Cliff Lake Backpack Trip: July 2013
In July, Maria G., George H. and Tysen M. drove to the Shackleford Trailhead (TH) in the Marble Wilderness. We drove south to Yreka on Highway 5 and then took Highway 3 to Greenview where we turned right to reach the TH after several miles.
After our customary TH photo, we started our 5 mile, 1500 ft elevation gain, hike to Cliff Lake. We took the fork toward to Log Lake, rather than to Campbell Lake, and had lunch there. As we approached Log Lake, we were serenaded with a cow bell concert by a herd of cows grazing in the flower-covered meadows off the trail.
The weather was in the high 70’s or low 80’s and it was getting overcast when we continued. In the middle of the afternoon, it rained for about an hour and we heard a few thunder claps in the distance but continued hiking.
We reached the trail fork at Campbell Lake, turned right and started our ascent up to Cliff Lake. Except for the cows, we had seen no one during this mid-week hike.
As we approached Cliff Lake, we saw a mother with 2 children without packs. They were either day hikers or camped at one of the two lakes.
We finally reached the north end of Cliff Lake and selected one of several available campsites. There, we set up our tents in this spacious campsite. By this time the temperatures had risen into the mid 80’s.
The next morning, after a very warm (mid-70’s) night, we had breakfast and took pictures of this beautiful alpine lake. The full moon, which had come out during the night, was receding to the southwest.
After breakfast, we explored the trail to the south end of the lake. While we saw several other campsites, none of them were occupied.
We returned back to our campsite and then continued on down to Campbell Lake, past a small lillypad-covered lake, to Summit Lake. As the pictures show, Summit Lake was another beautiful lake, although much smaller. After lunch, we returned to our campsite at Cliff Lake where Tysen took a swim, while George just got his legs wet in the cool water.
In addition to a few chipmunks near our campsite, we saw a few dark brown salamanders in the lake. These were more curious than afraid of us as we replenished our water supply.
That night we celebrated Maria’s birthday with a toast of spirits that George had brought along. After dinner, we taught George how to play Farkle using 6 dies. We heard someone chopping wood at one of the campsites toward the south end of the lake, indicating that someone was camping there now.
That night it was a little cooler (mid 60’s) which was refreshing. The next morning, we packed up after breakfast and headed back down the mountain. Our return route took us past Campbell Lake. Again, we saw very few people nor any occupied campsites. However, several groups of backpackers were heading in as we headed back to the TH.
At the TH, the temperatures were in the mid-80’s. As has been our custom in the past, we headed down to Etna on Highway 3 for lunch and a cold one at the Etna Brewing Company since the temperatures were now in the high 90’s.
Shackleford TH to Cliff Lake Topo Map