Kevin's Hiking Page    

Big Elk Lake

Marble Mountain Wilderness

Marble Mountain Wilderness Links:

July 5th - July 7th, 2002

24.1 miles
4685 vertical feet
19 hours, 25 minutes
Rating: 9/10

Directions:   View Driving Map

Jean and I went on a 3-day backpacking trip in Marble Mountain Wilderness, which is located in northern California near the Oregon border. I'd called the ranger station 2 weeks earlier and they said there was still a fair amount of snow at the higher elevations. However, when I called two days before our trip, they said it was only present in patches. I also called ahead for a fire permit (you need one even for a backpacking stove), which they mailed to me.

I picked Marble Mountain Wilderness for this trip for at least three reasons: no snow blocking the trail, fewer people on the trails, and no acclimatization required (the highpoint for us would be under 6400 feet). It would deliver on all counts, and provide some unexpected benefits as well, which I'll get to.

We left the Bay Area around 10:30am on Thursday (July 4th), arriving in Yreka around 4:30pm (stopping for an hour for lunch). As we headed north on I-5, Mt. Shasta loomed ahead of us in the distance, growing larger and larger until its massive hulk dominated all view. It's a stratovolcano and looks similar to Mt. Rainier. If anything, it is more impressive because it rises so abruptly from its surroundings, dominating the view for a hundred miles or more.

When we arrived at our motel in Yreka, it was quite hot outside, over 90 degrees. Thankfully, it cooled down quickly, giving us hope that our backpacking trip wouldn't be too uncomfortable. The motel clerk had recommended Casa Ramos for dinner, but when we arrived there it was closed (it was July 4th, after all). We stepped into the local grocery store to buy some tortillas to bring on our trip. For dinner, we ended up eating at Black Bear Diner a couple miles down the road; it was quite crowded but the food came pretty quickly. A good place to eat if you're up for something like chicken-fried steak.

After dinner, we skipped watching fireworks to concentrate on packing for the next day. I spent some time debating what to bring and what to leave out. See what's inside our packs.

1Lovers Camp to Big Elk Lake 7.32540880
2Big Elk Lake to Spirit Lake and back 7.810051005
3Big Elk Lake to Lovers Camp via Sky High Lakes 9.011402830

Related Pages:

 Kevin's Hiking Page    
Copyright © 1995-2019 Kevin L. Gong