Place: Caribou Wilderness, Lassen National Forest, Chester, California
Coordinates (Triangle Lake): 40.530752, -121.218065
On our second day at Caribou Wilderness we were all ready for a good hike. The morning, however, started with rain. The children convened inside my friends' tent and played card games. I didn't mind the rain, which was more like a light drizzle, so I declined the invitation to join. Instead, I left my chika in care of my friends and went on an hour of solo walk, circumventing Triangle Lake (about 2 miles long).
|My hike around Triangle Lake, as captured by my GPS (No, I didn't make a shortcut through the water)|
The one item upon which the rules of this game don't apply is the camera, which was by far the heaviest non-essential item I brought along. Never once did I consider leaving it behind. I did leave behind, however, all the speciality lenses, choosing to bring along just the basic, multi-purpose lens. So most of my photos of this backpacking trip (that aren't of my chika and our friends) are of scenery. That, and the intermittent rain, of course, which made me reluctant to pull my camera out all too often.
|Triangle Lake, west shore|
As I came around the lake's south corner I was surprised to see a couple of day hikers on the trail. They were the only other humans I've seen throughout the entire backpacking trip (except for our friends, of course). I didn't engage them in any conversation, they too seemed to appreciate the silence.
My friends planned to hike to Widow Lake, which is within the boundaries of Lassen Volcanic National Park, about 3 miles to the west.
|Triangle Lake to Widow Lake, as captured by my GPS|
|Once a pond, now a small meadowlet.|
|Lassen National Forest|
|Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja affinis)|
Then it started raining again.
|Primrose Monkeyflower (Mimulus primuloides)|
|Just slip on the magic ring and step into the pond. What world will this one lead to?|
The drizzle stopped. We kept walking. At some point my friends stopped to exchange their toddler one more time and I found myself racing after the three older children that kept on walking ahead. Then one of them cried out, "Snake!"
I hurried forward and got there just in time to take a photo of the cute, sleek reptile as it halted on a rock. It quickly slithered into the shrubs and by the time my friends caught up with us it was gone. That pretty garter snake was the most exciting wildlife we've seen on that hike.
We arrived at the camp, had a nice dinner and very soon after the sun set we crashed inside our sleeping bags. Outdoors sleeping is best on the second night of camping.