Monday, June 30, 2003

My Trinity Alps camping trip was great. We left the SF bay area at 10 a.m. and made the 6 hour drive to Trinity Alps. It was a hot drive but not as bad as we expected with the weather forecast for a heat wave. It was good to get to our campsite where it was cooler. We camped in a tent only site on Lewiston Lake. From our tents we could see the lake. That was cool however it did mean we also had mosquitos to deal with in the evenings at dusk. The bugs were not too bad but we did have to fish out mosquito repellent and we both were scratching at several bites at the end of the trip. We had a couple of deer who would visit us by the lake each night. We also saw a little frog under our picnic table and a squirrel ran around with a great big bushy tail. On Wednesday and Thursday nights we did not have any neighbors in the campsite so it was wonderfully quiet and beautiful. Friday night a big group of folks arrived with tons of coolers, fancy camp chairs, big tents, hammocks, boats, and fishing gear. They arrived around 10 p.m. and made quite a lot of noise which was annoying. Oh well, we had two nice quiet evenings.

On Thursday we went on an awesome day hiking to Canyon Creek. We hiked next to the creek and gradually ascended to see some wonderful waterfalls. We had a nice lunch just past a small water fall. After lunch we carried on and saw the middle falls which were awesome. We hiked along the creek some more and found a wonderful swimming hole and decided to take a dip. It was very cold but refreshing. As we were finishing up a woman stopped by and told us that the upper falls were very impressive so we decided to go take a look. They were indeed awesome but hard to see through the woods and hard to get close to to get a better look. We turned around at 7 miles up the creek to return back to the car. The hike down seemed much longer. That seems to happen often on there and back hikes. On the hike out you are all excited and energetic and time and distance flies. On the way back sometimes the energy is gone. We finished up our hike at 6:30 p.m. We drove back to the campground. On the way back, L. suddenly stopped the car. She then pointed out a family of skunks on the side of the road. It was a Mom with her three kids. It was a very cute sight. The little skunks waddled along sticking to Mom's side. We were jazzed to have seen the skunks.

On Friday we went hiking on Blue creek. It was a long drive there and we got lost so added in a few extra miles. BUT, as we turned around to head back to the right road we got to see a bear lumber on to the road. It stopped when it saw our car and headed back to the woods but we got a great view of it. L. was really excited as she is a native Californian and had not yet managed to see a bear in the wild. After losing sight of the bear we headed back to the right road to the trailhead. It was a very small bumpy dirt road. The trail head was about 4 miles in at the end of the dirt road. We got started on the hike to go to Tangle Blue lake. It was 11 a.m. and the first couple of miles of trail were on fire roads being baked by the sun. We were in grumpy moods about that. We finally left the fire road and came to a wonderful meadow with Blue creek running through it. There were wonderful tall Cedar trees and very green swampy areas. We had lunch in the meadow. After lunch we discovered we had to make a stream crossing. I delicately wandered out on a log and lept the last 2 feet to the bank. L. was not up to that so took off her shoes and waded across. We continued on and ran into another possible stream crossing. I shed my day pack and wandered around trying to find the trail to be sure that we did have to go across the stream. I shimmied across a big log over the creek and wandered around and found the trail. But when I came back to fetch L. we both decided we wanted to go back to the meadow and not bother with the stream crossing and seeing Tangle Blue lake. When we got back to the meadow, L. left the trail to check out a yellow flower she saw in the swampy area. She was very excited to discover it was a Pitcher Plant. She had never seen them in the wild before. It was fun to share her excitement over them. We took lots of pictures of them and then continued on through the meadow and back on the fire roads to the car. L. declared the hike on the fire roads worth it to see the Pitcher plants. L. does not stand up well to very exposed hot uphill hikes. That describes the hike on the fire roads! After the hike we stopped at the Country Store and I got some ice cream and L. got orange juice poured over a tall glass of ice. It was great to sip on cold drinks after a hike. We had another nice evening in camp.

Saturday, we went hiking to Eleonor Lake and Shimmy Lake. We had another long windy drive on dirt roads to get to the trail head. It was a hot day. The first part of the hike was nice. We got to Eleonor Lake soon. It was a delightful little lake half covered with Lily Pads with marvelous white pinkish bushes of flowers bordering the lake. It was so very green. At the end of the lake we saw more Pitcher Plants. Then we continued on to Shimmy Lake. It was not a very nice hike. It was often exposed, there were quite a few uphill slogs, and it was hard to find the trail route. It was marked with red flags and cairns (piles of rocks). At times we had to wander all over to find the next cairn or ribbon. The last bit of the hike before Shimmy Lake was shadier and much nicer to hike on. We finally reached Shimmy Lake and renamed it Shimmy swamp. There was hardly any water in the lake. It was still beautiful but I didn't get the swim I was rather looking forward to. We dawdled around at Lake Shimmy for a bit and then headed back. On the way back we got lost because we followed the wrong flags. We found a fire road and wandered around on it and to our relief found a cairn. We followed the cairns and soon discovered that we were heading back to the lake so we turned around and continued on the trail being real careful to follow the right flags and the cairns. We got back just fine but were pretty tired and hot. It was a very hot day. Phew. We had another stop at a store for cold drinks on the way home. About half way home, L. suggested we drive home that night instead of on Sunday to avoid the 100+ temperatures in the Sacramento valley and to get away from our noisy neighbors. We mulled it over and discussed it and saw our last wild life of the trip. We saw a fox run across the road. We were amused that most of our wildlife spotting happened in the car. Any how, we did decide to leave that night. It was a good decision. We avoided the 100+ degree temperatures the next day. I also was tickled to get to sleep in Sunday and have the day to get some stuff done.