A buddy of mine asked me if I wanted to go camping soon, and of course I was game. I looked up some trail camps in the local mountains that looked like they might be good for a short backpacking trip and finally decided on Cooper Canyon Trail Camp off the PCT. We drove out on Saturday morning, met up with some people in LA and drove up the 2 to Cloudburst Summit. The camp is about a 2.5 mile hike from the highway but we decided to take the trail up to Winston Peak first for a small detour.
It was a bit of a workout hiking straight up that small peak with our packs on, and coming down it wasn’t all that easier either. The other side of the peak descended sharply and had lots of lose gravel and rocks.
We started hitting our first large patches of snow here.
After coming down from Winston Peak we met up with the PCT trail and had a quick snack break.
After meeting up with the PCT the trail descended down into the canyon. This area was a beautiful place to hike through. I wanted to take like a million pictures.
It didn’t take long to eventually arrive at the trail camp. We were happy to find that the stream nearby was still running enough that we could use it as a water source.
We were also happy to see that no one else was occupying the campsite so we had it all to ourselves! What, no one else wants to camp in the mountains in the middle of January??
After a quick lunch at the campsite we decided to take a day hike down to the nearby falls before it got too late in the day. We took the PCT/Silver Mocassin Trail from camp down about a mile where we spotted the top of the falls.
It took us a second look to figure out how to get down to the falls but we eventually found a trail that led down to a spot where someone had installed a convenient rope (that was actually in good condition).
There was a good amount of water still coming down the falls, but I’m sure it was nothing compared to what it would look like in springtime.
After hanging around the falls a while we decided we should head back to camp to set up our tents before it started to get dark. I took my time getting back to camp taking a bunch of pictures on the way; I really loved this area.
By the time we got back to camp it had already started to get chilly so we started a small fire in one of the stone stoves. It was nice to have something to warm your hands over.
Before the sun went down we had camp set up pretty well. The sky during sunset was awesome looking from camp.
As night rolled around it started getting quite cold, but of course by this time we already had a nice campfire roaring to keep us warm as we stayed up into the night.
The moon and stars were everything I would expect from a crisp, clear mountain night.
In the morning we restarted the fire for some warmth. We could tell the temperatures dropped below freezing as some of our water that was left out froze over night.
The morning sun peaked through the trees as we readied breakfast and coffee.
After downing our hot coffee and getting down on some excellent breakfast we packed up and headed out. We decided to take a cross-country route up out of the canyon.
It was a little strenuous but we eventually met up with a forest service road which took us back to the trailhead at Cloudburst Summit. Below is the GPS track to the camp, the falls, and back to the trailhead.