Lightweight Backpacking After 60 in the Rogue Valley

Bear Basin, Trinity Alps Trip July 14-16, 2013

This trip is half of the Bear Basin-Granite Lake Loop in the Trinity Alps. We did the Granite Lake part last year (link). We day-hiked to Seven Up Pass. With the day hike from Granite Lake that we did last year, we completed the loop around Seven Up Peak.

We hadn’t planned to go to Bear Basin. We were on our way to Mumford Meadows from where we would day-hike to Horseshoe and Ward Lakes. We changed our minds (it was easy with just 2 of us (Mary E. and Maria) on the trip) based on reports from folks we talked to at the trail head, who raved about the wild flowers at Bear Basin Meadow compared to the lesser number at Mumford Meadows. It was 3.4 miles up Swift Creek to the turn off to Bear Basin. NOTE: After Parker Creek crossing, at the junction, you continue straight to go to Bear Basin. To continue on the trail up Swift Creek to Mumford Meadows, you take a sharp right turn.

From the junction, it was another 3.2 miles and 1500’ elevation to Bear Basin. We were disappointed since there were only a few wild flowers. We were also told it was relatively flat, when actually it was a consistent although fairly gradual climb. In hindsight, folks were talking about the trail in general. Yes, once at the basin, it is flat and the wild flowers on the hike to Seven Up Pass were, indeed, incredible. Along with many flowers we are used to seeing, there were three or four we have yet to identify. Most notable were orange leopard lilies, along with two or three varieties of paintbrush.

We were hiking in on a Sunday and many backpackers were coming out, especially from Granite Lake, but we saw only two people hiking out from Bear Basin and we saw no one on our day hike to the pass. We saw a group of horse-packers going into Mumford Meadows on Sunday, another reason we decided to go to Bear Basin instead. As it turned out, it was a group of scientists being taken to Mumford by the Forest Service to do research at Horseshoe Lake. It would have been interesting to talk to them.

When hiking out, we met a party of 11, which included 4 generations, going to Mumford for a family reunion. They were staying 4 days and, no doubt, doing it in style given the gear being taken in on horses. It did also mean that great grandma and some of the children only needed to carry daypacks.

All in all, it was a most delightful trip.

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