Northern California

July 28, 2011

Belden to Hwy 36/89, hiked July 16-19, pretty bad condition, though passable.

Belden to Myrtle Flat camp: Some trees blown down, and lots of brush grown completely over the trail. You know the trail is under you, but can’t see it. We met the Plumas NF woman in charge of their part of the trail (she was with a crew south of Belden), and she said they were on the Plumas part of the trail in May and the botanist with them said “don’t clear the brush, it will just grow back.” We saw lots of thru hikers in this area, so the trail is getting more use and should be brushed.

Half hour north of Myrtle Flat camp: Huge number of trees down over trail, about 100 yards of it. Looks like it came from an avalanche up above (you can see a waterfall and steep hillside).

Side creeks to Chips Creeks, below Poison Springs: Two of them had to be forded in sandals, water high but OK.

Poison (Andesite?) Springs over the top of the crest and down the steep north side toward Humbug Summit: This was the worst for navigation in the deep snow. No diamond trail markers on trees, when we needed them the most. We looked down tree wells for sawed logs and limbs to find the trail. Stay high on slope until you can descend to flat off the northeast nose of the crest.

Willow Creek: Camped there for water, worst mosquitoes ever. Cold Spring might be better.

One mile before Hwy 36/89: The Soldier Creek marsh has flooded the trail for about 2-300 yards, 6 inches to 2 feet. Rough and muddy and hard to see the bottom, hazardous as you step on branches and rocks. Better bare foot than with sandals that catch debris between sandal and foot.

Camping just north of trail (side trail to Carter Meadow) was very nice.

July 16, 2011

Just finished 82 miles from Seiad Valley to Hwy 66 in Oregon. Still lots of snow (some drifts over 5 feet high) in the Siskiyou Mts on some parts of the trail, particularly the north and northeast slopes. Some areas where it’s easy to lose the trail in the forest sections, due to snow drifts. With a good map and sense of direction, hikers should be fine. Beautiful wildflowers.

July 7, 2011

July 7. Heading south. We bumped north from Kearsarge Pass to Castle Crags on June 27. Trail from Castle Crags south was in great shape on 6/27 for the first 25 miles. Hit snow at about 5500 ft. Hiked in deep snow for the next twenty miles and rarely saw trail. Used GPS extensively. Found that walking the south side of the ridge and Summit Rd. much better than PCT on north side of ridge. Trail good from about 5 miles south of Mushroom Rock to Burney Falls State Park.

July 7. Going south. Burney to Old Station hot and dry. Going through Lassen Park we had heard crossing of King Creek difficult so we walked Hwy 89 to Summit Lake. The road was still closed after first 10 miles due to snow. Little traffic. Nice walk. Camped at Summit Lake Campground. Hiked cross-country paralleling Summit Creek and crossed King Creek on nice log where the creek is still small. Then walked SW to Corral Crossing on the south side of King Creek and on to Drakesbad. Received warm welcome and much-needed shower at Drakesbad. Creek high at Corral Crossing but log above water at 8 AM. Crossing possible. Trail clear south to Chester.

July 4, 2011

7/4/11 Snowman Truckee Adding to the posts by others. Continuing from my brothers trip N/B from Sierra City. They arrived Old Station today. They also had major problems getting over King River. Only one of the two logs where there. Apparently “Blaze” fell off the log and was swept downriver- but o.k. At the split my brother found 1 log then bushwacked up river to another log to get across.

OLD STATION. Resturant is closed, and hikers hut is closed for the season. Woman who runs it taking the year off. Also store closes at 7pm sharp weeknights, 8pm weekends.

June 29, 2011

My son and friends headed out June 26 Burney Falls toward Old Station – trail was clear and temps were warm and sunny. June 27 trail clear to 9 miles south of Old Station.

June 28 started 9 miles south of Old Station toward Lassen with goal to reach Drakesbad Guest Ranch. Patchy snow increasing to hard pack and rain. Solid snow pack in higher elevations. Hiked all day in the snow and rain. DANGER: Kings creek was almost impassable with ropes and harnesses. They were completely swept under water and were happy to make it to Drakesbad Guest Ranch to dry out and re-supply. Met with another hiker heading north from HWY 80 who said the trail ahead had only about 10 of the 140 miles without snow.

June 25, 2011

As of 6/20/11, the PCT between Belden(Hwy 70) and Chester(Hwy 36) is still snow covered above 6300-6400 ft getting deeper as one ascends above that elev. In shaded areas the snow depth is obviously greater with drifts of 5-6 ft above that elev. Lots of HOT (90* temps) in the forecast though. I saw no evidence of anyone having hiked through that section yet.

June 4, 2011

From Old Station to Burney, the trail is free of snow and in good condition except for very few fallen trees. Generally the trail is wet, occasionally with 100 yard sections where it is filled with water.

From Sierra City north to Belden, looking at the altitude of the trail from the road and talking with a Sierra City resident who uses the local trails professionally, (mountain bike guide/shop owner), the trail here will have significant amounts of snow, particularly on north slopes. It was actively snowing when we were there.