Trinity Alps – Long Canyon Trailhead

The majority of hikers use the Long Canyon Trail to reach the Four-Lakes Loop, as I did last September.

Long Canyon trail lined with Dr. Seuss flowers, aka Western pasqueflower (Pulsatilla or Anemone occidentalis).

If you are one of the few who enjoy route finding, hiking off-trail, bushwhacking, and scrambling, you’ll love the lakes hidden behind this ridge.

From Bowerman Meadow, looking up at the ridge sheltering the lakes.

Lake Anna

Billy Be Damned Lake

Sunrise at Lake Anna

Sunbeam reflection upon Lake Anna

Infinity image at Lake Anna


Jan’s Tips:

  • Reference my Trinity Alps Trails Link Page for maps, books, online resources, etc.
  • For travel in the Trinity Alps, I highly recommend having a GPS device. Except for the very popular, over-used trails, most other trails listed on the maps and in guidebooks are overgrown, filled with deadfall or scree, or are nearly non-existent. Some trails have been rerouted, with no updated reference on GPS. For example, on the Bowerman Trail, GPS showed we were on trail, but there was absolutely no evidence for at least a mile.
  • Additional blog postings about related hikes I’ve taken can be found in my Hikes in the Trinity Alps Wilderness category.

Trinity Alps – North Fork Coffee Creek

I go to the wilderness for solitude, so planning a trip for a holiday weekend requires a bit more thought and compromise. Thankfully the Trinity Alps Wilderness has a multitude of trails and access points.

In 2010, I’d taken a day hike from the North Fork Coffee Creek Trailhead to Hodges cabin and had fond memories of the meadows and creeks. With high temperatures predicted and it being prime wildflower season, my goal was to find a plentiful supply of both. Otherwise armed with maps and trail guides, the plan was to make decisions at each junction, my favorite way of hiking.

Cabin Tour:

Hodges Cabin – Sadly this cabin with an interesting history has experienced degradation due to neglect.

This miner’s cabin is supposedly sometimes occupied. Well . . . maybe by vermin.

Frank Schlomberg Cabin – He was a German cabinet maker who built furniture for the Hodges cabin.

The Wolford Cabin. Another reminder of not relying on hiking guidebook accuracy. This 2010 edition indicated that the cabin is open and available, but we found it locked up tight, and degrading like the others.

Wildflower Tour:

The flowers weren’t nearly as prolific as I’d hoped; however, as expected for lower elevation.

Finding this hidden spring-fed paradise was one the highlights of my trip.

Seeing aphids in the wild, accompanied by the ladybug munchers, was another unusual sight.

Lake Tour:

Lower South Fork Lake – a perfect place for swimming and lazing away a few hours.


Interesting rock formation and a peak down into the Scott Valley. On a clear day, you can see Mt Shasta.

Statuesque trees and rocks

Favorite tree

Trinity Alps ranges to the southwest

Creeks and Bridges:

Thankful for these steel bridges since I’m not the most confident with water crossings.

Just one of many refreshing creeks enjoyed during this outing.

Forest Mismanagement?

A lot of unhealthy forest and deadfall, accompanied by poor trail conditions in those areas.

Lest you think this lower elevation trip was a walk in the park.

Jan’s Tips:



Trinity Alps – Stoney Ridge Trailhead

Destination: Van Matre Meadows

Van Matre Meadows are about 5.5 miles 3,000′ elevation gain from the trailhead

The trail rounds the bend to Stonewall Pass while temping hikers with a green shoulder leading to Granite Peak.

At Stonewall Pass, looking north into Red Mountain Meadow

At Stonewall Pass, looking south down at Trinity Lake

Lovely Van Matre Meadows, looking west toward Stuart Fork mountains.

Leaving Van Matre Meadows enroute to Echo Lake and Little Stonewall Pass, subalpine ponds or tide pools can be seen in the Deep Creek Drainage.

From Little Stonewall Pass, looking toward Echo Lake and Granite Peak.

Sunset alpine glow at Echo Lake

Siligo Meadows back dropped by Gibson Peak.

From Deer Creek Pass, looking south at Siligo Meadow and far in the distance Stonewall Pass.

From Deer Creek Pass, looking down at Deer Lake, and across at Siligo Peak (gray granite).

