sunset from Granite Chief peak
I never seem to get all my trips posted. Not only did I not post my 10-day trip into the Mokelumne Wilderness, the highlight of the summer, I did not get around to posting on next two trips into the Granite Chief Wilderness.
Trail Maintenance and Powderhorn
The first missing trip was seven days in July. I went in at Granite Chief trailhead, and in fact spent several days completing brushing trail work on that trail. Once that was done, I headed south and camped on the top of Granite Chief peak, a spectacular place to sleep. When the air of the central valley is reasonably clear, it is easy to see details of the coast ranges, and at night, the lights of the valley cities and towns.
On a four day backpack from Barker Pass, I did quite a bit of exploring off trail and on old trails. The snow has really disappeared since I was last in the wilderness in June, with just patches on or close to the trail now. And of course there are a lot more flowers now, except on the ridgelines where the flowers were already great.
I explored Grouse Creek from the PCT down to the Five Lakes Trail. In the upper part I stayed as close to the creek as possible, but in the lower canyon it becomes too difficult to do so, and the bear trail led me out onto the ridge to the northwest, with great views back up Grouse Creek and up and down Five Lakes Creek. Washington lilies were poking up through the manzanita thickets on the ridge, and down along the ridge a number of dry rocky plants were blooming.