Hikers: Maria G.; Steve W.; Nanci C. — and Linda and Dan F. (not BIG members)
Canyon Creek is a popular early season destination for BIG (2011; 2013; 2014; 2015): 5th time for Maria; 4th time for Steve; 1st time for Nanci, Linda and Dan (2 SF Bay Area friends). The dates for this trip overlapped with Chiyemi’s memorial service — we remembered her from our first trip in 2011.
Day 1: Departed Ashland at 6:30am. After a couple of stops, we were hiking by 11am. Parking lot was surprisingly empty, and most hikers we saw were heading out. We easily avoided poison oak during the first few miles. We had one short detour around a trail slide. Sherry W. had backpacked here a few weeks earlier, so we knew that creek crossings & slide would not be a problem. Temperatures on Monday were moderate, increasing later in the week (when our packs would be lighter for day hikes or return). After ~6 miles, we reached a spacious campsite (same as 2014) near junction with Boulder Creek Lake trail. Enjoyed cocktail hour with 1 shared can of Caldera Ashland Amber, which Steve carried in. No Tysen to play poker, so played Farkle.
Day 2: Dayhiked to Lower & Upper Canyon Creek Lakes — and beyond. We forded the knee-deep outflow at end of Upper Canyon Lake, and hiked toward L Lake. From previous years, Steve had his eye on a saddle, which might have afforded views of Emerald and Sapphire Lakes. The rest of the group decided to join him on this adventure, so we began by working our way up the relatively open slope. When bushwhacking got too extensive and unpleasant, we diverted to L Lake, and then back to campsite — too hungry & tired for cocktail hour and games.
Day 3: Dayhiked to Boulder Creek Lakes — and beyond. After immediate shin-deep ford of Canyon Creek, we ascended ~2 miles. We decided to explore the end of the lake near a waterfall, but opted to skip a cross-country circumnavigation along a ridge. After lunch, Maria, Nanci and Steve relaxed in the lake, while Dan and Linda cross-countried to Forbidden Lake. Cocktail hour this day was 1 shared can of Caldera Pilot Rock Porter with after-dinner tent open-house, medical kit show-and-tell, and Farkle.
Day 4: Backpacked out. In Weaverville, both La Grange Cafe and Stagecoach Pizzeria were closed (maybe permanently?), so we enjoyed lunch at Mamma Llama Eatery and Cafe, before heading home.
The trip was beautiful. We hiked in and camped near the Foster Cabin for 2 nights.
On day 2 we hiked up to Horseshoe lake and Ward lake. Both are beautiful lakes sitting in glacial cirques. I would like to camp at Ward Lake in the future, but would take 2 days to get up there since the last 3 miles to Ward lake are a very continuous climb, not for the faint of heart.
It is about 10 miles to Ward, the first 7 or so are along Swift Creek and it is an easy to moderate hike to that point before the climb up to the lakes. We didn’t go to Landers Lake because we had to leave early.