Lightweight Backpacking After 60 in the Rogue Valley

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.

FIG 0 Cliff Lake Backpack Trip Topo Map

Shackleford TH to Cliff Lake Topo Map

FIG 1 George, Maria & Tysen at Shackleford TH of Marble WildernessGeorge, Maria & Tysen at TH

FIG 2 Log LakeLog Lake

FIG 3 George & Maria eating lunch at Log LakeGeorge & Maria enjoying lunch at Log Lake

FIG 4 Serenaded with Cow BellsWe were serenaded with Cow Bells

FIG 5 On the trail to Cliff Lake through flower covered meadowsOn trail through flower-covered meadow

FIG 6 Maria crossing streamMaria crossing creek

FIG 13 Cliff Lake looking SouthCliff Lake looking south

FIG 12 View Southeast from Campsite of Cliff Lake in morningCliff Lake view east from campsite

FIG 7 Maria at Cliff Lake campsite preparing her breakfastMaria preparing breakfast at Cliff Lake campsite

FIG 8 George enjoying his breakfastGeorge enjoying breakfast

FIG 9 Maria's TentMaria’s tent

FIG 10 Campsite with Tysen's Tent at rightView of campsite with Tysen’s tent on right

FIG 11 George's TentGeorge’s tent

FIG 14 Picturesque Cliff LakeBeautiful Cliff Lake

FIG 15 Maria & George on day hike to West end of Cliff LakeMaria & George on trail to south end of Cliff Lake

FIG 16 Maria admiring flowerMaria admiring flower

FIG 17 Cliff Lake, View NorthView north from south end of Cliff Lake

FIG 18 Maria & George on day hike to Summit LakeMaria & George on day hike to Summit Lake

FIG 19 Maria hiking through wild flowersMaria standing among wild flowers

FIG 20 Small Lillypad covered lakeSmall lillypad covered lake near Campbell Lake

FIG 21 Summit Lake looking southSummit Lake with view to southwest

FIG 22 Summmit Lake looking northwestSummit Lake with view to northwest

FIG 23 Summit Lake looking  south from north endSummit Lake looking south

FIG 24 Large Mushroom growing on treeLarge mushroom growth on tree

FIG 25 Maria getting water at Cliff LakeBack to Cliff Lake

FIG 26 Happy Birthday Maria!Happy Birthday, Maria!

FIG 27 Chipmunk what all the commotion is aboutWhat’s all the commotion about?

FIG 28 View northeast from campsite with late afternoon sunLate afternoon view to northeast from campsite

FIG 29 View southeast in late afternoonView to southeast

FIG 30 View south in late afternoonBeautiful Cliff Lake in late afternoon

FIG 31 So how do you play FarkleMaria teaching George the fine points of Farkle

FIG 32 Morning view of Cliff Lake with receding full moonCliff Lake in the morning

FIG 34 Salamender in Cliff Lake curious about what's going onCurious Salamander near shore

FIG 35 Last morning at Cliff LakeOur final view of Cliff Lake before leaving

FIG 36 View north of Campbell LakeSouth end of Campbell Lake

FIG 37 View South of Campbell LakeCampbell Lake from north end

FIG 38 Another view south of Campbell LakeCampbell Lake

FIG 39 Trail back to Shackleford TH through flower-covered meadowsThrough flower-covered meadows back to the TH


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