July 21, 2017 · Trinity National Forest
Check out the route in detail on AllTrails.
The Scouts left San Francisco in two cars, one crew heading out just past 3pm, the other around 6pm. Our resting place for the night was the Peltier Bridge Campground in the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. The first car made it in time for sunset, and the second rolled in shortly before midnight. Though we weren’t able to obtain a camping permit due to our late arrival, we crossed our fingers and fell asleep under a clear sky.
On Saturday morning we woke early and prepared a decadent breakfast: English muffin sandwiches with hash browns, Chao cheese, and veggie bacon. Morning cruisers were cracked, refreshing in the morning sun. As the temperature steadily rose, we packed our gear and rolled out towards Weaverville to pick up our wilderness permit.
We arrived at the Long Canyon trailhead around 10:30am, and set out shortly thereafter, beginning the long, relentless ascent towards Siligo Peak. The trail began beneath the relative cool of looming pines, but by midday we’d broken through the tree line. We passed through brush, hiking uphill through burbling streams fed by snowmelt; we wound through lush, green meadows, a river rushing downhill to our left; we emerged into full sun and trudged up switchbacks, briefly hiking over the rapidly melting snow fields.
When we crested the rise at Bee Tree Pass, we knew that the majority of our climb was behind us. The view behind us, to the east, was of Shasta, dominating the skyline even at a distance, and still covered in snow. In the shade of a large tree (the Bee Tree?) we stopped for a well-deserved break, Stani promptly closing her eyes for a snooze.
After a quick half mile of blessedly flat trail, we came to the lip of the ridge overlooking Deer Lake, which is situated at the base of Siligo Peak. The view from the top was stunning, but the lake below looked like a refreshing treat, so we lingered only a moment before descending the switchbacks to its shores. We found an area suitable for four tents, up a small rise on the northeast corner of the lake. After setting up our tents and shaking the dust off our packs, we promptly moved to a spot nearer the lake and submerged in its chilly water.
The afternoon provided quiet time for all of the scouts: KP and LT lounged on a rock overlooking the lake; Ash lay out on a rock near the water; Erin and JFo took a nap; HC snapped some photos. As the sun went down, we sat around our makeshift cooking area talking. Ash and LT prepared a hearty pot of vegan beans and rice.
As the dusk faded to night, the Scouts sat on some rocks above our campsite, looking west, watching as the stars winked one by one into view. By the time we closed our eyes for sleep, the Milky Way was a bright band in the sky above us, and the overnight weather was cool and pleasant.
On Sunday morning, LT, Stani, and KP woke up early and set off for a morning hike around the Four Lakes Loop. HC left shortly afterwards to summit Siligo Peak. Erin, JFo, and Ash slept in, and by the time they’d risen, packed, and eaten, the other Scouts were arriving back at base camp.
We began our hike out in two groups, with KP, Stani, Ash, and LT staying behind for a morning swim in Deer Lake. The journey out was swift as compared to our trek in, with few uphills and consistently beautiful views down toward the entrance to Long Canyon where our cars waited.
The two groups rejoined about halfway through the hike out, and finished together at the trailhead around 2pm. After an impromptu picnic of cruisers and cheese, the Scouts packed up the cars and made the long drive back to San Francisco.
Here is some information that comes in handy when preparing for this trip like this.