We spent our second week of vacation this year doing our first 5 day backpacking trip. It was also our first visit to California’s Marble Mountain Wilderness located SW of Yreka. We chose the Shackleford Trailhead as our starting point leaving home early Monday morning to make the nearly five and a half hour drive.
We arrived shortly after 10am and set off just after 10:15 on what promised to be a beautiful blue-bird day. The trail passed through a fence on an old road bed before passing the largest wilderness sign we’d ever seen.
The trail followed Shackleford Creek and passed through a series of meadows where we saw various wildflowers and more butterflies than we could believe.
Mourning cloak butterfly
Swallowtails on columbine
At the 2.8 mile mark we headed left on the Campbell Lake Loop.
This trail climbed for 1.3 miles to Campbell Lake.
We took a break at the lake then continued a half mile to a trail junction at the west end of the lake. The right fork was the continuation of the Campbell Lake loop back to the Shackleford Trailhead.
We headed left and in another .2 miles reached another junction. Here we followed a pointer for Cliff Lake after exploring some glacial worn rocks along the west end of Campbell Lake.
The rocks hosted a number of wildflowers.
Here we also saw the first of many Siskiyou Lewisia, a new flower to us.
Between the lakes we passed a lily pad pond.
After .6 miles we arrived at Cliff Lake. The lake was set beneath snow covered hillsides.
A trail crew on horseback passed by as we were exploring the lake. We would see them again on our hike out on Friday. We followed them back to the junction where they headed toward Campbell Lake while we turned left toward Summit Lake. On the way up we passed a pair of ladies sawing through a downed tree. This 1.7 mile section of trail passed through a nice meadow before climbing steeply over a saddle then back down to Summit Meadow Lake before arriving at the larger Summit Lake.
Summit Meadow Lake
We set up camp then set about exploring the lake for the rest of the evening.
At the north end of the lake was its outlet creek as well as another glacier scoured rock outcropping. Wildflowers and a series of ponds dotted the rocky area.
Small falls on the outlet creek.
Bear scat near one of the ponds.
Rough-skinned newts in a pond.
Chipmunk in a huckleberry bush.
We had noticed a few mosquitoes but they didn’t seem too bad. They did manage to get quite a bit of blood from us though. (especially Heather)
All in all it was a great start to the trip and we went to bed eagerly anticipating what the next day would bring. Happy trails!