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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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August 18, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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August 18, 2010
 

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Bulletin, Progressive, Record, Reporter Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2010 5C Baby's first backpacking trip Brian Taylor Staff Writer btaylor@lassennews.com To some, a backpacking trip might not be the most ideal way to celebrate a birthday. The thought of trudging up a steep incline in the blistering heat, laden with 75-pounds of gear might turn some folks away, but for me and my fami- ly it was just what the doctor ordered. Not only did I spend my 31st birthday with my girls on the shores of Patterson Lake, one of Modoc County's many jew- els, but it was both my 18- month-old daughter's, and the new family dog's inaugural backpacking adventure. The young lady's faces lit up with enjoyment as we hoisted the packs over our shoulders and set out on the approxi- mately five-mile uphill climb. The hike was stunning. It began with a gentle hill climb through the fir communities near the southern fork of Pine Creek, continued up to a beau- tiful green meadow full of wildflowers and plenty of moving water, through a thick old-growth Aspen grove and onto the summit. It seemed that the summit was evading us, with each cor- ner another stretch of hidden trail revealed itself. The heat of the day was peaking as we conquered the high ridge and just when family morale was dipping, the magical views of the Surprise Valley picked up our spirits and gave us the kick in the pants we needed to reach the lake. As we rounded the final cor- ner, Patterson Lake emerged beneath the sheer 9,710-foot face of Warren Peak. The peak makes a perfect backdrop for the icy lake with snow holding to its steep slope even in mid- July. One quarter of the water was covered in ice so we knew the water would be a bit on the chilly side. My wife carried our daugh- ter in a hand-me-down Kelty Kid's pack that was surpris- ingly comfortable for every- one involved, (thanks Uncle Lane and Aunt Kelly,) while I had the pleasure of carrying everything else. I knew this sort of thing would happen sooner or later, me carrying the family's sup- plies on a backpacking odyssey, so I purchased quite possibly the biggest backpack known to mankind, the Os- prey Argon 110. Though the pack may seem as light as the gas that the name implies, the cornucopia of backpacking supplies that were stuffed into it were not. I must say however this pack impressed me. It holds 7,100 cubic inches of whatever the heck you want to stuff into it on a capable chassis that disperses the load with opti- mal precision. Add into the equation someone who is will- ing to carry such a load, me, and you have yourself one load-hauling machine. We arrived lakeside to find that we were the only ones for miles, so we proceeded to take our time scoping out all the available campsites and set- tled on a real beauty approxi- mately 100 yards from the icy water. It was decked out with everything we needed for two nights of perfect comfort. We dined on a feast of cous cous with sun-dried tomato pesto, oatmeal, clif bars, tofu and cheese sandwiches and pesto pasta. We found a nice sturdy tree limb 50-yards from camp to hang our food and used the trickling outlet from Patter- son to filter our water, clean our dishes and stay hygienic. The second day we decided to take a lovely day hike to an incredible sandstone struc- ture we could see in the dis- tance. As we neared the fiery orange structure we noticed an absence of all things living. It was as if we entered a dead zone. The soil would not sup- port plants and the small amount of water that seemed to spring up from the base of the rocks was a cloudy gray color. We ate our sandwiches, re- ceived a couple ant bites and enjoyed the freshly filtered Patterson water before we headed back up to camp. We made it back to camp with plenty of time for a late afternoon nap then proceeded to scarf down the evening's meal. We had a small warm- ing fire, which helped deter the minimal number of mos- quitoes buzzing about. We fell asleep with a strong wind blowing through the white-bark pines as high-alti- tude dreams danced their way through our minds. We awoke to a beautiful sunrise that reflected off the surrounding cliffs and the glassy water. Ate breakfast on the shore, filtered our water for the day, packed up camp and headed back the way we came. It was sad to part with our wonderful campsite, but we knew we would take with us the memories from this great family trip. The hike out was gorgeous. The wildflowers were glowing with color in the early morn- ing light and as Patterson Lake disappeared behind us, we were eased back to reality with breathtaking views of Mt. Shasta and the surround- ing magic of the Southern Warners. I found it somewhat comical when we crossed paths with another couple hiking with their dog. The woman said "Oh my, she must be heavy," referring to my 23-pound daughter. My thought was, hello. What about me? I am the one laden with 80-pounds of essen- tial life sustaining, back- wood's necessities, but like any proud dad I kept my mouth shut and traipsed down the remaining two miles to the truck. Professional mountain biker Mark Weir takes a ride in the Lakes Basin area during a Shimano product launch earlier this month. Photo by Mark Jordan Mountain bikers like Graeagle Shannon Morrow sports Editor sports@plumasnews.corn More than 20 journalists from the United States, South America and Canada trav- eled to Graeagle earlier this month for a Shimano prod- uct launch, where they learned about and tested the newest bicycle components from the industry's leading manufacturer. Shimano, a Japanese com- pany that produces primari- ly bicycle components and fishing tackle, chose Graea- gle thanks in part to Mark Weir, a professional moun- tain biker with ties to the area. "I have been coming here for years and have family here," said Weir. "When you experience Graeagle and all it has to offer, it's not a hard sell to get people to come." Weir, who won this year's Downieville Classic moun- tain bike race, credited Greg Williams and the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship for transforming the area into a premier destination. Another bicycle company that has been coming to Graeagle for years is WTB. Based in Marin County, WTB helped give birth to moun- tain biking in the early 80s and is now a leading produc- er of tires, saddles, wheels and other components. These gatherings of profes- sional riders, journalists and industry representatives are highlighted by group rides on premier routes through- out the area. "It would take months to ride everything this place has to offer," said Weir. Many who attended the re- cent product launch by Shi- mano stayed at the Chalet View Lodge. "They absolutely loved the area," said Bob Hickman, who owns the Chalet View Lodge. "They could have gone anywhere, and they chose here because it has the best mountain biking." Hickman and Weir are planning to build a pump track, a short bicycle course with jumps and berms, at the Chalet View Lodge. CALL A PROFESSIONAL TrODAY! 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