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Trinity Alps-Caribou/Snowslide Lake
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Michael Sagehorn
(msagehorn) - F
Trinity Alps-Caribou/Snowslide Lake on 07/20/2011 22:32:45 MDT Print View

Hiked in with one old friend and two new ones. We were all in our early 50's and experienced outdoorsman by both experience and professions. My new hiking companions were trail gourmets and we loaded up with a share of fresh and dried food four a five day loop from Big Flat to Caribou Lake, across Sawtooth Ridge, and returning along the Salmon River

After a mid-day start we forded the Salmon River...thigh deep and fast and began a six mile slog out of the canyon. The trail was well marked with plenty of storm deadfalls blocking the trail requiring detours to stay on the trail.

After a late afternoon stop at Brown's Meadow, we made camp and enjoyed a small campfire-rare for the Trinities as this site was outside the no-burn zone. Very few bugs and I slept with the bivy open.

The next day's climb out of the boreal forest brought us into the granite and open country I enjoy. Plenty of spring runoff and the trail wasa mini-stream in several spots. As we came into view of Snowslide Lake and the snowload and snowdepth above Caribou Lakes suggested it was impassable without crampons, rope, and ice axes. Two of our party wore running shoes and we quickly cam up with an alternate plan.

We camped at Snowslide Lake in fairly open spot and after a great meal of jambalaya-fresh sausage, peppers, and onions, we retreated to our bags. At 4 am the rain deluge began. In my bivy, the rain pinged light and heavy, but within three hours it puddled and began to creep in and began to dampen my down bag. Companions in a Megamid had the same issue. Only Jim who carried in a North Face Rock 22 tent with a rainfly was dry. We were all wet, not really cold because we had fleece, wool, and rainshells, but with our bags soaked we decided to bug out and hike back to Big Flat Trailhead.

Unlike the Sierra's where an quick afternoon shower usually fades away, the wet weather in the Trinity Alps tends to stay, fed by Pacific storms. After a long day hiking-mainly downhill we reached the Salmon River, noticably higher. After two pack-on dunkings I got across soaking wet and changed into dry clothes stashed in the Subaru.

Lessons- 1) Fresh food is good 2) In Pacific Northwest type weather, ALWAYS bring a weatherproof tent or shelter 3) Good judgement is lighter than equipment for every contingency 4) River crossings are always a danger not to be taken lightly as you age and your strength is not that of your youth. 5)Get a synthetic bag for wet weather