From atop Siligo Peak, looking down at Round Lake, and across to Seven Up and Gibson Peaks. Mt Shasta is visible in the far background.

Seven Up Peak and Mt Shasta

From atop Siligo Peak, looking down at Summit Lake, Siligo & Van Matre meadows. The trail from Deer Lake is off to the left (with a few snow patches remaining). The switchback trail down to Diamond Lake is near the middle of photo).

From the shores of Summit Lake

Another view of Deer Lake (with better lighting)

Sunrise alpine glow in Van Matre Meadow at my campsite.

The timing of this trip was perfect to enjoy wildflowers galore.

Jan’s Tips:

  • The access road is in much better condition than it has been for quite a few years. In my opinion, a high-clearance 4×4 is no longer required.
  • The Stoney Ridge Trail was in superior condition. To my recollection, the best trail condition I’ve encounter in the Trinity Alps in many years.
  • On this low snow year, late June was perfect timing for a fantastic wildflower display; however, many streams were already dry. Planning on water sources normally available could be problematic.
  • Reference my Trinity Alps Trails Link Page for maps, books, online resources, etc. (SUMMER 2014:  Fire Restrictions)
  • Additional blog postings about related hikes I’ve taken can be found in my Hikes in the Trinity Alps Wilderness category.



Lassen – Hat, Terrace and Shadow Lakes

Terrace Lake in front followed by Shadow Lake. Reading Peak stands guard.

There are several trails leading to these lakes. We began from the Paradise Meadow trailhead.

The trail initially follows along the West Fork of Hat Creek, offering easy access and cooling off opportunities.


Paradise Meadow, with Reading Peak off to the left.

Climbing toward the lakes offers great views of Chaos Crags

And views back down into Paradise Meadow, as well as across the valley to Raker Peak and Badger Mountain, areas severely burned in the 2012 28,000 acre Reading fire.

Gorgeous Shadow Lake

Hat Lake is just off the Park Road near the Paradise Meadow trailhead. The West Fork of Hat Creek and seasonal Hat Lake are in this meadow, with Lassen Peak to the right and Crescent Crater visible to the left.

Jan’s Tips:

  • Be prepared for mosquitoes during the early summer months.
  • For map and trail information, reference my Trail Links page.
  • Additional blog postings about related hikes I’ve taken can be found in my Lassen Volcanic National Park category.
  • A park pass is required. One can be accessed at the Visitor’s Center, or your Annual Whiskeytown Park Pass can be used.

The Liebster Award

Jan’s Jaunts and Jabberings!

A few weeks ago I saw the first mention of the Liebster Award on Stick’s blog. With my curiosity piqued, I searched Google to discover a blog entry by Lorraine Reguly describing the rules of this pay-it-forward type award.

I was bestowed this award by my friend Muk Muk who is current blogging as the Serial Nomad.  Last year she had one of the most popular, prolific and emotionally honest blogs while hiking the PCT (Mexico to Canada 2013). I had the privilege of meeting her as she passed through far northern California and happily provided a bit of trail magic while sharing in her journey as an enthusiastic hiker cheerleader.

Over the past few years, as I’ve become more entrenched in the hiking, backpacking, PCT/AT/CDT world, I’ve found it’s very interconnected, with social media providing introductions and opening many doors. This award offers me the opportunity to introduce my readers to some of my favorite bloggers and through their blogs more favorites, more opportunities, and so the chain continues.

By accepting this award,

Rule #1 – answer the 11 questions provided by Muk Muk

1. What did you want to be when you grew up?

I’d like to say a hiker or backpacker, but I think that’d be lying . . . so instead I’ll say I had mountains and wilderness in my blood. My dad worked for the forest service with lookout radio maintenance as one of his jobs and my mom spent her early years living in a lookout.

2. What’s your most memorable dream?

Dream? I dream of dreaming! REM sleep seems to elude me, so I’ll settle for the pleasant daydreams I have occasionally but nothing to write home about.

3. Do you believe in fate and/or destiny?

I believe things happen for a reason.

4. What makes you really happy?

This one’s easy, look at my blog. Trees, the smell of pine, beautiful clear alpine lakes, gray granite, snow covered peaks, clouds, sunrises and sunsets . . .

