Post-Trip Report, 1989 Canyon Creek Boot 'n Blister hike

The second biannual Boot 'n Blister Reunion Backpack to Canyon Creek Lakes in the Trinity Alps Wilderness was a great as the first one was two years ago. There were only a few from the first hike who didn't make this one, and we added quite a few more. In addition to Norm and Kristie, Michael, Ken, Christie (13), and Matt (9), Joe, Kathy and Don, Jay, Rick (at the base camp), Jeanie, Steve, Jerry, and me who hiked to Caribou Lake in '87, we added Lori, Charlie Bloom (at the base camp), Mara from Venice, CA, Marvin, Mac (Paula) from Berkely, Ron, Maralyn, and Christopher (7), Candy and Ansel (3) (at the base camp), Carol and Chris from Tehachapi on this year's hike. So we were down 7 and up 12 to a total of 27, 23 of whom hiked into the lakes.

Ron pulled another fast one. When I saw him in Bishop a couple of weeks before the hike, he told me that he wasn't going to come because a B'nB hike without Mac wasn't a B'nB hike. When I said I would pick Mac up in Berkely in my truck he said that in that case, he'd come. News of this committed Mac, then Ron didn't come after all. As it turns out, nothing will keep Mac from the future hikes. She wants to start a Bay Area chapter ('Quake 'n Blister?). Call her if you want to join.

We got our wilderness permit from a long-time colleague of mine at U.S. Geological Survey, Stephanie, who is now the Spotted Owl Lady of the Big Bar Ranger District (AKA, District Biologist). She was going to join us on the hike, but it was slash-burning season and she had to work. I got a phone call from the Forest Service about a day before I left for the hike. It turns out that they were having a field seminar up Swift Creek to discuss the upcoming management plan for the Trinity Alps Wilderness and wanted to coordinate it with our outing. If we had known earlier, we could have added a note in the Angela-Meuler flyer that went out in September. The woman who called me, who's name is Say, in fact was part of the early 1980's attempt to revive Boot 'n Blister. The Humboldt Alumni Affairs office nearly sent a Humboldt Stater reporter on the hike, but there was a schedule conflict. Pamila from Alumni Affairs was helpful in providing over 20 addresses for the roster.

As expected, people came into Ripstein Camp from early afternoon (Kathy and Don, Charlie Bloom...), to fairly late at night (Maralyn et. al., Chris and Carol...) Some people would finally go off to sleep and another carload would show up. The next morning was NOT the usual "hit-the-trail-early" action of the B'nB of old. After all, we had half of what we came for without lifting a finger foot: each other.

We named two geographic features on the new map: "Half Way There" and "Seems Like Half Way." They will be added to the Helena 15' USGS quad as seen on the B'nB T-shirts. I don't know where we ate lunch. It seems like it was at the farthest of the two points. There was a great swimming hole just south of Canyon Creek Meadows that we hit right after lunch. We ran into a hiker from Humboldt State; we asked him if there was a hiking club there any more. He said that he was it by virtue of being the only backpacker at the University. He zoomed by to fast for us to get his name in the database.

By the time we got to Upper Canyon Creek Falls, we were looking for an excuse to settle down for yet more to eat and more of the endless and insufferable reminiscing (the latter being the very reason my wife, Steve's wife, Mara's husband, etc., stayed home). It turns out that about a half mile from the lower lake is the last place where you can really put a lot of people close enough to visit, yet far enough apart for some open space. The Upper Falls are right over the rocks from there and made a nice sound all night whilst we slept. We dropped our packs and hit the lakes before dark. Lo and behold, Marvin was there a day early. He had to work Sunday morning back in Humboldt County, so he left for the lakes Friday to wait for us. Little did he know that we don't all hammer the hills like he does, and wouldn't intersect his "traverse" until very late Saturday. It was a joy to see him even for a short visit. There was a little competition between the two little boys on the trip. Rumor has it that the usual complaints either might have had about long distance were kept quiet for fear the other might hear. I'm sure glad we never acted like that when we were kids (cough cough).

The camp was a replay of so many camps we've all had. The same old beat-up Sverre, I mean Svea stoves came out of the same old beat up Antelope and Kelty packs. The same old Blue Puma down gear went on. Even the Gore Tex is getting a little old. The only new items were the First Need water filters and the Reeboks.

The next day was when Jerry, Jay, and Michael ran off to see L Lake. They went to where they thought there ought to be a lake rather than where there was a lake. A lake named after Jerry is being added to the quad on the T-shirts. The hike out was done with the same lack of care for time. Why leave? We're here for being in the hills, not back at the cars. The swimming hole was just as inviting on the way out as on the way in. about six of us had a pot-luck lunch with enough variety to put together quite a cheese board. This is the only hike Don has ever been on where it was actually longer going out than in; it is usually the other way around. Kathy and I decided some extensional tectonic event must have taken place Saturday night to stretch the trail. Don decided the scale of the map should be smaller going out than in. That change will be on the T-shirt quad. About 8 of us hit Junction City for dinner at the little café there. As the meal progressed and the tails of old trips got wilder, the old couple sitting behind us, doing a poor job of hiding their curiosity, showed signs of thinking something to the effect of "...Those people sound like they're all about 19, but they look 40!" Jeanie, who came up with Mac and me, went back with Joe to the Bay Area. Mac and I went to Steve's house in Eureka and visited Charlie Bloom the next day. My truck blew an oil line and was lying dead outside the laundromat where Charlie was doing his wash. Sure enough, about 2 hours later, after I got it fixed, Charlie was back to be sure I was doing all right. Mac pointed out that Charlie has a long history of coming to my rescue: helicopters in the Kings Range in about '66, Harrington Creek in '71... why should our roles change now?

There is debate as to the 1991 reunion hike. Ken wants to have it in the King Range for 3 days. That would make a great hike, but be difficult for a lot of people; the Rushs, the Oregon, Nevada, and Montana people, and even the Bay Area types would need 5 days with kids out of school. It might make a good 1990 hike for those into the hike with the visit being secondary. There are several votes to simply do Canyon Creek again; it was so perfect. There's a good reason the Club did that trip more than any other. Other choices are Sapphire and Emerald with Morris Meadow as a bail-out, but it's a long way in. Papoose Lake is also a long way in with no good bail-out. Swift Creek to Granite Lake is a bit longer drive and the hike is only about 4.5 miles I think (I don't know of any B'nB trips there. The Marbles (One Mile Lake) have the same drawbacks as the King Range. Cast your votes. We'll make up our collective mind next Spring about a between-reunion hike and by Fall about the 1991 trip. Kathy will do [and did] the T-shirts as soon as I draft the new geographic features on the map and make the negative.

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Date created: 05/30/2002
Last modified: 9/16/2005

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