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Thread: Backpacking

  1. #1
    Senior Member SteelBlue's Avatar
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    Default Backpacking

    I've enjoyed the pics of the Lebowski's outdoor adventures over the years, and Art's backpacking pics in the photography thread etc.. and thought it might be a good idea to have a thread for pics, reports etc... of backpacking/camping/outdoor trips. Please use this thread to take us to the cool places you've been. I don't want it to be about picture quality/photography criticism as most of us can only take our phones along anyway (that's actually all I have).

    I was lucky to get out on a few trips this summer and will try and get some of my pics up. I have them on flickr, and am struggling to get them linked here properly.

    I'll start with some pics from a 2-day trip in July. Hike was from Castle Lake, CA to a fire lookout in Dunsmuir CA and back again. Some really stunning views.

    Mt. Shasta and Black Butte from Mount Bradley ridge.



    Northern boundary of the Castle Crags Wilderness Area in far NorCal.



    Castle Spire in the Castle Crags Wilderness Area



    Mt. Shasta



    High above Castle Lake, CA. Mt. Shasta and Black Butte in the smoky haze (different day obviously)



    Mt. Shasta at sundown



    Mt Shasta

    Last edited by SteelBlue; 02-20-2013 at 08:51 PM.

  2. #2
    Grooveshark dick tease MarkGrace's Avatar
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    Good thread. You can expect some contributions from me in the future.
    So Russell...what do you love about music? To begin with, everything.

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    Very nice!
    "It's devastating, because we lost to a team that's not even in the Pac-12. To lose to Utah State is horrible." - John White IV

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    Dark Canyon, Southern UT

    granary on the canyon wall

    Exiting Dark Canyon

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    Senior Member SteelBlue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eldiente View Post
    Dark Canyon, Southern UT

    granary on the canyon wall

    Exiting Dark Canyon
    I can't see these eldiente. Not sure if it's just me though.

  6. #6
    Striving for mediocrity Art Vandelay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteelBlue View Post
    I can't see these eldiente. Not sure if it's just me though.
    Neither can I

  7. #7

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    I upgraded some equipment this winter in anticipation of some trips this spring and summer. Not wanting to spend a fortune, I did quite a bit of looking around and read hundreds of reviews in various places to find the best bang for my buck. Can't wait to get out and actually use it.

    New tent: Alps Mountaineering Mystique 2.0 . 4 total pounds pack weight, including fly.


    New lightweight backpacking stove: No brand name. distributed by some random guy in Taiwan. Killer deal - $9, including shipping. Weighs 2.9 oz.


    New backpacking chair: Crazy Creek Hex 2.0. Weight 1 pound.


    I also pieced together a new gravity flow water filter that I love. 2 bags (1 for collection and one "clean" bag"), some rubber tubing, a couple of clips, and a ceramic filter. Similar to this, but for half the price:
    Last edited by bluegoose; 02-20-2013 at 04:21 PM.

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    Senior Member SteelBlue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluegoose View Post
    New lightweight backpacking stove: No brand name. distributed by some random guy in Taiwan. Killer deal - $9, including shipping. Weighs 2.9 oz.

    I consider this to be the best deal I've ever found on Amazon. I've used it on two different 3 day trips and it worked beautifully. It arrives hand addressed from Hong Kong. I'm still waiting for the guy to figure out it's worth a lot more than $9 and free shipping.

  9. #9
    Senior Member SteelBlue's Avatar
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    Took a 3 day trip in mid August with bluegoose and another friend (who acted as our guide) to the Trinity Alps which are about an hour's drive from Redding. We hit the Canyon Creek trail, considered one of the premier spots in the Alps. This was the first time I'd ever been on this route. Bluegoose had been there once before as a young kid on a scout outing.

