Hike Date: May 2-6, 2009
Distance: ~ 25 miles
Trail(s): Offroad mostly
Where’s it at? North of hwy 50 toward Tahoe, near Kyburz, CA
Dangers: Bears, Giardia


I don’t think I’ll ever forget this backpacking trip. This was my very first solo backpacking trip and set the stage for what is probably a dangerous new hobby. Don’t get me wrong, I do like having company but there’s also something to be said for being able to setup camp wherever I want, eat whenever I want, take a break when I want, head home when I want, etc. If you can get beyond “social” for a few days I highly recommend to everyone to try at least one solo backpack trip in their lifetime.

This would never have been the location I would choose but I went in early May and the snow at higher levels, Desolation Wilderness for example, kept me limited to lower elevations. I’ve camped around in Crystal Basin a lot over the years so it was a good choice for me in terms of being sure I wouldn’t get lost at least! All said and done, I’m happy with this location choice.

Never before, and hopefully never again will my backpack be THIS heavy. I brought about 4 books, several pairs of shoes, meals to last over a week, and way too much clothing. I do almost always pack heavy but this time I admittedly went overboard. I was pretty happy to get that pack off at the end of this one for sure.

Silver Creek, along which most of my trip traveled, was RAGING with fresh snow runoff, and it didn’t help that it rained REALLY hard on me for 2 days on this trip. My new rain gear and backpack cover definitely came in handy. Also having waterproof boots was crucial…there was still a fair amount of snow on the ground in pockets here and there.

I do have a good scar on my left thumb to always remember this one by. I had my super-sharp multitool in my hand and was opening up a package, with my teeth for some odd reason, and when the package gave my knife swung down and landed on my left thumb slicing halfway in just below my thumbnail. It was probably one of the more painful cuts I’ve gotten. Definitely would’ve gone in for stitches if I could’ve. Instead I wrapped it in my bandana and Ace bandage with a butterfly bandage and left it like that the rest of the trip. It was quite a challenge to unpack, setup, cleanup and put away all my gear which already barely fit in my backpack. I was happy to have brought the leftover Vicadin pills with me from a dentist adventure prior.

So get out there and try a solo backpacking trip sometime, it’s an interesting experience!

Photos from Crystal Basin and Silver Creek (click to enlarge)

Offroad Backpacking Crystal Basin near South Fork of Silver Creek Offroad Backpacking Crystal Basin near South Fork of Silver Creek Offroad Backpacking Crystal Basin near South Fork of Silver Creek
Offroad Backpacking Crystal Basin near South Fork of Silver Creek Offroad Backpacking Crystal Basin near South Fork of Silver Creek Offroad Backpacking Crystal Basin near South Fork of Silver Creek
Offroad Backpacking Crystal Basin near South Fork of Silver Creek Offroad Backpacking Crystal Basin near South Fork of Silver Creek Offroad Backpacking Crystal Basin near South Fork of Silver Creek
Offroad Backpacking Crystal Basin near South Fork of Silver Creek Offroad Backpacking Crystal Basin near South Fork of Silver Creek Offroad Backpacking Crystal Basin near South Fork of Silver Creek
Offroad Backpacking Crystal Basin near South Fork of Silver Creek Offroad Backpacking Crystal Basin near South Fork of Silver Creek Offroad Backpacking Crystal Basin near South Fork of Silver Creek
Offroad Backpacking Crystal Basin near South Fork of Silver Creek Offroad Backpacking Crystal Basin near South Fork of Silver Creek Offroad Backpacking Crystal Basin near South Fork of Silver Creek
Offroad Backpacking Crystal Basin near South Fork of Silver Creek Offroad Backpacking Crystal Basin near South Fork of Silver Creek Offroad Backpacking Crystal Basin near South Fork of Silver Creek
Offroad Backpacking Crystal Basin near South Fork of Silver Creek Offroad Backpacking Crystal Basin near South Fork of Silver Creek Offroad Backpacking Crystal Basin near South Fork of Silver Creek
Offroad Backpacking Crystal Basin near South Fork of Silver Creek Offroad Backpacking Crystal Basin near South Fork of Silver Creek Offroad Backpacking Crystal Basin near South Fork of Silver Creek
Offroad Backpacking Crystal Basin near South Fork of Silver Creek Offroad Backpacking Crystal Basin near South Fork of Silver Creek Offroad Backpacking Crystal Basin near South Fork of Silver Creek
Offroad Backpacking Crystal Basin near South Fork of Silver Creek Offroad Backpacking Crystal Basin near South Fork of Silver Creek Offroad Backpacking Crystal Basin near South Fork of Silver Creek

Directions to Crystal Basin


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