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How are the Trinity Alps in summer 1988?

How are the Trinity Alps in summer 1988? Tucked into California's northwest corner, the Trinity Alps have all the drawing cards of the Sierra. But with memories of last summer's fires and worries about this year's drought, you might think that the Trinities wouldn't be a good place to visit. While thousands of acres were burned within Shasta-Trinity National Forest, visitors will find plenty of untouched land, especially in the 513,000-acre Trinity Alps Wilderness, north of Weaverville.

And low precipitation means that trails to the snaggle-tooth peaks, cerulean lakes, and alpine meadows in Trinity Country are open now--about a month early.

Earlier access; new map of burn areas

Most years, backpackers and horse-packers exploriing this uncrowded wilderness find 8,000-foot peaks glistening with snow well into August. But this year, with snowpack 60 percent lower than normal, trail users should have almost snow-free access to bald summits by early July.

And pack your fishing gear: despite the light snowpack, most lake levels should remain stable, as will trout populations.

Dry conditions mean more access, but they also mean extreme fire danger. The peaks tend to snag clouds--and rain--through summer, but such showers are likely to bring only temporary relief. (Last year, almost no rain fell, and 15 percent of the wilderness burned. You can located wilderness burns on a new map, free from Shasta-Trinity National Forest, 2400 Washington Ave., Redding 96001.) For current fire conditions, visit the Weaverville ranger station on State 299, open 8 to 5 daily; or call (916) 623-2121. You'll need a free permit for hikes or stays in the wilderness; get one at the Weaverville station, or call the Redding ranger station (246-5222). Fishing permits cost $19 at sporting goods stores.

At Clair Engle (Trinity) Lake, just east of the wilderness, boaters will find good water levels through summer (most water will be saved for release starting in August to keep the Sacramento River cool enough for the fall slamon run). By midsummer, Shasta Lake will be noticeably depleted to meet water demands.

Resorts, houseboats, horsepack trips

Visitors will find about a dozen resorts within a 1/2-hour drive of the Trinities, and motels sprinkle the area. For information on lodgings, write to the Shasta-Cascade Wonderland Association, 1250 Parkview Ave., Redding 96001; or call 243-2643 between 8 and 5 weekdays.

The association and the Weaverville Chamber of Commerce (317 Main Street, 623-3298) can also tell you about houseboating rentals on Clair Engle Lake, as well as packers (horse and llama) who lead groups into the wilderness.

Hikers heading for the Trinities will find about 30 trips, from 3 to 50 miles, in The Trinity Alps, by Luther Linkhart (Wilderness Press, Berkeley, 1986; $14.95).
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Title Annotation:Trinity Alps Wilderness, California
Date:Jul 1, 1988
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