    Day 1 and 2
    We arrived at the trailhead with about an hour and a half of daylight left and 6 miles to hike into our desired campsite at the base of Canyon Creek's middle falls. If you know about summer in far NorCal, then you know that it was very hot. Even with the setting sun, the first miles were beautiful but sweaty. Hikers are treated to an elevated view of the impressive lower falls within the first 2 miles of the hike. Unfortunately, access to the lower falls and it's enticing blue/green swimming hole require a side hike for which we did not have time. Photos from that height don't do it justice, but here it is:

    Canyon Creek Lower Falls



    The Canyon Creek trail is 9 miles long and rises in elevation continuously. By mile 2 you are high above the creek and are treated to an array of jagged aretes and crumbling granite spires as far as the eye can see on both sides of the canyon. Eventually you arrive in old growth forest, with lush meadows and ferns up to 5 feet high on both sides of the trail. It was at this point that we lost our light, and finished with headlamps, so we didn't get to take in these great sights until our hike out. We set up camp, ate some dinner and spent a little time relaxing by the fire before heading to bed.

    I woke up first in the morning and was stunned at the view. We were at the base of middle falls, a huge falls that is difficult to capture on camera due to its multiple tiers. I spent some time climbing up and around the granite over which the falls drop, and watched the sun begin to rise over the canyon walls.

    Some of the tiers of Canyon Creek's middle falls.








    The canyon is deep, and it was beautiful to see the sunrise reflected off of the highest peaks while we were still in the morning shadows.

    Sunrise reflected off of Mt. Hilton



    I grabbed this pic of a distant craggy peak before the sunlight hit us in the canyon.



    After a hearty breakfast, we embarked on our day hike to Upper and Lower Canyon Creek Lakes. We left our packs behind and took day packs making those last 3 miles of steeper trail much easier. We were treated to the last of the old growth forest and ferns and then granite became the theme in the last 2 miles. Just before reaching Lower Canyon Creek Lake we took in the upper falls which did not disappoint. The upper falls were the most impressive of the 3 main falls, and we spent a considerable amount of time there.

    Canyon Creek upper falls


    Bluegoose on upper falls


    Our guide is a good rock climber, and while goose and I were checking out the falls, he started free climbing up a crack in a granite wall off in the distance. I don't know anything about climbing, and started to wonder how and why he was holding his position about 5 feet from the top of the wall for so long. Eventually he calmly called me over and asked me to “spot him”. He's 6'4” and if he fell, there wasn't much I was going to do to slow him down but I stood underneath him nonetheless. Goose and I talked him down, calling out foot and handholds and he made it. He later told me it was the most frightened he'd ever been climbing because he couldn't get a hold above and couldn't feel a way down. The brush in this pic hides the actual height of the rock but I wanted to show the pic mainly because of the really cool, gigantic fracture plane on top of the mountain in the distance.

    Last edited by SteelBlue; 02-21-2013 at 09:46 AM.

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    Senior Member SteelBlue's Avatar
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    Next we arrived at Lower Canyon Creek Lake. We surprised a couple of 50 something free spirits who were sunning themselves nude on the rocks. The dude immediately ran and got dressed. His lady just stayed on her rock. Lower Canyon Creek Lake was an incredible sight surrounded on all sides by mountains that rose steep and suddenly. It actually reminded me of the abruptness of the mountains in Provo. I can't properly describe the beauty in this place, but I hope that heaven looks something like it. This section of the Trinity Alps is known as the White Trinities because of all the white granite. In the pictures that follow of the upper and lower lakes there is no snow, that is all granite.

    Lower Canyon Creek Lake






    We next made our way up to Upper Canyon Creek Lake. By now my senses had been bombarded with amazing sights and I didn't think anything else could impress me. I was wrong.

    Upper Canyon Creek Lake




    bluegoose taking in the view





    I'll continue with day 3 when I get some time.

  11. #11
    I ♥ gateway sex FN Phat's Avatar
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    amazing pics.
    I'm your huckleberry.


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    Those last two shots are terrific!
    "It's devastating, because we lost to a team that's not even in the Pac-12. To lose to Utah State is horrible." - John White IV

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    That's a great recap of our Trinity Alps trip. Spectacular scenery. All of my pics are on my home computer, so sometime I'll see if I have any good ones to add.

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    Senior Member Eddie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FN Phat View Post
    amazing pics.
    Quote Originally Posted by kccougar View Post
    Those last two shots are terrific!
    No kidding - I thought I might add something to this thread, but I'm hesitant to add photos to try to compete with these.

    Quote Originally Posted by SteelBlue View Post
    I consider this to be the best deal I've ever found on Amazon. I've used it on two different 3 day trips and it worked beautifully. It arrives hand addressed from Hong Kong. I'm still waiting for the guy to figure out it's worth a lot more than $9 and free shipping.
    That's a steal. What kind of fuel does it use? It looks like it just screws onto the typical iso canisters.