5. What’s the kindest thing another human-being has ever done for you?

My friend Norma taught me to be me. I was extremely fortunate to have met Norma in my early 20’s. If not for her, I would have lived a much different life, one I fear would have been filled with much unhappiness.

6. What’s the kindest thing you’ve done in return?

Good question, I think I’ll let my friends answer that one.

7. Where does fear prevent you from travelling to?

Up until this past year, solo backpacking was a fear which prevented me from traveling to areas on my bucket list. After conquering this fear, I’m excited to go forth and conquer!

8. If you could have one super power, what would it be?

I’ll request two. First is TIME and the second is life balance, something that has seriously eluded me.

9. Who would you most wish to sit next to on a 14-hour flight?

Might as well put Muk Muk first on that list.

10. How do you make the world a better place?

I love to teach and share, and I hope that by sharing my passions, a few find the world a happier place.

11. Other than love, complete the sentence: All we need is….?

Money? at least enough to buy our play toys and to travel :)

Friends? absolutely! they enrich my world

Time? wandering and wondering would make the world a better place

Rule #2 – Nominate 11 bloggers

Since I’m a bit of a renegade rule breaker, I choose to nominate 5.

1. Lady on a Rock

2. The New Nomads

3. Embracing the Path

4. The Mountains are Calling

5. Rambling Hemlock

Rule #3 – Provide those nominees with 11 questions

1. How old were you when you first camped? hiked? backpacked?

2. What piece of outdoor gear have you had the longest (that you still use)? what is it and why have you not replaced it?

3. Do you have a favorite wilderness area? or favorite trail?

4. When on an outdoor adventure, what is your favorite time of day?

5. What is your favorite season and why?

6. Do you have a favorite outdoor adventure related book, film, or website that you like to recommend?

7. Who was/is your outdoor adventure mentor?

8. What has been your most memorable misadventure?

9. What lesson(s) would you most like to share about trail life?

10. They say we pack our fears in our backpack, what fear do you pack in yours?

11. Name one item near the top of your bucket list.

Rule #4

 Thank You Muk Muk for the Nomination



Trinity Alps – Foster and Lilypad Lakes

Ridge, Valley, Ridge, Valley . . .

Looking for an easy hike? Looking for flat topography? These traits are rare in the Trinity Alps Wilderness. Views are earned, step by step, one ridge and valley at a time.

The Boulder Lake trailhead, near Coffee Creek, was the access point for this trip. Many refer to this as Big Boulder Lake due to nearby Little Boulder Lake, and as a way to reduce confusion with others in the Trinity Alps including Boulder Creek Lakes and East, Middle and West Boulder Lakes.

Boulder Lake

Heading north from Boulder Lake, the first ridge provides views of the Russian Wilderness and tucked just behind, visible on a clear day, the Marble Mountain Wilderness. Just to the right, cloaked in clouds, is Mt Shasta.

Conway and Lion Lakes (looking south/southeast)

Foster Lake (looking west)

Pick a seat, any seat, for outstanding sunset views.

Another ridge, another view! Looking west at Red Rock and Caribou Mountains.

From the ridge looking west down into the Union Creek drainage.

A bit of semi-flat meadows can be found in the valleys. Looking south/southeast toward the Parker Divide.

Within a short distance, the topography changes from lush meadows to dry, rocky terrain (looking east).

Looking south into the Parker Creek drainage and across at multiple ranges including Seven Up, Gibson, Siligo, Mumford, Tri-Forest, Caribou, Sawtooth, Caesar Cap and Thompson.

Looking north down Poison Canyon toward Mt Shasta. Thumb Rock to the left, Ycatapom Peak to the right. Lilypad Lake is in the basin.

Even more mountains visible to the west from this ridge top location.

Lilypad Lake (looking south at the ridge where the previous photo was taken)

Thumb Rock

To the right is Ycatapom Peak, below is Lilypad Lake. Looking northeast down Poison Canyon.

Looking down at Big Boulder Lake, and to the north Russian and Marble Wilderness areas, and Mt Shasta.

