshoeing back to the parking lot which we reached sometime around 5PM.  Gear exploded and profusely thanked our amazing guides, who had beer stashed in their vehicle for us, before heading down to the town of Mount Shasta to return more gear before our long drive home.

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Mt. Lassen

Dates: March 20-21, 2009
Duration: 2 days, 1 night
Mileage: ~5 miles each day
Group Members: Nick McGuire, Michael Ahlmann
Pack Weights: Nick (50+ lbs), Michael (unknown)
Contacts: Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center - Southwest Park Entrance, Hwy 89  (530)-595-4480
Notes: This trip was supposed to be another summit attempt on Lassen but due to a storm system forcasted to move in on the 2nd day we shortened the trip to a simple snow camping outing to test out some new gear and get some ice ax and crampon practice in.  


Day 1: (~5 miles) Left the Lassen Nat. Park visitor center (Elevation: ~6700 ft) at 9:40AM and snowshoed up the road (Hwy 89) for a couple miles before taking the Ranger Cutoff.   We then continued along the road for  a ways before going cross-country again, past Emerald Lake, to the shores of Lake Helen which we reached just before noon.  There was a lot more snow on the road compared to January.  Set up base camp (Elevation: ~8200 ft)  near some trees along the western shore and dug into a hillside to make a tent platform and a small kitchen area.  Ate lunch and then Mike took a nap for half an hour since he had a bit of a headache while I finished setting up camp and guying-out the tent.  At around 3PM we went exploring to try and find a shaded steep slope to practice our ice ax and crampon skills.  Found a couple decent ones near the parking lot beneath the peak where we could practice traversing, self-arresting and glissading.  Hiked back to camp and relaxed for a bit.  I walked over to Lake Helen and dug through the snow to try and find the ice layer which was about 60 cm down.  Made dinner a little after 6PM....got dark a little after 7.  Our neighbors to the west had brought some fireworks which they set off once it got dark which provided some brief entertainment.  Not too cold that evening and definitely warm inside the sleeping back & tent....slept in shorts, thermal top and socks....left all the vents in the tent open.  

Day 2: (~ 5 miles)  Woke up a little after 7AM and made breakfast.  Broke camp and packed up, leaving by about a quarter to 10AM.  Weather still fair but lots of clouds now in the sky.  Not to far down the road it began to snow although it was pretty much just flurries.  Over time the amount of snowfall increased.  Decided to stay on the road instead of taking the Ranger Cutoff...snowing quite a bit at this point and visibility starting to decrease to less than 2000 ft.  Came across a pair of small slough avalanches just before reaching the first turnoff for the Ranger Cutoff.  Debris ran out just a few feet into the road and was only about 1.5 ft deep.  Slides had started 50 to 100 feet up the slope and the debris was already very solid by the time we came across it.  Snow definitely coming down pretty strong at this point....visibility limited to a couple hundred feet or less at times.  Made it back down to the visitor center just before noon.  
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Desolation Wilderness

Dates: February 17-19, 2009
Duration: 3 days, 2 nights
Mileage: ~11 miles
Group Members: Nick McGuire, Michael Ahlmann
Pack Weights: ~50 lbs each 
Contacts: Pacific Ranger District - 7887 Highway 50, Pollock Pines, CA 95726  (530)-644-2349
                  Tahoe Basin Ranger District - 35 College Dr., South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150 (530)-543-2600
                  Williams Power Tools Inc. (Sno-Park Permit Vendor) - 4120 Sunset Ln, Shingle Springs, CA (530)-677-9732
Notes:
 This was supposed to be a winter mountaineering trip to climb some of the peaks in the Desolation Wilderness but the avalanche danger was way too high and the weather would not permit it either.  We salvaged the trip though by just snowshoeing for a couple days in the eastern side of the wilderness near the Echo Lakes.
Route Map Available!

