Trinity Alps Backpacking Trip – June 20-23, 2013

Car camping at Ripstein Campground
Ernie hustles up the trail.
Ted and Angie strike a pose.
It's Alan, Owen and Ernie (L>R) turn for a pose.
Stopping to wait for the slow poke photographer.
A little moment along the way.

Here’s a quick summary of my backpacking trip to the Canyon Creek area of the Trinity Alps, which included camping one night at Lower Canyon Creek Lake, one night at Upper Canyon Creek Lake and a day hike up and down, to and from L Lake, about a 2 mile round trip with 1,000 feet of elevation gain.

Owen, Ernie, Angie and Ted joined me in a caravan to the Market Street Steakhouse in Redding where we had a great dinner on Thursday evening. At about 9:30 pm, we arrived at the Ripstein Campground just a mile from the trailhead parking.

We gathered ourselves together and started hiking at about 8:30 am on Friday morning and made the trek up to the Lower Canyon Creek Lake, where we chose to set up camp. It appeared that many, many folks chose to camp along the creek before getting to this lower lake.

On Saturday morning, we all packed up and headed for Upper Canyon Creek Lake just a scant mile away. From there, we headed up a steep mile (1,000 vertical feet or so) over some boulders and brush to L Lake. Although we had considered camping there, a very quick tour of the small L Lake convinced us that the bug population was so heavy that staying would have been a miserable experience. So we headed back down to the Upper Canyon Creek Lake.

Regretfully, I don’t always feel steady on slippery granite or logs over creeks, so I was thankful for Son’s Ted watchful eye. Luckily the only tumble I took on the trip was into some rather soft, decomposing dirt.

Saturday afternoon was spent leisurely around Upper Creek Lake where we set up camp. The promised storm began to fill the sky and create a haze over the big moon. At about 2:00 am, it started to sprinkle, and I scrambled to put the rain fly over my tent. Luckily, the wind was slight, the fly was stable, and I woke up dry.

We packed out on Sunday morning in the continuing drizzle. Not surprisingly, the longer eight mile hike from Upper Lake took about four hours for the return, while the inbound trek of seven miles to Lower Lake took about six. All-in-all, we covered about 18 miles and 4,000 feet of elevation gain (and subsequent loss) over the three days.

Thanks to my hiking partners for a great trip!


Personal weight at return = 190.3

Pack weight at return = 20.3

Calculated pack weight 22.2 pounds (with food estimate). The above seems reasonable given that some food was eaten and it didn’t include half liter of water. I took 1.9 pounds of clothes layers that I didn’t touch plus the day pack.

With a little more foresight, I could have easily packed at 18 pounds carried.

Things to remember for next trip:

  • Toe and regular blister band aids
  • Medical card, in addition to driver license, cash, credit card
  • Extra underwear
  • Check boots/shoes for insoles
  • Orthotics
  • Powdered milk available at Target

Things I packed and didn’t use:

  • Mid-weight Patagonia long johns tops and bottoms
  • Ultralight pillow
  • Awning pole
  • Five tent stakes
  • Liner gloves
  • Day pack
  • Most first aid
  • Some food
Things to consider for next trip:
  • Tick kit
  • Camp shoes?

Trinity Alps Training

2013-06-25 [Tuesday]

Back to the gym.

2013-06-24 [Monday]

Day off. Dog walk.

2013-06-23 [Sunday]

Hiked out to trailhead from Upper Lake. Eight miles and gave back 2,800 vertical feet.

2013-06-22 [Saturday]

Hiked to Upper Lake and L Lake. Three miles and 1,000 vertical feet.

2013-06-21 [Friday]

Hiked to Lower Canyon Lake. Seven miles and 2,600 vertical feet.

2013-06-20 [Thursday]

No workout, just short dog walk. Left for Trinity Alps.

2013-06-19 [Wednesday]

Took dog on dog walk. Finished preliminary packing for trip (ie, ready to load car). Round trip bike ride to gym and return. Didn’t complete intended workout because I forgot the bicycle lock.


Peggy in ICU today. Rode three bike segments, about 9, 3.5 and 3 I would say. Did new workout at the gym. Ate really late (2pm) and stopped at Daphne’s for a couple of to-go plates. Had vegetable DeLite pizza and beer for dinner. Diet is drifting. Must be careful.


Today, took a milder hike, because of timing. Had to get going.


