Category ArchivePacific Crest Trail

27 Jul 2014 07:11 pm    Category: Hiking &Pacific Crest Trail    

Castle Peak, Basin Peak, & Coon Canyon Loop

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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

28 Jun 2014 11:51 pm    Category: Pacific Crest Trail    

Raymond Lake from Tamarack Jct (P.C.T.)

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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


22 Jun 2014 09:34 pm    Category: Backpacking &Pacific Crest Trail    

Paradise Lake

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Overnight backpack trip to Paradise Lake via the Pacific Crest Trail from White Rock Lake.  The snow has mostly melted, earlier than usual, leaving this area lush and green. Nice views of Old Man Mountain, Basin, Peak, and Paradise Valley on this northern approach to Paradise.   Paradise Lake was beautiful as always.  We had neighbors, but not too close.  The campsite was a bit buggy, but controllable with DEET and nets.  Hiked out on the PCT retracing our steps, except taking the Mt. Lola Trail to White Rock Lake and crossing the dam. There was just a little water going over the spillway at White Rock Lake. The only wildlife seen were birds, fish, chipmunks, and a baby marmot at White Rock.


10.15 mi (4.08 mi uphill, 4.07 mi downhill, 1.86 mi flat)
1350 ft total ascent – 13.0 % uphill grade, 75.1 % downhill grade
1 day 0:24:43 total time (5:20:20 moving, 19:04:23 stopped)
0:31:32 pace (1.9 mph average speed, 7.5 mph max speed)
14.4 difficulty, 26.6 effort

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