Outbound Travel
: Left Davis at 11:15 AM, where it was raining and headed east on I-80 and then continued east on Hwy 50 towards South Lake Tahoe.  Got to Williams Power Tool Inc. in Shingle Springs about an hour later to purchase a Sno- Park Permit ($5 per day or $25 per season) where it was still raining off and on.  Hit the chain control road block just outside placerville and chained up the truck which was totally unnecessary since the road had just been plowed.  Had to stop several times because the chains were too loose for some reason but finally got them tight enough.  Stopped at the Pacific Ranger District Office just outside Pollock Pines to pick up our Wilderness permit and get more up-to-date information for the trip.  Started snowing pretty decently after this point and finally about 10 miles from Twin Bridges we pulled over and talked to a CalTrans worker who said we could take the stupid chains off because the road was still well plowed.  At this point it was smooth travel all the way to the turnoff for the Johnson Pass Sno Park.  Had to put the chains back on after getting stuck part way on the road up to the snow park which hadn't been plowed recently but finally made it the 3/4 of a mile or so to the parking lot.  Parked at around 2:30 PM and were packed up and ready to go about 3:30 PM.   

Day 1: Left the Johnson Pass Sno Park around 3:30 PM and snowshoed down the "road" directly across from the parking lot entrance which led past a bunch of cabins part of the Berkeley Municipal Camp down towards the Lower Echo Lake Dam and Echo Lake Chalet.  Started snowing and the wind picked up once we started to snowshoe directly across Lower Echo Lake.  Snow was very deep and powdery making it difficult to walk through.  Finally made it to the far shore near Upper Echo Lake just before dark.  Had to set up camp on a small spit of land that rises up between Lower Echo Lake and Upper Echo Lake.  Dug a shallow pit for the tent, cooked a quick dinner and went to bed around 8PM.  Snowed constantly till around 1 or 2 AM and the wind increased strongly over the course of the tonight until about the same time.  Temperatures dropped into the mid-twenties that night but I was still comfortable in my sleeping bag with just shorts and a long sleeve thermal top on.

Day 2: Woke up around 7AM to an absolutely gorgeous day, made breakfast and cleaned up all our gear and the tent which had all been covered in several inches of fresh powder over the course of the night.  Melted snow for water and finally left camp around 10AM.  Snowshoed across Upper Echo Lake and followed a creek leading away from the lake off towards Tamarack Lake.  The creek we followed turned out to be different from the one we thought it was on the map so after a little orienteering we got back on track and continued heading in a slightly more direct route towards Tamarack.  Finally made it to Tamarack Lake around 1PM after having to stop several times to take compass readings to help navigate in the snow which was very slow going due to the depth of the powder and the incline of the terrain.  Ate lunch on the shore of Tamarack Lake and then scouted out a campsite up off the lake a ways to the south east.  Built a much more substantial campsite with a deep pit for the tent and a kitchen area.   Attempted to practice with the ice axes but the snow was just way too soft.  Spent the rest of the afternoon setting up camp, melting snow for water and practicing with the avalanche beacons.  Ate dinner just after dark and went to bed a little before 8PM.  Much colder this evening and got even colder not long after being in the tent.  Decided to put long thermal bottoms on thankfully because the temperature plummeted over the course of the night.  

Day 3: Woke up around 6:30 AM and the temperature inside my pack in the vestibule after the sun was up was only 20 degrees so it probably had dipped into the single digits during the night.  Made breakfast, packed up camp and on the trail by 9 AM.  MUCH easier going today due to the sun we had gotten yesterday and because we could follow our compacted trail from the days before.  Managed to cover the same distance in less than half the time.  Stopped for 40 minutes near the dam at Lower Echo Lake to dig a snow pit on a 35 degree south-west facing slope for practice.  Only one or two noticeable layers, all of which you could imprint with your entire fist.  Our free-standing block failed during the tap test when using the arm from the elbow down on the third tap.  Snow was quite a bit harder but still too soft for any ice axe or crampon work.  Made it back to the parking lot by 12:30 PM

Home-bound Travel:  Left the Johnson Pass Sno Park around 1PM and made it back to Davis by 3PM.  Distance is almost exactly 100 miles from the Sno Park to Davis.  The highway was now completely clear given the beautiful weather the day before so there were no issues at all driving back. 
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Mt. Lassen (Summit)

Dates: January 17-19, 2009
Duration: 3 days, 2 nights
Mileage: ~5 miles each day; 2300 ft ascent from base camp to summit
Group Members: Nick McGuire, Chris Genger, CAG Guide, two others
Pack Weights: unknown and varied day to day
Notes: This trip was our first foray into Mountaineering!  My friend Chris and I took a guided Intro to Winter Mountaineering course through California Alpine Guides (CAG) and successfully reached the summit of Mt. Lassen and gained much needed "snow backpacking" experience in preparation for more mountaineering trips.  We had a great experience with CAG...make sure you check out the link to their website on the Backpacking External Links page!
Route Map Available!