  15. #15

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    I can't not mention something about the Upper Canyon Creek lake. We took a swim in the lake to cool off. As it turns out, snow melt is absolutely frigid. It was really pretty refreshing, but I could only stand a few minutes in at a time.

    Steelblue and our buddy decided to swim across the lake for some reason. Its a pretty good little haul to the other side. I'm guessing a good quarter mile across, maybe more. I stayed back and ate all of their food.

    When they made it to that rock wall on the other side, they got out of the water right by the white high water mark. Our buddy climbed the wall to a ledge and dove in to the lake. I watched him the whole time, from the time he first exited the water to the time he was up on the ledge. He is a big dude, probably 6'5" or so. The ledge where he stood was MAYBE a head height above his head when he was standing at the edge of the water. So even if he was standing a foot above lake level, the ledge was at most 10' up, more likely 8-9' up. When they got back they asked if I had seen him dive in, saying it was crazy high - at least 15-20'. Yeah, sure guys. Insane. Jumping off a rock that is lower than the high dive at the swimming pool.

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    The dude abides Jeff Lebowski's Avatar
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    SB, you are killing me. I am so sick of winter.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie View Post

    That's a steal. What kind of fuel does it use? It looks like it just screws onto the typical iso canisters.
    It is an incredible deal. Yes, it just screws right on to a small iso container. $4 at Sportsman's Warehouse.

    I took an MSR Whisperlite Shaker white gas stove on this trip. I like my stove well enough, but it took about half as much time to boil water with this cheapo Amazon piezoelectric stove than with my MSR. And it cost about 1/10th the price and takes up about 1/4th the space in a pack.

    Great deal. If they still have it I would jump all over it. I may even pick up a second one to save for future use.

  18. #18
    The dude abides Jeff Lebowski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluegoose View Post
    It is an incredible deal. Yes, it just screws right on to a small iso container. $4 at Sportsman's Warehouse.

    I took an MSR Whisperlite Shaker white gas stove on this trip. I like my stove well enough, but it took about half as much time to boil water with this cheapo Amazon piezoelectric stove than with my MSR. And it cost about 1/10th the price and takes up about 1/4th the space in a pack.

    Great deal. If they still have it I would jump all over it. I may even pick up a second one to save for future use.
    Just bought one. $9.94. Thanks, guys!
    "There is no creature more arrogant than a self-righteous libertarian on the web, am I right? Those folks are just intolerable."
    "It's no secret that the great American pastime is no longer baseball. Now it's sanctimony." -- Guy Periwinkle, The Nix.
    "Juilliardk N I ibuprofen Hyu I U unhurt u" - creekster

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by bluegoose View Post
    It is an incredible deal. Yes, it just screws right on to a small iso container. $4 at Sportsman's Warehouse.

    I took an MSR Whisperlite Shaker white gas stove on this trip. I like my stove well enough, but it took about half as much time to boil water with this cheapo Amazon piezoelectric stove than with my MSR. And it cost about 1/10th the price and takes up about 1/4th the space in a pack.

    Great deal. If they still have it I would jump all over it. I may even pick up a second one to save for future use.
    I don't think it's going anywhere. There are a few sellers on Amazon (Prime, too!) that are offering it. I just snatched up a few anyway. Thanks!
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  20. #20
    Where's Wallace? Surfah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Lebowski View Post
    Just bought one. $9.94. Thanks, guys!
    Dang. Might have to pick up some for the 72 hour kit.
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    Senior Member SteelBlue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie View Post
    No kidding - I thought I might add something to this thread, but I'm hesitant to add photos to try to compete with these.
    I appreciate all the kind words, but I promise you it's the setting and not the photographer. Goose can back me up here, but I'm certain you could send a monkey up there with a sketch pad and he'd come out with some amazing pics. It is just an incredibly beautiful place.

