Loop hike, via the P.C.T. from Donner Summit to Castle Peak and Basin Peak, returning via the Warren Lake Trail. There were spectacular displays of wildflowers in each of the drainages in Coon Canyon, below the northeastern face of Castle Peak.
The loop route starts on Castle Pass Road, joins the P.C.T. to Castle Pass, then up to Castle Peak, across the ridge to Basin Peak, proceeding north down Basin Peak to the connector trail towards Devils Oven Lake/Paradise Lake overlook, and then to the Warren Lake Tail that passes through Coon Canyon on the northeast side of Castle Peak. Finally up to the Frog Lake Overlook summit and back to the road. The wildflowers in Coon Canyon were spectacular! This loop doesn’t actual go to the lakes, you just get to see them from afar. I rated the trail “difficult” because of the steep, rocky, and loose trails on the ascent to Castle Peak and on the Warren Lake Trail, as well as the intermittently disappearing trail on the Devils Oven connector, but it’s basically class 1 and 2. The shortest access to Coon Canyon is from the I-80 P.C.T. trailhead via the Warren Lake Trail passing Summit Lake (signed junction with the PCT just north of the freeway).
13.91 mi (5.93 mi uphill, 6.25 mi downhill, 1.65 mi flat)
2950 ft total ascent – 16.4 % uphill grade, 75.8 % downhill grade
9:04:40 total time (7:18:05 moving, 1:46:35 stopped)
0:31:29 pace (1.9 mph average speed)
32.1 difficulty, 55.8 effort
GeoLocator for latitude 39.3410416 longitude -120.3476334
12 Jul 2014 08:51 pm Category: Tahoe Rim Trail
Summer hike to Relay Peak from the Mt. Rose Summit Trailhead on NV 431, via the Tahoe Rim Trail and Galena Falls (upper and lower) on ascent and the Relay Peak Rd on descent. Nice wildflower displays despite the dry year and low water flow at the falls. The trail was crowded as usual to lower Galena Falls, but then we met only a few people on the new T.R.T. trail to Relay Peak. On the way down from Relay Peak along the usually gated service road, we met a convoy of SUVs with well-dressed people headed to a wedding on the ridge.
10.50 mi (4.14 mi uphill, 4.85 mi downhill, 1.41 mi flat)
1800 ft total ascent – 11.9 % uphill grade, 29.3 % downhill grade
6:29:52 total time (4:49:35 moving, 1:40:17 stopped)
0:27:34 pace (2.2 mph average speed, 5.3 mph max speed)
13.2 difficulty, 24.9 effort
GeoLocator for latitude 39.3129196 longitude -119.8974609
28 Jun 2014 11:51 pm Category: Pacific Crest Trail
Hike via the Pacific Crest Trail to Raymond Lake, starting from the Tamarack Junction Trailhead on the Blue Lakes Road (near Hope Valley west of Markleeville, California). I passed 20 backpackers on the trail (9 northbound, 7 southbound, 4 sitting), only two of whom were grizzled enough to be PCT through hikers. There were 9 fishermen at the lake when I arrived and the best campsite was occupied. I didn’t see any fish being caught, but the two fishermen who left about the same time I did said they caught five trout. Saw six deer, or maybe the same three twice since they were in the same area near an unnamed pond on the way in and out.
This is a longish hike from the PCT trailhead at Tamarack Junction. It’s much shorter from Lower Sunset Lake or the Wet Meadows area, accessible when the dirt roads are dry.
The trail is good with moderate grades, except for a section traversing steep and loose volcanic rock at 38.61851° N 119.84413° W. Avoid and climb around (above) this area if the steep snow field is covering the trail. The trail was dry and reasonably good right now, but it is subject to erosion.
17.17 mi (7.47 mi uphill, 7.55 mi downhill, 2.08 mi flat)
2200 ft total ascent – 14.1 % uphill grade, 83.6 % downhill grade
8:28:19 total time (7:28:43 moving, 0:59:36 stopped)
0:26:07 pace (2.3 mph average speed)
30.0 difficulty, 57.9 effort
GeoLocator for latitude 38.6200981 longitude -119.9081726