Day 1: (~5 miles) Left the Lassen Nat. Park visitor center (Elevation: ~6700 ft) at around 10AM and snowshoed up the road (Hwy 89) for a couple miles before taking the "Ranger Shortcut" to cut off a long section of road.  This shortcut skirts around Diamond Peak to the west and is more strenuous than the road but is quite a bit shorter distance-wise.  We then continued along the road for  a ways before going cross-country again, past Emerald Lake, to the shores of Lake Helen which we reached by mid-afternoon.  Set up base camp (Elevation: ~8200 ft)  near some trees along the western shore and dug pits for our tents and a kitchen.  We then ate dinner and went to bed around 8:30 PM.  Cold that evening but not too bad and definitely warm inside the sleeping back & tent....took off thermal bottoms and socks during the night...just needed shorts and the thermal top. 

Day 2: (~2300 ft ascent, ~4.5 miles) Woke up at 6AM, had breakfast and departed camp on our summit attempt a little before 8AM.  Crossed frozen Lake Helen and met back up with the road which we took up to the parking lot below the mountain.  Put on crampons and cross-countried it up towards the mountain and over to a ridge on the south east side.  Followed the ridge line most of the way up the mountain before angling away from it, heading in a more direct north-east route towards the summit.  Reached the summit (Elevation: ~10,457 ft) before noon, had lunch and then descended.  Very windy as we approached the saddle below the summit and pretty windy at the top.  Climbed back down the mountain and descended the ridge line the same way we came up.  We then took our crampons off and glissaded down to the parking lot once we were off the ridge line and in softer snow where crampons weren't necessary.  Snowshoed back to base camp and arrived by 3PM; relaxed for an hour before performing an avalanche beacon scenario.  Ate dinner and were in bed by 7:30PM.  Very cold that evening but warm again inside the tent and sleeping bag....didn't need any additional layers inside once again. 

Day 3: (~5 miles) Woke up at 7AM and had breakfast....colder night resulted in condensation on the tents which got everything a little wet.  Learned some rope techniques including team self-arrest before breaking camp and heading back down the road by 11AM.  Reached the visitor center a little after 1 PM. 
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Cache Creek Natural Area

Dates: November 7-8, 2008

Duration: 2 days, 1 night

Mileage: ~12 miles 
Group Members: Lena (OA Guide), Nicky (OA Guide), Nick McGuire, Lizzie, Toby, Andy, Ben
Pack Weights: Nick (36 lbs)
Notes: Judge Davis Trailhead off Hwy 20.  This was a guided trip done through Outdoor Adventures on the UC Davis campus.  

Day 1: (~6 miles) Took the small trailhead on the western side of the parking lot instead of the main trailhead at the center.  Followed this trail pretty much straight back for 5 miles until we hit Cache Creek.  Trail ascended pretty steeply at first before it levels off for a ways and then descends into the creek valley.  Stopped along the creek and ate lunch at one potential campground.  Continued northwest for half a mile to another campground along the river.  Probably started on the trail sometime before 11 and got to camp in the early afternoon.  Set up camp around 2PM and then went for a short hike up to a meadow and some ridgeline before heading back to camp.  Started cooking dinner around 4:30PM but then it started raining and we had to retreat from our cooking spot at the edge of the creek to the trees by our tents.  Finished cooking and eating in the rain around 6 something, cleaned up and did our bear hang.  Hung out and looked at the few stars we could see through the clouds since the rain had stopped.  Went to bed a little after 8PM. 

Day 2: (~6 miles) Woke up at around 7:30 AM and made breakfast down by the creek.  Beautiful weather now so we had no problem cooking.  Clean up, disassembled camp and were probably on the move a little before 10AM.  Headed back the way we came and stopped at a trail junction on the top of the ridgeline.  Decided to take the alternate route back towards the Cache Creek Ridge Trail but turned around because we were unsure of private property boundaries given that we saw a no trespassing sign that had been shot and a gate that was open.  (Looking at Google earth later this trail did meet up with the other trailhead out of the parking lot).  Continued back the way we came the first day…stopped and had lunch around 1PM and were finished before 3PM. 
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Ansel Adams Wilderness

Dates: October 24-26, 2008

Duration: 3 days, 2 nights

Mileage: ~21 miles
Group Members: Michael Ahlmann, Chris Genger, Nick McGuire

Pack Weights: Mike (25 lbs), Chris (31.4 lbs), Nick (52 lbs)

Notes: Mono Lake Ranger Station – Has bear barrels ($5 per trip), wilderness permits, and maps – 760-647-3044; Drive to trail head is just under 4.5 hours.  Gas is much cheaper in Lee Vining compared to Bridgeport. 
Route Map Available!