Mt Shasta

Jan’s Tips:

  • Reference my Trinity Alps Trails Link Page for maps, books, online resources, etc.
  • Due to budgetary constraints, many of the trails shown on maps and published in guidebooks may no longer be maintained. On this particular hike, a GPS and maps were needed. Parts of the trail were snow covered, others were non-existent, or blocked by down trees.  The Forest Service Trail Condition Report should also be referenced.
  • Additional blog postings about related hikes I’ve taken can be found in my Hikes in the Trinity Alps Wilderness category.

Deadfall Lakes – Weather or not?

Mother Nature loves to show her fickle side in spring. Forecasters have a 50/50 chance of being in sync with her moods. When they predict 30% chance of precipitation, I say 70% chance of no precipitation. But, then again, do I want to be wet? or cold? or snowed upon? On this particular weekend, forecasters said 30% chance on Friday, 50% on Saturday. I decided to roll the dice and selected Deadfall Lakes as my destination.

Middle Deadfall Lake

It’s extremely unusual to be able to access this area in the spring. The pass doesn’t usually open until late June or early July.

From July 2, 2010 (the day after the pass opened)

There are two primary access points to reach the Deadfall Lakes basin. First, via the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail), heading south from Parks Creek Pass or north from the Gumboot trailhead. Or, second, from the Deadfall Meadows trail, the one I selected for this adventure.

In the early season, this trail should be avoided. It’s a catchment for snow melt and creek overflow, and as a LNT (Leave No Trace) promoter, traveling off trail or widening paths in sensitive areas is inappropriate. Later in the season, this meadow has the most beautiful wildflowers and water plants including the magical carnivorous pitcher plant.

As with any wilderness area, the WILD in WILDerness should be expected. Meadows, thickets and nearby creeks are perfect habitat for bears. On this day, just beyond the trail sign, in front of those thickets, was the blackest, shiniest-coated bear I’ve ever had the privilege of seeing.

Along the way I was treated to creek crossings and a couple of early blooms. Opportunities exist to replenish your water and to get your feet wet.

Lower Deadfall Lake (looking north)

Lower Deadfall Lake (looking south toward Middle Deadfall Lake)

Tucked in out of the wind, watching the building and receding storm clouds at Middle Deadfall Lake

By 8pm, the wind had died down and the skies were clearing.

9pm is hiker’s midnight, all is calm. The question remains, did I hedge my precipitation probability bet correctly?

At 4:30am, snow cometh; it didn’t last long, just enough to pitter-patter upon the tent and leave a trace of evidence. A few more offerings were made; on/off, on/off, on/off . . . . (photo time about 8:30am)

By 9:30, things were looking pretty good and it looked like Mother Nature was being kind to me.

Evidence of the tiny bit of snow. The weather continued to be fickle with storms clouds, wind, and snow showers coming and going making the decision of the day’s plan more challenging.

By 11:30, Mother Nature released her fury. With the skies socked in, there was no reason to hike for views, and no sense spending hours secluded in my tent (since I’d already lollygagged away the morning), thus it was time to high-tail it off the mountain.

It snowed and sleeted all the way down the trail, reminding me of how quickly the trail can become masked by snow-covered topography.

What was a dry easy log crossing becomes a dangerous obstacle when covered with snow and ice.

Looking back up at the mountains whence I’d come reaffirmed my decision to hike out vs hunkering down and waiting out the storm.

Memories are made from taking chances and expecting the unexpected, while making wise decisions about weather and conditions. Planning and preparation are keys to success. On this trip, I brought gear for inclement weather, notified others of my whereabouts and plans, had maps, compass, and electronics to assist in my travels if need be.

Jan’s Tips:

  • This area is loosely considered part of the Klamath Mountains, Mount Eddy range, and Shasta-Trinity Divide Mountains. For purposes of this blog, I’ve categorized the various mountain ranges that parallel Interstate-5’s western side from Castella to Gazelle, as the Shasta-Trinity Divide Mountains.
  • Reference my Trinity Divide Trails Link Page for maps, books, online resources, etc.
  • For day and multi-day access points along the PCT, I recommend the book, “Day Hikes on the Pacific Crest Trail – California” by George and Patricia Semb.
  • Information about the PCT can be found on my PCT Love page.
  • Additional blog postings about related hikes I’ve taken can be found in my Hikes in the Trinity Divide Mountains category, Hikes near Mt Shasta category, and PCT Hikes category.