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegoose View Post
    When they made it to that rock wall on the other side, they got out of the water right by the white high water mark. Our buddy climbed the wall to a ledge and dove in to the lake. I watched him the whole time, from the time he first exited the water to the time he was up on the ledge. He is a big dude, probably 6'5" or so. The ledge where he stood was MAYBE a head height above his head when he was standing at the edge of the water. So even if he was standing a foot above lake level, the ledge was at most 10' up, more likely 8-9' up. When they got back they asked if I had seen him dive in, saying it was crazy high - at least 15-20'. Yeah, sure guys. Insane. Jumping off a rock that is lower than the high dive at the swimming pool.
    Dude, your brain was still frozen. It was 20 feet!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Lebowski View Post
    SB, you are killing me. I am so sick of winter.
    I've got spring fever, can't wait to get out again.

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by bluegoose View Post
    New lightweight backpacking stove: No brand name. distributed by some random guy in Taiwan. Killer deal - $9, including shipping. Weighs 2.9 oz.
    That is essentially the same pocket rocket that MSR sells for $30-40. Sweet deal.

    http://www.rei.com/product/660163/ms...3-001b2166becc
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    Senior Member SteelBlue's Avatar
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    This grease dispenser made by imusa but sold under the name "Mainstays" (or something close to that) at Walmart makes a fantastic and very cheap cook kit. It's aluminum, but quite light. The $4 iso fuel container and the amazon stove fit into it perfectly. $6.99 at Walmart in the kitchen section.


  24. #24

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    One thing about those stoves -

    Since they do come from Hong Kong, or china or wherever, they estimate a longer shipping time. Mine took all of 4-6 weeks, as I recall.

    I see that there are some other vendors that are now selling them. Not sure if they are the same stove or not, but if you need it in the next little while you may want to look into another supplier.

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    Huge Member BigPiney's Avatar
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    you guys are killing me. My wife was already talking about trying to do the John Muir Trial this summer, though I think it will wait till next year. Still I need to get out for a few trips this year.

    Wales Lake (2 years ago):


    and me and some friends resting on the top of Mt Williamson, the 2nd highest peak in the Sierra, with Mt Russell in the background.

  26. #26

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    I know the feeling, BP. When I hiked to the top of Cloud's Peak in the Bighorn Mountains I was suffering badly from the altitude. When we summitted I dropped like a rock and slept for about half an hour. Didn't even take a peak at the view as I was spent and sick as a dog.

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    Signature won a Pulitzer Paperback Writer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donuthole View Post
    That is essentially the same pocket rocket that MSR sells for $30-40. Sweet deal.

    http://www.rei.com/product/660163/ms...3-001b2166becc
    That was my thought as well. I've used the MSR pocket rocket for about 5 years now. Going to get one of these for a back-up/replacement.
    “Not the victory but the action. Not the goal but the game. In the deed the glory.”
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  28. #28
    Signature won a Pulitzer Paperback Writer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluegoose View Post
    I know the feeling, BP. When I hiked to the top of Cloud's Peak in the Bighorn Mountains I was suffering badly from the altitude. When we summitted I dropped like a rock and slept for about half an hour. Didn't even take a peak at the view as I was spent and sick as a dog.
    When did you hike Cloud Peak? I've been meaning to get back to the CPW for sometime now. That's my favorite place to backpack. Thinking about doing the Solitude Trail loop with a hike up to Cloup Peak.
    “Not the victory but the action. Not the goal but the game. In the deed the glory.”
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  29. #29
    Senior Member SteelBlue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigPiney View Post
    you guys are killing me. My wife was already talking about trying to do the John Muir Trial this summer, though I think it will wait till next year. Still I need to get out for a few trips this year.

    Wales Lake (2 years ago):


    and me and some friends resting on the top of Mt Williamson, the 2nd highest peak in the Sierra, with Mt Russell in the background.
    Dang, Wales lake looks awesome!

  30. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paperback Writer View Post
    When did you hike Cloud Peak? I've been meaning to get back to the CPW for sometime now. That's my favorite place to backpack. Thinking about doing the Solitude Trail loop with a hike up to Cloup Peak.
    It's been 14-15 years since I was last there. It was during a 2 week break while I was going to graduate school. My wife was in New York for some work training so I met my FIL and two BILs there for a 4 day trip. My FIL was working as a forest ranger in the Bighorns. They had a seasonal camp hidden away up in the mountains above Helen Lake where we stayed.

    I've been there twice, but haven't really explored much, as both of our trips we used Helen as our base camp. Great area, though.

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