Well I attempted the grizzly lake hike via the hobo gulch trailhead in the trinity alps. The sign at said TH says 17 miles to the meadow. I have heard that the scramble up to the lake adds another two miles but I am unsure of that.
I used the word attempt because I never got to see the lake. My trip was an amazing experience and left me thirsty for more and cutting weight from my pack like crazy.
I left the trailhead at 5:30pm on friday night for my first solo trip. I missed the three way split in the trail and took the low water path at first. After taking off my shoes and crossing I realized that would be a waste of time in the future. I traveled on the trail a few more minutes and came to the second crossing. This one was alot wider and I felt like it was to much for me to tackle being the only person out. I opted to re-trace my steps and try to locate the high trail.
Getting back to the split in the trail I now noticed it was actually a three way split and was able to track down the proper path. Although it was a lose of time and energy in retrospect who doesnt try the low water trail first? I know I will next time I go back.
After all that I ended up around 4 miles down the trail when I knew setting up camp in the dark would happen very soon. I brought my lunar duo and got that setup pretty quick. There was alot of thunder and lightning that only got close as the night rolled on. After coming back from the trip I have now learned obviously of all the fires that lightning storm created all over northern california.
After setting up my tent, gathering a little wood for a small fire and setting up my bear bag rope for later hanging. I got to cook my first dehydrated meal with esbit fuel(bought the $12 cheapy esbit stove to try it all out). I am sold on the system and will be picking up a trapper mug with a new caldera cone asap.
I must say that I slept like a baby. Ear plugs are indispensable now in my kit. Both nights out I slept really well. I used alot of my old gear on this trip because I simply have not been able to scrape together my new ideal setup. I am glad this didnt stop me from this trip which in all my planning I was trying to go as light as possible. Every night out now helps mold my decisions for my future upgrades and my main thought is simplify, simplify, simplify.
It took my 45 minutes to pack up and hit the trail both mornings. I know I could cut alot of that time and thats what I will be working on.
Saturday morning I left camp around 8am. I was only on the trail for about 10 minutes when I came to my first water crossing of the day. It was crossable and with waistbelt undone I took the plunge, shoes and all. I have to say that this decision is what killed my feet the rest of the trip. My feet never had a chance to dry out between that and the next crossing. And after deciding to return back across the second crossing to camp that evening, they never dried. More on that later...
A few miles after crossing the river I came to a cabin assuming it was built by Mr.Jorstad. Quality backcountry living space indeed and remnants of stock pens where still present in the field around the cabin. The outside cooking area was still all setup and has been used by many over the years. I didnt go inside even though its not locked and for some reason someone broke a window on the side of the cabin.
After enjoying a snack I moved on from the cabin and kept truckin up the trail. I was amazed by the forest in this area. It is almost a rain forest in some areas, turning to like a sleepy hollow half burnt forest around the turn. It also has many alpine like traits as well. Between every tree is a view of a peek or a river, waterfalls. The trinity alps truly are a well kept secret. The trails are cut into the sides of steep mountains and it is a rugged place for most of the trail.
After coming to the second water crossing for the day The trail really starts to get a general uphill direction. Leading to this point in the trip it has all been up and downs. This is also farther then any foot traffic on the trail for the season and only animal tracks where my company now. After a few miles the trail really degraded. The amount of fallen timber was impressive. The next few miles I navigated atleast 15-20 downed trees. My body took a beating on some of these but the trekking poles really helped out with overcoming the obstacles. The growing pain from my soggy feet added to my decision to turn around and head back to the cabin for the night. From what I could tell two people on horseback had been through the area before me navigating all the fallen timber and that definitely helped on some of them.
With only 30 minutes to go till I could say I went 24 hours without seeing a single person. I spotted 4 people coming up the trail. I informed them of the deteriorating trail conditions ahead and after learning their plans for the evening I assured them they should have no trouble reaching the creek they where journeying to. Part of me hoped I wouldnt see anyone else while I was out, but it really wasnt that big of a deal.
I got back to the field with the cabin around 7pm that night. I put in by my estimation around 13 miles and can honestly say thats the hardest I have ever pushed myself. Set up camp and bed down a little early. I was extremely tired and my feet welcomed the rest.
Sunday morning I was beat, I still had roughly 9 miles to get out of there and my feet where raw and my shoulders hurt from carrying a 30 pound pack. I experimented by placing a piece of duct tape on all the hotspots on my left foot. An hour down the trail I stopped and taped up my right foot as well. This really did help eliminate the rubbing and helped me blaze trail to the car.
The first day and a half it was overcast, raining(never needed my jacket) and lighting filled the air. I got hailed on and eventually a little tan from the sun. The final day with the sun out, the forest took on a whole new look. I enjoyed my trip and have already planned my return with one extra night to make sure I reach the lake next time. After talking to a friend who has done the shorter trail to grizzly(I passed that trailhead on saturday) he informed me I was only a mile or two from the meadow when I turned around. I think if friday would have been a morning start instead of a 5:30pm start, my chances will be better next time.
My feet recovered fine the next day and now I need to adjust my plan of attack for this scenario in the future.
I really do recommend to anyone to get out and enjoy the trinity area. Wildlife included three deer, countless birds and reptiles including the biggest lizard I have ever seen. Easily 2 foot long with tail. All the wildlife was to fast for my camera but I did manage to take alot of pictures.
I will upload those a little later when I get somemore time...