The fact that I had a long meeting for CMNC rather screwed up my day. I got up early and took the dog for a good walk, then from 9:00-3:00 and beyond. I ate the coffee cake and pasta/chicken/fruit/nuts salad that Becky prepared. Got myself to the gym, but frustrated that it was too hot late in the day to ride to the gym. Did the workout. Went out for Mexican food. Chips, salsa, pork carnitas with beans, rice, flour tortilla, another salsa. I needed that dietary break. So skipped on bike workout.


After the Friday rest day, I can tell it is going to be hard to get going. Damn it, I feel lazy. What to do. What to do.

So got my butt in gear and loaded up to do a hike today. Decided on the loop to the Black Point Summit.

Annoyed that I left my new camera and my hiking poles at home. Made do with my phone as a camera, and the shots came out decently.

As promised by the park volunteer, this trail was famous for sharing ticks, and sure enough I brought one home in my calf. Thankfully, Susan skillfully removed it with a credit card and tweezers.

Came home and weighed in at 190.3. Lots of water weight lost, of course.

Diet was all screwed up. Ate some strawberries before heading out, had a nonfat latte on the way to the park. When I got home around 2:00 pm, I felt very tired and not at all like eating. I downed two Gatorades, ran errands, then stuck a Costco Angus burger into the microwave around 5:00 pm. We ate at Gene and Joyce’s at about 7:30 pm. Had two wraps of avocado, black beans, corn, and onions, plus one square of a lemon bar and a small piece of apricot pie. Not horrible, but certainly completely off my diet plan.


View of Clayton from the trail.
Almost to the summit!
Westerly view of Walnut Creek and environs.
Westerly view of Walnut Creek and environs.



Took a short dog walk. Thinking about going to bike store to scope out lights for late night riding. And we did. On a second dog walk. All set for night riding now. Or even day riding.

Diet was good up until late night. Oatmeal, strawberries, milk, vitamins, celery, peanut butter, chicken, half of a baked potato, spinach, steak, mushrooms, grilled zucchini, salad. Had beer, red wine, and found the cookies late night. Did some damage to the cookies.

Other than the two dog walks, made Friday a rest day.


So today will be interesting. I agreed to an early lunch meeting in Kentfield with Bill Horne and Joanna Pinckney about the relationship and process between COM and CMNC. Bill chose a breakfast place that looks quite good, but I’ll face a challenge finding a reasonable meal to stay close to my diet. I guess I really lost a lot of water weight on my strenuous hike yesterday. Weighed in at 193.0 this morning. Off to the gym this morning on the way to the meeting, and hopefully I will be able to muster the energy for a bike ride this afternoon. Hope it doesn’t get too hot. Oh, that’s right, we have Shakespeare tonight also. And it is predicted to be 85 here this afternoon. Ouch. And so, my bike ride was missed for today. By the time I got home, shopped for dinner and prepped dinner, there was not sufficient time AND it was much too hot for me. I’m disappointed since tomorrow was to be a full rest day. Of course, I could use it, since I have lots of stuff to do and between diet and exercise, I’m spending most of my days focused on those two things. Breakfast was okay, ordered a scramble of three eggs with veges, no cheese, the potatoes (half a baked in on this weeks plan) and had the slice of kiwi and orange. My “cheat” was to eat three slices of whole wheat toast. Dinner was great. 8 oz of grilled, plain chicken breast on a big salad that included 1.5 eggs, spinach, butter lettuce, kale, radish, green olives, green beans, corn, tomato, green onions…..


Unfortunately, runkeeper invokes a pause more frequently than one actually pauses. I’m only guessing that it loses signal with the satellite. The map that runkeeper generated was so littered with start and stop details that I decided to scan the map that I used. Weighed in after this hike at 192.7. My target before going on the Trinity Alps hike (next Friday) hike was 187. Started at over 200.

Today’s diet was screwed up. Had a banana before I went out. After the hike, I didn’t really get front and center in the kitchen until about 12:30 and made oatmeal, had soy milk and vitamins. Felt really burned out. Like I needed a nap. But I had to go out and about and I did. By the time I got home, it was 4:00 pm. Finally grabbed a peanut butter and celery snack and merged lunch and dinner together. Had about 8 ounces grilled chicken breast, salad, half baked potato, a cup of steamed spinach. Nothing else for the day. No alcohol. Just felt really tired. So much so that I went to bed at 11:30 and didn’t wake up for good until 7:00 am.



Good breakfast. Oatmeal, blueberries, glass of milk, vitamins. Bike rides to and from gym and did an excellent new workout with trainer. Will plan to repeat it on Thursday.


