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.
Tiger Lily along Five Lakes Creek
I thought that I’d wrapped everything up this morning, and then this afternoon I was going through photos of other trips to upload them, and discovered set of photos I’d not labeled or uploaded. They were named TRT, but it was actually a much bigger trip, from Donner Summit to Spooner Summit. Once I found the photos, I also found the section of my journal, where I’d taken fairly detailed notes on the trip.
For the Granite Chief Wilderness portion, I came in on the north side from the PCT, went to Whiskey Creek Camp, walked out to the head of Picayune Valley but didn’t go down, explored Five Lakes, went down Five Lakes Creek to Diamond Crossing, and then out Powderhorn Canyon to Barker Pass. I backtracked to Twin Peaks and went out Stanford Rock Trail to Tahoe.
So THIS was my first trip of 2011 into the Granite Chief. Or maybe there are more yet to discover!
photos on Flickr
Powderhorn Canyon from the mesa edge
I had a wonderful five day trip, one of my non-driving trips on which I took the Amtrak to and from Truckee. I walked from Truckee up to and along the Donner Lake Rim Trail, then headed south on the PCT past Donner Pass, Mt. Anderson, the North Fork of the American River (which becomes the Royal Gorge downstream), and into the Granite Chief.
I did some brushing work on the PCT, particularly the section between Five Lakes Creek and Twin Peaks that was completely brushed in four years ago and got me into doing maintenance on the PCT. So the trail is now reasonably clear again, though it needs brushing every year.
fireweed in fall color
I finally got back into the Granite Chief this week for three days, going in at Powderhorn Trailhead which is just west of Barker Pass. Fall colors are coming, but the aspen trees which are often the brightest are just starting, and the vine maple seems subdued this year, as likely to be pale white or pale yellow as bright yellow. I don’t think there have been any freezes since August, and though the calendar says fall, the days were still summer, quite warm. And the mornings refreshingly cool. I did quite a bit of exploring, checking out Little Powderhorn and Laddie’s Cove, the lower end of the Five Lakes Creek gorge, and the mesa between Powderhorn and Little Powderhorn canyons.
columnar lava “postpile” in Powderhorn Canyon
I had an enjoyable four day backpack from Powderhorn Trailhead, through Powderhorn Valley, to Shanks Cove and Grayhorse Valley to Whiskey Creek Camp and return. I was planning on getting into Picayune Valley, where I’ve not been yet, but lost a day off the trip and couldn’t fit it in. Next time! Continue reading