Monday, November 27, 2023

The Trinity Alps

Heading up Long Canyon through big trees

Slowly breaking out from the trees in Long Canyon on Day 1

Views of the snowcapped peaks above, we were planning to do 3 nights from Long Canyon, but were unsure about snow conditions and how far we would be able to go

Climbing toward Bee Tree Pass

Looking back down the canyon

Gibson Peak and a rocky ridgeline above

Into the snow, this was the unknown factor on this trip and we ended up having more snow and icier snow than anticipated

Looking back down the canyon, the snow piled up quickly above 7000 feet and was pretty icy

The view from Bee Tree Pass, no trail in sight

Mom and Dad on Bee Tree Pass

Descending Bee Tree Pass to get back down below the snow

On the way down from Bee Tree Pass

The morning of Day 2, water would freeze in the water bottle as soon as the bottle was poured out.  When Mom poured water into the pot for the stove, a skiff of ice formed on top.  It was not the warmest condition we've been in.

California pitcher plant - a carnivorous plant

Heading up Swift Creek.  After we were turned back by snow on Bee Tree Pass and beyond, we headed back to the trailhead, drove about 20 miles and headed up Swift Creek, one drainage to the east of Long Canyon.  With lower elevation trails, we were optimistic we would be able to do some hiking in the Swift Creek drainage.

Mid-morning ice along the creek

The remnants of an old bridge which washed out in 1986 and was not rebuilt.

Foster cabin and this old structure were located part way up Swift Creek Canyon.  Foster cabin is used as a shelter for snow survey crews in the winter.

Frosty meadows and snowy peaks on the morning of day 3

Lots of large, open meadows along Swift Creek

Ice in the trail - this was common above 6500 feet

Frozen creeks

More ice

Ice formations along the creek

Frosty ice on the trail

Frozen ponds by Horseshoe Lake

Mom looking out over Horseshoe Lake

Mom and Dad overlooking Horseshoe Lake

Horseshoe Lake - a layer of ice covered the entire lake

The pond next to the lake was frozen solid

Looking down Swift Creek Canyon as we continued climbing toward Ward Lake.  We decided that we would not have enough time to head over the pass, the climb over two more passes to come into the Bear Lakes basin.  Plus, we did not know what the snow conditions would be ahead.  We decided to drop the packs at Horseshoe Lake, do a dashiki toward Ward Lake, the decide what to do based on how much time we had left in the day.

Big trees at high elevation

Same tree

Snowslide Peak, we climbed up this peak later in the day

Another frozen pond

Ward Lake - the surface is entirely frozen

We concluded that the band in the ice is the point at which the lake froze to initially.  Once the rest of the lake froze, the band was formed between the old ice and the new ice.

Hiking above Ward Lake

On the saddle near Snowslide Peak

Snowslide Peak

Looking over the Swift Creek drainage from Snowslide Peak

Mumford Basin is the high grassy valley on the far left side of the photo

Descending back to Ward Lake

Icy trails

Hiking out on Day 4

Ice formation along the creek