Started off the day with a dog walk/hike up into Lime Ridge. Would like to have had more time, and hoping to arrange for a hike up Mt. Diablo to get more hill climbing in.

Screwed up the diet somewhat. Didn’t get breakfast until about 1:30 pm. Had oatmeal, blueberries, milk, vitamins. Later had celery and peanut butter. Had a second celery and peanut butter before luncg/dinner. Merged lunch and dinner. New York steak, half baked potato (dry), salad, 2 cups of cooked fresh spinach. Did not have fruit snack later (dropped this week in the diet.) Cheated on several crackers and beer while waiting for Susan to return home from real estate visits.


So, yesterday was crash and burn day. Had a small but not disciplined lunch at the Annual Senza Ritmo picnic, including some salad greens, a rice salad, a couple of pita chips (4?) with hummus and a small portion of another non-descript casserole, a small piece of brie cheese and a small slice of homemade (Sandy Watkins) strawberry pie (mostly big, ripe, strawberries.) After shopping at Costco and Nob Hill, cratered in the heat, had beer and crackers for dinner and worked on the afternoon’s video to post to Vimeo. Hope to make today a better day.

Need to:

  • Bike ride/Workout
  • Work on COM Workshop Director’s Report
  • Get some progress on the Jazz Combos audio and video tapes
  • Attend quintet wedding rehearsal at Tom’s in Oakland
  • Eat right
  • Practice jazz

Just got back from a dog walk, now off on the bicycle to the gym.

Bike to and from gym and workout completed!

All meals on schedule. Orange, oatmeal, apple, 4 oz. chicken, 1 cup zucchini, white rice. Added small glass 1% milk with vitamins. Had the celery and peanut butter snack, Chicken with artichoke and capers, steamed broccoli and salad for dinner. A cup of blueberries late. And cheated on more crackers and white wine.


Started out the day with a dog walk. Now off to breakfast and the quintet rehearsal at Senza Ritmo. Wanted to get the walk in early since it was quite hot (100+) yesterday and likely will be today as well.


Cheated on my diet around dinner last night by having white wine and roasted almonds. Oh well.

Started today off with a hike with the pack and the dog in Castle Rock Park.

Trying to get comfortable with the small new Canon PowerShot SD 780 IS that I bought on eBay. At less than five ounces, it is one of the few point and shoot cameras that still has a viewfinder (and optical zoom) to aid in framing in bright light conditions when the LCD panel is really hard to view. This camera was discontinued and its features have not been replaced in subsequent Canon offerings.

As for today’s diet, pretty good. Had the breakfast oatmeal, banana, snack apple, glass of milk with vitamins galore, lunch of grilled chicken breast, white rice and raw tomato, celery and peanut butter snack, salad, steamed broccoli, and avocado three-egg omelette with small amount of cheese. The cheese is a deviation from the diet; both the cheese and the eggs have more fat than anticipated. I suspect my overall calorie count was still good. And I forgot to pick up blueberries at the store today, so no dessert.


Imagine my surprise when I weighed at home after bicycling to the gym. It showed I’ve dropped six pounds since Monday. That’s probably a fair bit of water weight, but the 1,200 calories I’m eating are probably helping out.

It’s a good ride, and I did a few more things in the gym than I did on Monday. I’m considering working with a trainer on Friday.

Food has gone well today, so far. Oatmeal, banana, apple, milk and vitamins, leftover tri-tip, rice, squash, celery with peanut butter, and coming soon, chicken with capers and artichokes, broccoli and salad. More blueberries on tap for tonight.


So yesterday, I did have a bit of chicken, chips and salsa for lunch. Wanted to clear out the salsa I had bought, a weak substitute for the rice and zucchini I was planning.

I grabbed the celery and peanut butter as planned.

For dinner: marinated tri-tip, mushrooms with a bit of olive oil and wine, grilled asparagus drizzled with olive oil. Big salad (romaine, tomatos, olives, radish, avocado. Purposely lacking carbs.

No alcohol.

Had a raspberry snack with movie. One cup.

Pretty good start.

For this morning, had a pithy orange (not much of it), glass of 1% milk with vitamins and a serving (1 cup raw) of oatmeal. Next up, an apple snack.

