June 20, 2014 – Friday
Itching to get into the backcountry we headed to the Trinity-Alps Wilderness in Shasta-Trinity National Forest. We had just made a left onto the unpaved Hobo Gulch Road when the course of our weekend drastically changed. In the next two hours, we managed to save the State of California, or at least the Shasta-Trinity National Forest from what could possibly have become the next Rim Fire.
Remember these are real events, which happened to real people; namely us.
8:30 PM – Catch sight of smoke billowing down from around East Fork Road. Campfires? But there are restrictions in place.
8:30 PM – Drive down to site of flames and discover trees are on fire and tongues of flame are shooting in all directions.
8:58 PM – Drive to cell coverage and call 9-1-1.
9:35 PM – Trinity County Sheriff arrives.
10:00 PM – Forest Service, BLM, County, and Weaverville fire department trucks start to trickle in.
10:30 PM – We are told the fire has been contained and was caused by a downed power line.
10:45 PM – We head to camp along the East Fork of the North Fork Trinity River and drink to the fact that we saved California.
Ok, so all the people actually fighting the fire saved California but we helped a little, right?
Remember, “only you can prevent forest fires” and “where there’s smoke, there’s fire”. If you see anything unusual, don’t hesitate to call 9-1-1 and maybe you can stop a catastrophe.
The Actual Backpack: 1 mile to the Trinity River and camp
After all the excitement of the fire, a late night, and a bit of a hangover we headed out late Saturday morning for our 30-mile loop.
However, our hangovers and general laziness got the better of us. “The best laid plans…” That’s 3 cliches for those keeping count.
About 1 mile from the Hobo Gulch Trailhead the Trinity River crosses the trail. There is a decent campsite on the other side of the river and that is where we decided to stay. After all, backpacking doesn’t need to be about distance covered. It’s about the places.
We spent an entire day lounging by the beautiful river with the butterflies keeping us company. There were more fluttering wings than we could count. We felt like a couple of Dorothys sprawled out along the Yellow Brick Road.
Bear Wallow Meadow: 4.5 miles from Hobo Gulch Trailhead, strenuous
On Sunday, we decided to head out to Bear Wallow Meadow (3.5 miles from the river). The hike to the meadow is a long, exposed climb. The trail is also overgrown with thorn bushes as well as poison oak. However, the meadow was covered in Leopard Lillies and other wildflowers.
No matter where you head from the the trailhead, be prepared for numerous river crossings and swarms of mosquitoes.
For more national forest adventures, visit our U.S. Forest Service Agency Guide.