 

Day 1: (~7 miles) Parked at Rush Creek Trailhead (obvious sign from road) and headed off down the well marked trail.  After a short hike just off the road we began climbing steadily up the side of the mountain we were on till we got to the first dam/lake, Agnew Lake.  Passed a nice waterfall on the way up and crossed a funicular railroad twice.  Had lunch at a concrete edifice downstream of the dam.  Hike up was pretty strenuous.  Continue along the northern shore of Agnew Lake climbing steadily up to the dam of Gem Lake which was another rather strenuous and exposed climb.  Hiked around the north shore of beautiful Gem Lake and found a decent size campsite after crossing a creek on the north-west shore.  Continued along the trail passing another creek to the dam of Waugh lake which turned out to be empty although Gem and Agnew Lakes were both full.  Hiked along north shore but found only one suitable campsite after some time and because of the lack of water in the lake, it was relatively far from any water.  Decided to camp next to a “pond” in the lake bed.  Started out at 10:30AM and reached campsite a little after 5PM.  The sun went down before 5:30PM and it was dark by 6:30PM.  Stored bear barrels and cooked 100 yards from campsite.  Dropped below freezing at night but we were comfortable in the tent and our sleeping bags. 

 

Day 2: (~7 miles) Broke camp at around 10:15AM after purifying some water and eating breakfast.  Relatively easy hike with two stream crossings over logs until we hit the PCT trail junction.  Went south and crossed two more streams before ascending rather steeply for quite a ways.  Crossed the 10,000 ft elevation sign and the trail finally flattened out and we got our first amazing view of Banner Peak and Mt. Ritter as well as the rest of the Ritter range.  Had lunch somewhere near the unmarked Island Pass at 10,200 ft beside a small lake with incredible views.  We then began descending above the northern shore of 1000 Island Lake until we came to its outlet where we parted ways with the John Muir Trail.  We stayed on the PCT heading east for just under 2 miles until we branched off on a trail towards the Clark Lakes.  After crossing a saddle point, we came across the first of the lakes that was of a decent size and had one camping spot.  We pressed onward and passed a small lake and then finally came to the biggest of the Clark Lakes where we decided to camp.  Numerous spots all around the lake but we decided the best one was on the far shore which required going past the trails 3 way split and heading along the trail to Agnew Summit for a few hundred meters to get to the campsite.  Reached the lakes just after 4PM which allowed more time to set up camp, cook, and deal with the bear barrels.  Mike attempted fishing with no luck.  Had a campfire that night which was great and allowed us to stay out long enough to see the stars.  Dropped below freezing again that night but not quite as cold as the previous night even though we were several hundred feet higher altitude wise. 

 

Day 3: (~7 miles) Got up earlier than before and were able to break camp by 9:30 after purifying 6 liters of water.  Tent was pretty wet so we had to let it air out and dry for a bit before packing it up.  Headed back to the 3 way trail junction and took the trail towards Agnew Lake.  Climbed upwards slightly to another small but scenic lake followed by some meadows.  Finally began descending rather rapidly along the mountain face above Spooky Meadow.  Very steep trail and we crossed a semi-frozen stream several times.  Finally reached the steep scree slope above Agnew Lake which we had to switchback down for quite some time.  Very steep and rocky but not too difficult with hiking poles.  Made it down to Agnew Dam once again after losing the trail in the rocks for a couple minutes.  Crossed a small footbridge over the dam outlet and I stopped and put my head under the torrent of water being released downwards from one of the dam pipes.  Stopped and had lunch around noon at the same spot we did on the first day.  We were then able to make it back down to the trail head in only and hour (versus the 2 hrs it took to climb this part the first day) and thus we were out by 1:15PM.

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Tahoe National Forest

Dates: August 22-24, 2008

Duration: 3 days, 2 nights

Mileage: ~13.4 miles

Group Members: Chris Genger, Nick McGuire

Pack Weights: Chris (25 lbs), Nick (47 lbs)

Notes: Packing the raft out would have been heavy but worth it for the lakes.  Awesome area but saw close to 100 people!
Route Map Available!

