Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Hello Internets,

It was a frustrating week following the Hetch Hetchy trip, but that is stuff for one of my other blogs. Anyways, I'm left alone for the July 4 holiday, so I repacked and did a solo foot tour of Eastern Lassen Volcanic National Park. It was one of the few areas I could reach without fires, and good air quality.

Day 1 : I entered the trail system through bumpass hell, toured kings creek falls via upper meadow, picked up the PCT north thru Coral Meadow, continuing thru Grassy Swale , around horseshoe lake, along Cameron Meadow, and settled down at Jakey Lake for dinner.

Day 2: I packed up my Jakey lake site, and played spot the dot to widow lake, continuing around butte lake, along the fantastic lava beds, around cinder cone, taking Nobles Emigrant trail to Badger Flat, before catching the PCT south thru cluster lakes, twin lakes, echo lake, summit lake, up to terrace lake via cliff lake and shadow lake, hike along the road to the car.

I pushed out four uphill miles after 8PM to try to catch the 8:40PM sunset at terrace lake. Not bad. I missed it by a few minutes, but it was still as site to see. I gave myself a pat on the back for the effort, given I had an injured knee, and I broken shoe. I think my total distance was close to 38 miles for the overnight trip, about 16 the first day and 22 the second.

I made some spicy tomato sauce with lentils last night, I'll be using that as the base for my dinner on my trip next week.

I'm not going to apologize for the large number of pictures, enjoy and thanks for reading,

When I travel solo, I leave a map on the dash of my car for the ranger. This is the map I left for this trip. I leave my auto information with my boss, and also mention the map on my wilderness permit. I deviated from my mapped route at badger flat, deciding to cut carried weight, and stay close to the lakes to save energy for the final charge uphill.

Avoiding the crowd, I left the trail and circled back into the bumpass hell area

Little puddles of bubbling mud

The elevated path through bumpass hell

Water streaming out of the bumpass hell area
More of the features at bumpass hell, this puddle features fools gold.

Bumpass hell, colored sand, with patches of snow remaining

Broke Off Mountain, standing in the center of an ancient super volcano, of which broke off mountain is just a piece of the crater's crown.

Crumbough lake

Kings Creek

Kings creek water cascade

Kings Creek Falls

These red plants stood out in a field of green, purple, and yellows.

Cameron Meadow

Something walked up behind me while cooking dinner at Jakey Lake

I recently replaced my beer can with a titanium cup from backpackinglight.com. 475mL advertised volume, but mine holds 482 grams of milli-Q water. I brought the brasslite for simmering performance while cooking my smoked jambalaya with chicken.

I'm a huge fan of this stuff, tasted much better on a trip when I wasn't huffing smoke all day long.

the contents of my backpack on display. I used a mosquito headnet while sleeping for bug protection.

Leaving Jakey lake in the morning

un-named lake

This trail is marked for people with small packs, visors, and big sticks :-)

Widow Lake, un-named on my topo map.

A river of rocks leading to Butte Lake.

Cinder Cone from Butte Lake shoreline

I enjoyed some lunch of chickpea soup, and some pita I toasted over the stove for use as a dumpling.

View of Cinder Cone dominated the perimeter of Butte Lake.

view from the Butte Lake Ranger Station

Cinder Cone

Dunes around Cinder Cone

Mt Lassen, it's gut check time, time is running out, and I want to make it to terrace lake (6 miles) to see the sunset. I pack up the camera, give myself a pep talk, duct tape my shoes to my feet, drink some water, eat some chocolate, and start the sprint.

This was beautiful enough in person that I took the camera out, maybe 200 yards after the last shot, but I didn't stop for longer than it took to snap the photo.

Terrace Lake, 48 minutes after I started the sprint up hill.

Mt Lassen from Terrace Lake

Self Portrait :-)
Thought I had sand in my shoe, turns out it was a good sized blister between my big and index toe on my left foot. I used hydropel more than normal, but it was no match for hot volcanic sand.

The sole delaminated on my Inov-8 295's. I got about 200 miles out of this pair.

