June 7, 2021

First Fastpacking Trip of 2021

First fastpacking trip of the summer season and it was a good one. After work we headed down to the Marble Mountains making our way up 2800ft and a little over seven miles to spend the night at the ABC lakes. The sun was setting as we trekked cross country over the final ridge providing some incredible lighting on the distance peaks.

We set up camp next to Dogwood lake on a large flat slab of granite overlooking Chinquapin lake and the valley below. We watched the waning orange glow on the cliffs above, made up some grub, and chatted by the fire.

This trip I got to break in some new gear. I picked up a smaller pack by UltrAspire and a new down quilt by Enlightened Equipment. This new gear put my base weight under 10 lbs 🎉 (total weight with food and water was at 12)

The next morning after breakfast and coffee we fastpacked back to the truck.

July 12, 2020

Fastpacking to Deep Lake and the “ABCD” Lakes in the Marble Mountains Wilderness

Philip and I took a quick overnight trip to the Marble Mountains Wilderness to check out the “ABCD” lakes. They’re a series of pristine alpine lakes tucked away on a trailless mountain bench above 7,000 ft.

We took Boulder Creek trail which comes in from the north, paralleling the popular Lovers Camp trail a few ridges over. The first 3.5 miles is a brutal climb straight up with over 2500ft of elevation gain (my bad Phil 😝). It’s then another 3-4 miles of side hilling to Deep Lake. The ABCDs are situated directly above.

We attempted to climb up but limited daylight and sore legs changed our minds. We instead opted to camp at Deep Lake and enjoy the little bit of light left.

In the morning Philip was kind enough to chill in camp and watch my dog as I adventured up the steep cliff side to the ABCD lakes (Aspen, Buckhorn, Chinquapin, and Dogwoood)

It took me about 30 min to find a line that wasn’t going to kill me and climb to the top and it was SO worth it. The lakes were crystal clear with high saturation of blue and greens. I made my way to the shoreline of each, ending my exploration with a fantastic dip in Dogwood lake.

Next time I’ll have to make camp at these lakes and spend a few days to soak it all in!

July 7, 2020

Fastpacking to Big Blue Lake, Russian Wilderness (NorCal)

What a fantastic trip!

The Russian Wilderness is tucked away in NorCal between Marble Mountains and the Trinity Alps. It’s been on my list for a while now and with Friday off it was the perfect time to give it a visit.

I did some research and found a post about a loop to Big Blue Lake, a rugged high mountain lake nestled between granite crags with no direct trail access – my type of place.

I started at Taylor Lake TH, heading west counterclockwise to Hogan lake where the established trail ends. After snapping a few pics, Tucker and I began trekking off trail around the lake then ascending the steep rocky face up to Big Blue Lake.

We paralleled the drainage stopping a few times to appreciate the water running over slabs of granite. Reaching Big Blue I took a dip in the pristine (and cold) waters then setup camp, made some grub, and enjoyed the views.

After a lazy morning we worked our way up the steep eastern side of the lake, over the top and down into Upper Albert lake, then further down to Albert Lake. At this point we were reconnected with the trail system which took us to Paynes lake, then around the ridge and back to Taylor lake from the day before.

All in it was about a 10 mile trek, five miles from either side of the Big Blue, and 2,700 feet of vert. I’ll be back to this lake for sure!