 

Day 1: (~ 4.7 miles) Grouse Ridge Campground/Trailhead to Glacier Lake & Five Lakes Basin

Followed Trail 13E28 from trailhead to 13E13 to Glacier Lake and then 13E50 to Five Lakes Basin.  Trail was relatively easy; Glacier lake was gorgeous and we left our packs at the bottom and hiked up to the top of the Black Buttes for a view of the lake and the surrounding area and to eat lunch.  Extensive campsites at Glacier lake…a few groups of people so we moved on.  Five Lakes Basin area was very confusing…followed trail for a while and then went cross-country to the east to explore some lakes.  One lake right by the trail which there were people at and then two lakes further east, one slightly north and one slightly south.  Explored northern lake which had an AWESOME campsite with stone tables, chairs, and a fire pit.  Slept right near water which was super clear…no mosquitoes even though part of it is marshy.  Stone sundial in the rocks to the east and above the lake. 

 

Day 2: (~4.5 miles) Cross-country to Sand Ridge Trail, Cross-country to 13E28, Cross-country to 12E11 to Penner Lake.  Left camp close to 10AM and went cross country back to first lake we saw on the trail from Glacier Lake.  Then climbed up Sand Ridge and followed Sand Ridge till the trail began to head back down to trail 13E13.  Went cross-country north-westward till we hit 13E38 (tried to find Middle Lake but missed it).  Hiked north on 13E38 to Shotgun Lake.  Went cross-country up a very steep hill till we found trail 12E11 and could see Penner Lake.  Explored Penner Lake…best campsites were taken so we chose a nice one on the north-eastern shore that was close to the trail.  Hiked around entire perimeter of the lake and had an awesome view of Culbertson Lake.  Awesome swimming in Penner Lake and rock to jump off of…wished we had the raft. 

 

Day 3: (~4.2 miles) Penner Lake trail 12E11 to 13E13 by Island Lake and then trail 13E28 back to the trailhead.  Left came around 9AM and hiked south along the trail to Island Lake.  Gorgeous lake with 2 islands…definitely more people….swimming at 10 AM was awesome.  Easy hike back to trailhead although trail was a little bit hard to follow on south-western side of the lake. 

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The Lost Coast - Loop from Mattole Campground

Dates: June 23-25, 2008

Duration: 3 days, 2 nights

Mileage: ~18.7 miles
Group Members: Jack Martin, Chris Genger, Mike Ahlmann, Nick McGuire
Pack Weights: Chris (~25 lbs), Nick (~ 47lbs)
Notes: Views were awesome from mountain trail but not really worth the awful climb and immediate decent…very rough on the knees.  Beach route much better….maybe try the other part of the mountain route we didn’t try past Cooskie Creek but probably the same.  Wind really bad this trip. 

Day 1: (~ 9.4 miles) Mattole trail head to Main trail to Cooskie Creek Trail to Cooskie Creek

Got a later start since we met in the Trinity Alps off Hwy 299 to backpack there but the fires prevented this so we had to drive all the way to Eureka, get a bear barrel and maps and then drive all the way to Petrolia.  Left the both cars at the trailhead around late morning or early afternoon.  Hiked along main trail for a while.  Weren’t quite sure where Cooskie Creek Trail was so we accidentally took the trail up to Windy point where it was EXTREMELY windy.  Went back down to main trail and up off the beach on the low bluffs there was a marked sign for the trail.  Climbed up very steep trail and again it was VERY windy and somewhat dangerous with the packs.  Arduous climb to top of Gorda 2 (2378ft) and trail once you get away from the beach is marked well with signs but then becomes very hard to follow.  Went through very dark thickets in the woods and ran into cows several times.  After finally making it to the top we had a grueling decent all the way back down to sea level to our campsite alongside Cooskie Creek.  Campsite was nice and the creek was very clear and relaxing. 

 

Day 2: (~3.0 miles) Cooskie Creek trail north to Cooskie Spur Trail to Main trail south to mouth of Cooskie Creek.  Hiked back out to the main trail along the spur trail and then south to where Cooskie Creek meets the ocean.  No one wanted to go on further even though it was early in the day so we made camp in an awesome driftwood fort by the creek.  Hiked back along the creek for a ways and then hung out the rest of the day.  Creek was very shallow but right in front of our campsite it was pseudo dammed in two places creating a 25 foot long 3-4 foot deep pool.  Small fish in it and then I randomly noticed a HUGE trout.  Fashioned small hunting knife to a long branch and was able to stab the fish.  It was able to get off the knife but was seriously wounded and tried to go upstream through one of the dams and jack was able to grab it and throw it on shore.  Turned out to be a 22 inch steelhead trout….filleted it, wrapped it in tinfoil and cooked it over our fire…tasted awesome.  

