Sunday, July 8, 2012

Trinity Wilderness Backpacking Part 1 of 3

Around the 4th of July this year we went on a 4 day backpacking trip in the Trinity Wilderness. There are three posts about this trip on our blog:

Part 1 (this part): The description of our route and the food
The last post in the series: Our day trip to Canyon Creek Lakes

Let's get to it!

The Route:

We parked at the Stuart Fork trailhead. There is a simple campground there, but we just slept in the van in the trail parking area. On the first day, we hiked up past Morris Meadows. The trail stayed mostly in the forest, following Stuart Fork. The meadows were very pretty with several deer grazing. Our plan wasn't set in stone until we reached the trail junction with the option to hike up and over to Caribou Lake. This trail has 98 switchbacks! We decided to continue on Stuart Fork, and camped just a short distance beyond that junction. 

After setting up camp, we hiked (sans packs!) up to Emerald Lake and found a nice campsite up there too. The lake was gorgeous, and we took some pictures (in on-and-off rain, but quite warm temperatures). This day we saw many people but no one was camping near us. We hiked probably 14 miles including the trip to Emerald Lake.

The next morning, we hiked back down through Morris Meadows to the Deer Creek Trail. We hiked up and over Bear Gap in the trees, and down the other side to meet up with Deer Creek. After crossing the creek twice within a quarter mile, we continued on through more meadows and up up up to Deer Lake. We stopped for lunch and I wearily eyed the trail, which scaled the seemingly steep bowl surrounding Deer Lake. Once we hiked up that trail (and across many snow fields) I was doing OK (the trail was fairly steep and the snow was...snowy). It actually wasn't that bad (I say this now!), but I was VERY relieved when we reached the pass and hiked down to Summit Lake. Gorgeous! And silent. No more running water now. This day we saw 4 people and we were the only ones camping at Summit Lake. We hiked approximately 12 miles.

Upon closer inspection of the map that evening, we realized we had to go back over that same pass and back across the snowfields and up the other side of the same bowl around Deer Lake! Aaah! Actually it was fine. Before we left our site, Adam checked out the top of Siligo Peak. Then we retraced our steps above Deer Lake, and continued up the other side and over the other pass and down into Siligo Meadows. Through the Meadows, and up and over Little Stonewall Pass to Echo Lake. We couldn't find any good campsites around Echo Lake, so continued on the trail down below the lake to several great sites. We picked the best one and set up. Around this camp there were small wet meadows and lots of running water, but almost no mosquitos! The view of Van Matre Meadows with the sun setting was amazing. We agreed this was our favorite campsite of the trip. This day we saw 6 people but we were the only ones camping in this region. This day we probably went 5+ miles.

On the last day, we packed up and hiked up and over Stonewall Pass. After taking pictures at the top, we started our LOOOOOOONG descent! (~5100' to descend) Along Stoney Ridge Trail we descended for 5 miles, which probably took two hours. From that trailhead, we still had a LONG way to go to get back to Stuart Fork and our van. From the maps, we had hoped to take a trail from Stoney Ridge to Stuart, but as it turns out--that trail hasn't been maintained for years and doesn't exist anymore (even though it's on the maps!). So we used our GPS to help us navigate the fire roads (which aren't on maps) until the road ended and we took a short part of the original "trail" to cut down to the road to the Stuart Trailhead. This part was flagged with pink flagging in the trees but was NOT a trail! It was "guided bushwacking" and was really steep and hard to navigate. But--we made it. And still had 2 miles left to go on the road to get back to the van! This last day was probably 12 miles.

The Food:

We dehydrated all of our food and created all of our meals for this trip. Our biggest resource was Chef Glenn on his website. Highly recommended!

Day 1:

Lunch: Summer sausage, triscuits, nectarines, apple jerky, trail mix, nuts, dried fruit, goldfish crackers
Dinner: Burritos! These were amazing. Filling: 1/2 a can of black beans, dried; 3/4 lb ground beef, dried; 1/2 a jar of salsa, dried---add boiling water. We added pepper jack cheese, cabbage, and goldfish crackers in a whole wheat tortilla. Great!
Dessert: Dried fruit (peaches, nectarines, apples, pears, plums, strawberries) mixed with boiling water, cocoa powder, ovaltine, and cinnamon sugar (to make a sweet soft fruit topping) and served over dried angelfood cake.

Day 2:

Breakfast: Oatmeal with protein powder, dried apples, cinnamon sugar and granola topping (homemade granola)
Lunch and snacks: Hummus, triscuits, tortillas, 1 packet of Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut butter (which is great), trail mix, apple jerky, goldfish crackers, a cookie.
Dinner: Annie's mac and cheese with added extra cheese and protein powder, dried mixed veggies, dried deli meat (cook noodles with veg and meat to rehydrate then add cheese sauce). This one was a little weird, we think it was a taste problem between the deli meat, cheese sauce and veggies. We thought it actually might be better with rice, cheese sauce (no protein), and ground meat.
Dessert: 1 package of shortbread cookies shared and we ate the rest for breakfast on Day 3

Day 3:
Breakfast: Pistachio pudding with dry milk, sweet potato oats with dry apples, raisins, cinnamon sugar, protein powder and granola topping
Lunch: Cheese (shelf stable weird american stuff we might not buy again), triscuits, trail mix, apple jerky, cookie, Justin's nut butter 1 packet, goldfish crackers
Dinner: Dried potatoes, ground turkey, mixed veggies with cheese sauce [no protein powder] and creole seasoning--this was great. The potatoes were really good.
Dessert: Chocolate pudding with 1 packet of shortbread cookies shared.

Day 4:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with protein powder, dried strawberries, mini chocolate chips and granola topping
Lunch and snacks: everything we have left

What was leftover:
Some goldfish crackers
Hummus mix
1 triangle weird cheese

Please view our photos in the next two posts! See links at the top.

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