TRT Hike Ward Creek to McCloud Falls

On Fathers Day, Kate, Ben and I started our project of hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail, which is 165 miles.  Doing it piece by piece in day hikes only.  We started on the trail where it intersected Ward Creek Blvd just south of Tahoe City a mile or two, in the town of Sunnyside.  We went counterclockwise to the lake, hiking south.  I used a really sweet app by Guthooks, that shows the trail and tons of waypoints and handy information, plus shows you your location on the map.  Between taking photos of wildflowers, messing with my new app, and checking my Garmin GPS (somewhat redundant), Kate often was way ahead of me, as she kept hiking while I fussed around.  Ward Creek was running nicely and we had lunch alongside it.  The weather was perfect with solid blue skies and nice wind.  Wildflowers were simply outstanding.  It was the absolute perfect time to take this hike.  Prime time.  The pictures just do not capture the glory of this trail.   The grade was pretty easy until we hit switchbacks heading up to the falls, probably about mile number three.  McCloud Falls were at the 4 mile point and we started to feel the beginnings of some aches and pains, so we turned back at that point figuring 8 miles round trip would be plenty that day.  Even Ben’s feet or his ankles were getting kinda sore.

The trailhead was about an hour and fifteen from Colfax.  We were out on the trail for about 4+ hours.   Hiking time to the falls was about 1.5 hours.  The TahoeRimTrail.org has some maps on line of the area we hiked here.

Emerald Pools Hike

On Pi day, 3/14/15 Kate and I hiked to the Emerald Pools on the Yuba River, off the Bowman Lake Rd, with Janelle and Stephen.  The weather was high 60s, but because of the drought the river was much lower than normally would be at this time.  Plus there normally would have been snow at this level.  We bushwacked it first to the canyon then to the pools and big waterfall.  I was so glad to get back into the mountains.  Everyone loved it including Ben and Biggs.

Fall Creek Mountain Hike 2013

After a couple delays we finally did our annual Fall Creek Mountain hike on 9/22.  It was just Stephen Bannister and Janelle and me this time.  We added to the normal route by going north after the climb toward Culbertson lake and then dropped down to the Crooked Lakes Trail and back to Island Lake.

fall creek mtn hike route

Here are photos of the trip.  You can go right thru them by beginning with first one and clicking the arrows to move fwd or back.

Azelea Lake and Flora Lake on the Pacific Crest Trail

Last Sunday Kate and I tried a new hike.  We went to Boreal Ski Ranch to pick up the Pacific Crest Trail head but instead of going north toward Castle Peak, we instead went south planning to see the three lakes … Azelea Lake, Flora Lake and Lake Angela.  The PCT is well worn so its a great trail, easy rolling at around the 7200 foot level.

PCT google earth map
Click to enlarge

In about a mile we found a trail off to our right and looking at my Garmin Dakota GPS it had to be the trail to the first lake, Azelea.  Sure enough a real beauty. (click images for full size)

Azelea Lake, PCT

Azelea LakeThe next lake, Flora Lake was not far away at all according to the GPS and sure enough the lakes side trail led us right to it.  However, the trail seemed to end at Flora Lake and we resorted to bushwacking climbing over nice granite but also plowing thru manzanita.

Kate and Biggs along the PCT

Ben on ganite

 

View to Donner Lake
Donner Lake
Biggs
Biggs, the braveheart

Biggs, being so low to the ground, had a rough time so Kate or I carried him thru some but then decided to just put him in my pack.

Geoff Panek and Biggs hiking

We finally got to some relatively flat granite where the big watt power lines were going overhead.  I kinda thought if we followed them we would get to Lake Angela but it was getting a little late, and I forgot that I had Google Earth on my phone and I was getting reception.  That would have showed me what you see here on this map I pulled up at home.

Kate Stewart and Ben and Biggs
Stopping for water at the power lines
Google Earth map of flora lake
If we had followed the power lines to our right we would have eventually met up with a trail to Angela

If you look carefully and blow up this map you will see the power lines. Lake Angela is off the map to the left.

Instead we chose to go left and  try and get back down to PCT which we could just make out below the cliffs we were on.

Pacific Crest Trail near Donner
You can see our track where we tried to get down several places but either too steep with the dogs or way too much manzanita to get thru.

Here is what we were dealing with:
lake flora hike

Biggs
Biggs went right after me
Kate Stewart Mountain climber
Kate, not too happy about the descent

kate stewart hiking

Pacific Crest Trail
Our view looking down, and all the brush. PCT was down there.

Garmin at PCT

We finally gave up on going to PCT and just retraced back to Flora lake and everyone but me had a nice swim.

Flora Lake

Flora Lake
The trail around Flora Lake

Next time we will go all the way to Lake Angela, probably following PCT till it meets up with side trail to that lake.

Flora Lake loop on Google earth

Lakes Basin Spring Hike

Kate, the dogs (Ben and Biggs) and I took a nice 1.75hr drive up to Sierra Buttes in Lakes Basin area. We wanted to check out the campsites for future RVing up that way. It was perfect timing as the snow had greatly receded. In fact, it was equivalent to late June in a typical year. So the lakes were full and the waterfalls and streams were running full blast. We hiked to Frazier Falls, which I had never seen before since I usually go to this area late summer or fall and they are dried up. They were magnificent. Something like a 300 foot drop and this was at the 6200 foot level. We like to camp right on or very near lakes, so we really didnt find any great campsites in that regard, so we will have to just continue doing day hikes in that area. (click to enlarge photos)

Sardine Lake
Sardine Lake, Lakes Basin Northern California

 

Frazier Creek
Me and Biggs on Frazier Creek before we found the falls
Frazier Falls
Frazier Falls in Lakes Basin off the Old Gold Lakes road