 

Day 3: (~6.3 miles) Mouth of Cooskie Creek north on main trail back to Mattole trailhead.  Headed back north that morning and made it back to the trailhead by late morning/early afternoon.  Chris’ knees REALLY bothering him and the wind towards the end got so bad it was whipping sand up in our faces and blew away my hat…sunglasses were a must here for safety. 

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Henry Coe State Park

Dates: mid December 2007

Duration: 3 days, 2 nights
Mileage: ~34 miles
Group Members: Nick McGuire, Jack Martin
Pack Weights: Jack (~39 lbs), Nick (~ 47lbs)
Notes: Had to re-plan original route due to large closures from the recent fire.  Very cold temperatures at night…should have brought tent to keep ice/water off of sleeping bags.  Were originally going to do 3 nights but we were so close to the exit on the 3rd day I convinced Jack that we should just pack out.  Only saw like 1 other person the entire trip which was awesome.  Scenery was decent but not amazing. 

Day 1: (11.5 miles) Hunting Hollow Entrance to Steer Ridge Trail to Wilson Camp.  Wagon Rd North to Center Flats Road to Pond just north of Dormida Trail intersection.  Left entrance around 11AM….water puddles in parking lot were all frozen.  Steer Ridge Trail was very steep and strenuous.  Rest of hike wasn’t too bad but all of the trails at Wilson Camp made choosing the correct route difficult.  Elevation gain and loss was a fair amount.  Reached lake we camped at at dusk so cooking and setting up camp wasn’t super easy but doable.  Pond was VERY scummy and nasty. 

 

Day 2: (8.8 miles) Pond just north of Dormida Trail intersection w/ Center Flats Road up Kaiser Aetna Trail to Tie Down Trail.  Took Yellow Jacket Trail and then Dutch’s Trail to Purple Pond.  Backtracked to Pacheco Creek except bypassed Yellow Jacket Trail.  Long downhill to Pacheco Creek which had no water in it.  Strenuous climb/hike up to Purple Pond which was our ultimate goal.  Had lunch there and then head back the way we came till we got back to the creek.  Purple Pond had water in it but was scummy; Yellow Jacket Pond was empty.  Campsite by creek was nice but we made the poor choice of sleeping at too low an elevation and were covered in dew that night and the temperatures dropped well below freezing so we were covered in ice all night.  Sleeping bag and layers of clothes kept us warm but it still wasn’t pleasant and we had to keep the bags out all the 3rd day to dry them out.  

 

Day 3: (13.7 miles) Pacheco Creek to Kasier Aetna Trail back out the way we came.  Hiked over to Hell Hole through giant metal river culvert.  Water that was at the culvert was frozen on top but water in Hell Hole wasn’t…very clear but very cold.  (Had issues with the water pump).  Hiked out to Rodeo Camp where Jack wanted to stop but I convinced him we should hike out since I didn’t want to have to deal with another freezing night with no tent and we were only a few miles from the exit. 

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The Lost Coast - Mattole Campground to Shelter Cove (One way)

Dates: mid June 2007
Duration: 2 days, 1 night
Mileage: ~24 miles
Group Members: Jack Martin,  Nick McGuire
Pack Weights: Unknown
Notes:  Missed turnoff and Google maps led us VERY astray trying to get to shelter cove and the ranger station.  Made it there too late to get a bear barrel so we had to camp for 1 night at the Mattole trailhead and then drive into Petrolia that morning to get a bear barrel from the town store.  Over-packed since it was only a 2 day trip instead of 3. 

Day 1: (~ 12 miles)  Left Mattole Campground around 11AM and made it all the way on the main trail to Big Flat.  Impassable sections not really impassable at high tide probably except for one section near Punta Gorda.  Tiring hike in the sand and on the stones but beautiful scenery.  Camped in an awesome fort that night. 

Day 2: (~ 12 miles) Left big flat at ~5AM to get through the huge “impassable” section before the tides came up.  Probably not necessary since most isn’t really impassable.  Got to shelter cover in the early afternoon. 
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