June 9th 2018. The day before my birthday. This is a place I've always wanted to venture to, but never did. I tried the prior year, spur of the moment trip, and long story short I took a wrong turn and ended up hiking almost 30 miles with a full pack without ever setting up camp and making it back to my car just as the sunset.
This year was going to be different I told myself. I did a little bit of research prior to ensure I didn't take this wrong turn again and make it to the lake I aimed to.
It starts a couple days before, as it usually does, going through my gear, deciding on what I want to bring, laying everything out to ensure that I have everything that I need. For some off reason I opted to pack a little bit differently for this trip, I did things a little differently and packed a little bit more than I normally do, but I am super glad that I did. Summer storms CAN happen here in the Trinity Alps, and anywhere in the outdoors, so always be aware and pack accordingly.
I get off work Friday night around 2 am, drive home, shower, and crawl into my bed with an alarm clock set for 7 am. I finally doze off and before I know it, my alarm clock is going off, waking me up. Now, I am not a morning person persay, but whenever I know I am going backpacking, or going on a trip, I wake up and am ready to go without coffee, but, I have coffee, because coffee :) Make a small breakfast, double check my bag and gear and head out the door.
I always check the weather the entire week following up to the weekend so I can make last minute changes to my setup if needed and this week stayed close to the same, possible thunderstorms and chance of rain. I tend to be optimistic and tell myself, "oh it 'might' rain, but it's unlikely." Haha, always note that it can happen because it does.
On the drive up, weather was optimal, all until I started up the mountain towards the trailhead, skies were grey and dull. Few more miles, it started to rain, and hail and I thought to myself, "well, here we go, happy birthday to me." I arrive to the trailhead an hour later in the rain, so I grab my rain gear out of my bag, throw it on, grab my bag and head up the trail.
I swear this weather was bipolar, every 10 minutes it would rain, then stop and be sunny, so here I am unlayering, relayering as the weather changes because I run warm. But, after about an hour of this, I top out and start making my way into a meadow and all I see in front of me is grey, and I feel a heavy wind coming towards me and it instantly got super cold. I reach into my bag and grab out my Salomon midlayer and throw it on, and I'm glad I did, because within seconds of putting it on, I was pelted with rain, and I mean sideways rain. I was at this moment a little surprised at how quickly the weather can change, but I was staying optimistic, hoping that it would pass. Well, the rain passed, but then it started to SNOW. One of the most beautiful moments I've experienced backpacking so far! This lasted about 5 solid minutes and I continued to press forward, but at a slower pace to enjoy this moment in time, as I have never gotten to be on the trail when it started to snow, especially in June!