The Lassen National Forest Caribou Wilderness backpack trip was fun despite one full day of rain. The trip turned into a base camp backpack. We hiked 2.5 miles or so to Emerald Lake on Friday. We set up camp with a blue sky and sun. We had a swim in the lake, ate dinner, and headed to bed around 9ish. CCC and I planned to sleep outside rather than in our tent but after 20 minutes it started to sprinkle on us so we moved into our tent. Soon the rain was coming down hard. It rained steadily all night. We woke up to a steady rain and a puddle under our tent and the decision from our leader W that we would not backpack to Triangle lake today because of all the rain.
First thing that morning we spent a good two hours or so putting up tarps to give us shelter from the rain for cooking etc. Three women on the trip decided to hike back to the cars that day and bail on the rest of the trip. 8 of us stayed. CCC and I took a walk in the rain while the 3 women were being hiked back to the cars. It was a gentle rain on the walk. We headed towards Rim Lake but never got there. We turned around before we found the lake to head back to camp. The rain finally started to let up a bit by dinner time. We had a nice dinner under the tarps. K. managed to get a fire lit that night with the few bits of dry wood we were able to scrounge up from the woods. That was one of the best camp fires I have ever stood around. We were all a bit chilled and it was so warm to sit around that fire. When we headed to bed that night it wasn't too rainy.
When we woke up the next day the sun was out and the skies were mostly clear. CCC, K., and I took a morning skinny dip in the lake before breakfast. If the weather was nice our leader, W., said we were going to backpack to Triangle lake, but W.'s plan was voted down with the alternate plan of staying at Emerald Lake a third night and doing a day hike to Triangle Lake that day. We had a marvelous day hike. Big puffy white clouds rolled in and out all day long. We got sprinkled on a tiny bit at lunch. We swam at Triangle lake at lunch. It was cold but fun. On the way back to camp we lost the trail and had to bush wack part of the way to Cowboy lake until we found the trail again. We climbed over lots of downed trees. We finally got back to Emerald Lake at 6:30 p.m. Most of us went for a dip in the lake again. We had another roaring campfire that night.
The next day we were hiking back to the cars. The day dawned to another day of big puffy clouds sprinkled in the sunny blue sky. We were all done with morning dips, breakfast, and packing up by 11 a.m. and had a very mellow backpack to the cars. In all we only backpacked about 5 miles but we day hiked about 12 miles and endured the day of relentless rain. It was a fun trip despite the rainy day. The drive home was nice. We didn't run into any traffic at all -- just zoomed right back to the bay area with no problems.