70 mile per hour winds have a tendency to change your plans.

We’d planned it for months, three days in the backcountry, two friends from work, and we weren’t going to back down because of a squall, but, might as well be smart and enjoy it. Originally heading to the Ebbett’s Pass area, we instead opted for the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness, nearby Sonora Pass.

Our route would take us through canyons, lakes, on the Pacific Crest Trail and on to Alp-like meadows to take us home, though not before becoming four miles off course and dog tired.

Boulder Lake & Stargazing

A perfect spot for camp, several sites, complete with log sits and fire pits, greeted us kindly after a steep set of switch backs after four-to-five miles from the trailhead.

I was pretty impressed with how well put together the whole setup was, while still feeling like a wilderness area. Whether or not the designated campsites are legal is another matter; the place was totally cozy. One note of caution, bring bug spray as the mosquitoes here are plentiful.

After a great dinner, some tequila sips, and rest, the crescent moon settled behind the mountains and the night sky opened up before, presenting a quaint show of the Milky Way and very bright Mars, (we think).

Stargazing, Carson-Iceberg Wilderness

Sleeping that night was incredibly restful, despite trying out a new Black Diamond Spotlight bivy (review on that later). I even got to fall asleep watching some of the stars above the treeline. Who could ask for more?

Onward to being lost…

The three of us were supposed to enjoy our next trek to Golden Lake, by estimation about five or six miles away. Surely, we did most of that. We hopped on the Pacific Crest Trail and experienced jaw-dropping moments for almost the entirety of the day as well as a few run-ins with friendly PCTers.

Carson-Iceberg Wilderness, Pacific Crest Trail

At our junction turn-off from the PCT, we decided on going a bit further to make a quicker day after. That’s where things went awry. Our map was telling us one thing and the trail was telling us another, causing confusion, and us to veer north, rather than west to complete our loop. We didn’t realize the mistake until four miles later, when luckily, a trail runner/angel had a GPS and showed us the error of our ways… we had to backtrack until roughly 8 p.m.

Exhausted and without dinner we went to sleep. From here I don’t have many photos, mainly because getting back was all we could think of. An extra eight miles will do that to you. What I can say, if you ever want to see the Swiss Alps and want to stay in California, go to Paradise Valley.

Paradise Valley, Carson-Iceberg Wilderness

Of course, we made it back alright, and just in time for a cheeseburger and a beer at Strawberry Inn, near Pinecrest. Nom, nom.

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