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On the second of a four-day trip I had planned a hike in the western part of the Trinity Alps Wilderness out of the Grizzly Camp TH north of SR299. My plan was to tag Trinity Mtn and Trinity Summit, two peaks described in Wayne Moss's Trinity Alps Companion. It's a long drive into the TH, thankfully much of it paved, making things a little faster and a little less dusty. I had driven more than half the road the night before, stopping to camp on an unsigned spur road that leads to the Happy Camp Campground. This was not far from Lone Pine Ridge, a short hike to a P1K that I planned to do first thing in the morning before driving to Grizzly Camp TH for the longer hike in the Wilderness area. Later in the day I drove back out to the highway and to the small town of Willow Creek at the SR299/SR96 junction for a few more peaks in the afternoon.
I continued north on the trail, as it traverse along the west side of the crest, climbing and descending in modest gradients as it makes its way in and out of several side creeks that form the Horse Linto Creek drainage. Some sections of the forest had been spared from the fire and these were quite scenic, the trail easy to follow here. In other places the brush has grown over head level and one needs to keep their arms up high in front as they walk through the narrow path to push the brush aside. After about 4mi I neared the location on the map marked as Lipps Camp. Here, the trail reaches up to the crest where it goes through a low saddle and turns northwest to climb up to Trinity Summit atop Horse Trail Ridge. This area had burned in the 2009 Corral Complex Fire with nine years of robust brush growth since then. The trail more or less disappeared near the creek, only a handful of ducks marking the route for a few hundred yards, then these, too, gave out and I was left looking at a sea of brush. I spent probably 45min probing about the brush from various angles, trying to locate the trail as depicted on my GPSr (which so far I had been following quite nicely). I found some hopeful signs of trail through the heavy brush but these all seemed to eventually lead to dead ends. I had hoped to follow the trail up to Trinity Summit but that was still almost two miles away and I had no appetite for such a daunting bushwhack up the overgrown slope before me. I turned back. Perhaps I would have to explore an approach from the west another time.
The return was easy enough, about two hours to get me back to the Grizzly Camp TH by 12:30p. I had planned to be out much longer so with my early return I would need to find more to do for the afternoon.
The road turns out to have been abandoned probably a few decades ago. Though still useable on foot, there were several significant washouts that the Jeep would have been unable to negotiate. One of these even had some old grow buckets that had been abandoned. Seems everyone around these parts takes a crack at pot farming at some time or another. Just past the buckets at the second washout, the road reached a junction with a decent road that while still serviceable, sees little traffic. I followed this uphill to a much better road that had evidence of recent and regular use. How one gets to this road is a bit of a mystery, as not all the roads are depicted on the maps or visible in the satellite views. This road led up past a couple of water tanks on private property, then back onto Forest Service lands, then again on private lands. It was all somewhat confusing which at least helped with my plausible deniability should someone drive by and ask what I was doing. After an hour's time I reached the last junction with a road leading up towards the top, now only about a quarter mile away. The topo map shows the road veering north away from the peak so at its nearest approach I left the road to wander uphill through dense forest understory in search of the summit. My meandering eventually led me close to the summit where I found what appears to be another abandoned grow site. It seems to have been poorly planned and executed and nothing serious seems to have come of it. Just past this I caught sight of a building or trailer through the trees just off the summit, with a truck parked nearby. This was getting a bit spooky and I was worried that a dog would catch wind of me and start barking to draw attention. The summit was a disappointment, deep in the woods and rather flattish with little to denote any sort of actual summit. I called it good and headed back down, figuring I'd already pressed my luck enough this afternoon.
I was happy to have no encounters with anyone during the uneventful return, finally finishing the day around 5:15p. I drove back down to Willow Creek where I refueled and started making plans for the next day. I was ahead of schedule with only a day's worth of summits and two days remaining on the trip, so I started considering what it would take for another crack at Trinity Summit and a couple of CC-listed peaks near it. In the end I decided to give it another try via the Mill Creek Lake Trailhead and headed out of Willow Creek around 7p for what I expected to be several hours of driving to reach the trailhead - good thing I now had a full tank of gas... Continued...
This page last updated: Mon Jun 18 10:42:11 2018
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