Day 11: Alpine Lakes

Friday July 3, 19.0mi/30.6kmMeadow by South Russian Creek (192.8/5320ft) to Lady Gulch trail jct (211.8/6150ft) (CA)Since I was camped at the base of the climb, I got warmed up quickly on all the switchbacks.The trail climbed up 2000ft first to Russian Lake, and then Waterdog Lake, which was still very calm at 9am.I meandered in an out of the Russian Wilderness as I traversed the ridge above the lakes. In Russian Wilderness, trail hikes you!At the end of the ridge was Siphon Lake, and I took a nice long Nutella break there.The trail had turned into a two-track when it reached an open meadow with views to the next ridge.The junction with the PCT was a little haphazardly signed.I turned off onto the Trail Creek trail, which dropped steeply down 2000ft to a campground. With picnic tables! Time for lunch.I also got too excited about the trash cans. I can lighten my pack and get rid of all the food wrappers from the last 4 days!After lunch, I followed a dirt road for a couple of miles to a trailhead. There was just one at parked there, not surprisingly a Subaru. And another Massachusetts export!I climbed back up 2000ft to a ridge above Fish Lake, and I could see snowy Mt Shasta in the distance.I think this was Long Gulch Lake.The trail quality was great all day, until right after I took this photo.I think the snowy mountain in the distance is Thompson Peak, a glaciated summit in the Trinity Alps.As I walked around Rush Lake, the trail meandered thru nice open meadows.I climbed my final ridge for the day, and on the other side of the ridge, the trail became much more obscure. I worked hard to follow it, using clues such as candlestick blazes, waterbars, switchbacks, and cut logs. It was just so covered in fallen sticks & branches.I did pretty well, and only lost the trail for 200m before I found it again. I got to a saddle/pass at 6pm, and decided it was a nice flat area to camp. There is a trail junction nearby, down to Lady Gulch. Today was 5500ft of elevation gain, tomorrow should be similar since I climb the highest point of the trail.

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