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?

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