One mis-step, and I lost the thingy that holds my laces on. I also have holes in my gaiters.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Hetch Hetchy trip report

Hello friends and dotcomrades, scroll down, a few pictures at bottom of post

Hetch Hetchy is located in the north west portion of Yosemite national park. Due to the enormous wildfires (quantity and size), views were limited and I got nothing but "i was there" photos. The smoked jambalaya kicked ass, although it potentially may have caused mild gas for Clark. I enjoyed it, and the flavor was very representative of the taste it had when eaten fresh. Honestly, I was stoked on the jambalaya last season and this year I've raised the flavor bar at the expense of cooking time.

Mosquitoes were very intense.

Water was drying up below 6500'.

A quick note :
This blog is growing in popularity, but it is still very difficult to find through the search engines. I don't spam. I don't buy ad words. I refrain from posting links to my own blog on backpacking forums (whiteblaze, BPL etc) and I do not hype my site every time someone asks for backpacking recipes. What I do, is quietly provide free, exclusive content, complete with step by step pictures and detailed recipes. I try to provide you with the knowledge and wisdom necessary to take care of your own menu planning. In between food related posts, I post pictures from trips I go on. If you find this content valuable please consider adding a link to my blog so that others may be able to find this site easier.

It's a holiday weekend, I'm thinking of going solo through Lassen. Looks to be the least fire infested area.


I was wearing my visor and towel combination for cooling and sun protection. Here I am about to break for a lunch of san joaquin gold and bread. San Joaquin Gold is a hard cheese, creamy like cheddar, nutty like fine parmigiano. It was awesome. View is of Rancheria falls.

backview, it can be pulled up and down to expose or hide the neck

Clark surveys water cascading down some slick rock

Zoom in on the cascading water

After missing the chance to photograph a mama bear with her snow white cub, I pulled the camera out of the pack. Here is a young buck.

taking a break in a spot where the mosquitoes weren't quite as bad. Did I mention that in Yosemite, the mosquitoes go all the way to eleven. I had no issues and was using treated clothing, long sleeves, long pants, long hat.

View overlooking the reservoir

Clark surveys the damn dam.

part of the dam

more of the dam

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

trinity alps trip report

Hello Internets,

Clark and I made an attempt to venture deep into the heart of the trinity alps mountain range. Mother Nature let loose a surprise snow storm that dumped 15-20 inches of snow, 4-7 foot drifts, avalanche conditions on north east ridges. Stock stoppers replacing most of the trail for the first three miles, maybe 10 downed trees per mile.

Thank you for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoy the show,

Clark navigating a downed tree, what they call a stock stopper.

physically draining

Down trees behind us, we enter the snow covered part of the mountain

Snow melt had the streams moving well

I'm not a weather man, but I don't think the 97% chance of sunshine is accurate

We take turns standing on a big rock to view the incoming weather system, it should blow through quick. . . right ? ..... right ????

we push on into higher elevations, scrambling to a saddle between lion and foster lakes

Weather approaching, legs tired from climbing trees, we make a dash to the one flat spot in the area we can reach

Upper Lion lake

we make it to the campsite, and immediately it starts to snow

WTF ?!!!!?

I don't like this at all :-(

Before we can cook dinner, before we can start a fire, before we are mentally prepared to winter camp, it happens . . . In the early morning, high winds begin to collapse the tent, and we use trekking poles to reinforce the structure, and our pan to remove snow from the perimeter.

the wind increases, the snow increases, and now we are in white out conditions. No ropes, no crampons, no snowshoes, no axes. We are not prepared to deal with the conditions and choose to wait it out.

36 hours or so later, we get a fourty minute break in the storm and pack up and dash for the forest

The snow goes all the way to the Kings Range (Lost Coast) on the coast.

Avalanching snow on the northeast faces

more avalanches

Spring is in full swing

8-10 feet off the ground, even wide balance beams drain the mind and body

He made it, and turns to corner on another tree traversal

TECHNIQUE : poles with straps can be left hanging from the wrists while leaping through downed trees. People using strapless poles can not do this move.

TECHNIQUE : Railriders pants have a 15 minute maximum drying time, and inov 8 295's dry fast too. Waste no time taking off shoes and sock, just walk on through.