Thanks to my son, Ted, for this idea. I think I will pack some clothes into my pack  to bring it’s weight up for my training hikes. At least for now, easier to get loaded up and will keep me from putting off the practice hikes while sorting through all the gear. Actually decided to load 10 pounds of weights into my bear cannister. With my tent and sleeping bag, this bring the weight up to 18.4 pounds. I’m seeing that 17-20 pounds is a reasonable weight for a short trip based on Ernie’s spreadsheets detailing his previous trip pack weights. So this is a good training weight to get familiar with the pack.

Lunch went well. 4 oz of last night’s tri-tip, some rice and a steamed zucchini as planned.

Next up, celery and peanut butter snack. But before the snack, Tap and I went out for a short trip with the 18.4 pound pack. Not a very long trip this time. Wading into all of these activities. Wanting to stay the course.

Dinner of grilled chicken, grilled asparagus, salad, and zucchini and yellow squash in tomato sauce. Use a bit of oil on the asparagus.

Finished off the night with a cup of blueberries.


Consider bringing audio recording gear.

So I decided I’d better start working up to the Trinity Alps trip.

Yesterday, I decided to stop consuming alcohol.

Today, I got the bicycle together and rode it 10+ miles down to the 24 Hour Fitness in Walnut Creek. My plan is to ride down three days a week, on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. I get awfully bored using the aerobics machines in the gym, and given it’s summertime, what better way to get in two 30 minute aerobic sessions?

I did a few crunches on the bench, a few leg presses with light weight and some chest presses, with hands both vertical and horizontal.

Next, I want to start packing up gear into the new backpack, and on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and/or Saturday take the dog up into Castle Rock Park with a loaded pack. This will allow me to get used to fit and adjustments, as well as condition my body for a the actual load I intend to carry.

I am also trying to start back with the fitness diet today. And take all of my “pills”.

So far today, coffee, glass of 1% milk, banana, apple, oatmeal.

Added weight to Set goal of 187 by the hike. Starting at 200.2.

Trinity Alps – Canyon Creek Trail – Planning Notes – 6/20-23/2013

Photo by Alan Grinberg. Re-posted with permission. See for more of his photos.
See also this link to Alan’s Flikr account for more Trinity Alps photos.
Link to Ernie Bonacum’s photos of Trinity Alps Wilderness – 2003


Planning Notes for the June 20-23, 2013 Backpacking Trip

Link to this page
Trinity Alps Trail Condition Report – 20130514

Excerpt: “Canyon Creek Trail #10W08 – The trail is free of snow to each set of lakes. The creek crossing up to Canyon Creek Lakes (at the bottom of Lower Canyon Creek Lake’s granite approach slope) has been reported by hikers as ‘passable’. All the campsites are now melted off at LCCL and UCCL. The force of the water flow out of Upper Canyon Creek Lake is not currently known. Be very cautious if you plan to cross this outflow on your way to ‘L’ Lake. You definitely don’t want to get washed away at this outflow…

Trinity Alps Trail Condition Report – 20130605

Excerpt: Remember, the current Forest Order for Canyon Creek specifies that there are
(absolutely no exceptions) for anyone caught in violation of this Forest Order.

USDA Forest Service Page for Trinity Alps Wilderness (1)

USDA Forest Service Page for Trinity Alps Wilderness (2)

Frequently Asked Questions (bears, mountain lions, etc.)

US Forest Services Ranger Station
210 Main
Weaverville, CA
(530) 623-2121 ‎ ·
gps: 40.735966,-122.946818

Wilderness permits and campfire permits are required before entering the wilderness. Campfire permits are needed for the operation of a backpacking stove or camp stove.

Trail Descriptions

Click here to view or download Excerpt One

Click here to view or download Excerpt Two

Driving arrangements (TBD)

2.5 hours from Williams to Weaverville according to google maps.

3.8 hours from Pleasant Hill BART to Weaverville according to google maps.

Thursday, June 20
Dinner – 6:30 pm – meet at restaurant (TBD) in Redding (restaurant suggestions welcome)

Suggestion from Owen Lee: Black Bear Diner

Suggestion from Tim Nisson, Susan’s cousin and a lawyer in Redding:  There is a great steakhouse in downtown Redding called Jack’s on California Street.  They don’t take checks and the wait time can be up to an hour, but its really good.  There is another one called Market Street Steakhouse which is also good and does take reservations. Have fun.

I made a reservation for five at 6:30 pm here:

Thursday, June 20
Car camp at Trailhead

Friday, June 21
Leave trailhead early, camp at Lower Canyon Creek Lake

Saturday, June 22
Free day – Upper Canyon Creek Lake, L Lake

Sunday, June 23 
Hike out, drive home