“Slippin’ and a slidin’, hey, hey, something, something, something. You–ooh, ooh, my brown eyed girl!” The few lines from Van Morrison’s song played on repeat in my mind, over and over again. It happens during any endurance activity. My mind will pick out a song that I don’t know all of the lyrics to and will replay parts of its chorus. It’s a cruel joke.
On Labor Day weekend, Mark, several friends, and I embarked on a backpacking trip in the Trinity Alps. We backpacked between 5 to 6 miles with 4,000 feet of elevation gain, crossed creeks (thank god for waterproof boots), scrambled up rocks, and trudged through snow towards Deer Lake. This trip tested both my mental and physical stamina, but in spite of the grueling journey, it was worth all of the memories.
Four Lakes Loop trail begins in a densely covered forest filled with green and heavy fog that intermittently rolled through. Throughout the trail, we traveled through a variety of landscapes, and each one was as breathtaking as the other. We spent two days going through this loop, but it is absolutely do-able as a day hike. We came across several hikers attempting it in one day, so I assume that it’d be possible if you were fit enough and had proper gear.
We, not knowing what truly lied ahead of us, were happy happy campers at the trailhead.
Note: Don’t forget to pick up backpacking permits at the ranger station. You don’t need to pay for one for this particular location.
After 2 or 3 miles of steep climbing, we found this lovely clearing to rest and eat some of our snacks. Although the trail was highly trafficked, we were lucky enough to have this little area to ourselves. After that rest, we had a brief reprieve of flat creek crossings, and then we were in for a nasty surprise.
Steep rocks and snow for me to go, “slippin’ and slidin’, hey, hey, just leave me to die.”
I was ready to collapse into the snow and call it a day, but we forged on. In between mentally singing the chorus to Brown Eyed Girl and naming which muscles were screaming in protest at their usage, I placed one foot in front of the other with grim determination. Anything to fight off the random urges to cry and salvage my pride.
At last, we reached our stop: Deer Lake!
The other side. Pictured below was my bathroom view. TMI?
We camped 100 feet from this lake. It was hard to find a good spot since the lake was so crowded with backpackers. After we set up camp and ate dinner, we climbed up to the top of that mountain. Do you see where the sunlight is hitting the mountain? We were somewhere up there.
The next day we grabbed our daypacks and finished up the loop before packing up and out.
Luella Lake was a great spot for Lara Bar to pose for a quick photoshoot.
We continued the hike up more mountains to reach the next lake. The picture below is the last of Luella Lake.
We then reached Diamond Lake which is pictured below.
In the picture below, you can see the switchbacks that we took on the way out of Diamond Lake and towards Summit Lake.
Summit Lake at last!
The descent from Summit Lake back to Deer Lake was somewhat terrifying. I’m always afraid of falling to my death, and yet I continue to go on these escapades.
It’s a very photo heavy post. I know. I just wanted to share yet another beautiful destination with y’all because that’s what life’s all about, right? Making wonderful discoveries, going on adventures, and then sharing them with others so that they too can enjoy life in one of the best ways possible.
Backpacking is one of my favorite activities to do even though we don’t get to do it too often. A weekend out in nature with no technology–just good company, decent food, breathtaking views, and some mentally taxing physical activity is a grounding experience. It’s a great way to reset before heading back to reality.
I like to end all of my nature posts with just a quick reminder to remember to follow the rules, pack out what you brought in, and take care of nature so that it’ll be there for all of us to enjoy hundreds of years from now.
Anyways, thanks for reading. Stay happy and healthy, y’all!