|Cliff Lake, view northwest|
Place: Dinkey Lakes Wilderness, Prather, California
Coordinates: 37.136156, -119.017065
Length: 1.5 miles
When I was convinced that the night was over I crawled out of my tent. The air was cool and damp and fairly dark still, but I've had enough of sleepless tossing and as tired as I was, I was ready to get going.
It was the morning of my second day at the Dinkey Lakes Wilderness. I was on my own, having had a very late start the day before and having to camp for the night in the middle of nowhere.
Ot was a very beautiful middle of nowhere. As daylight grew brighter I slowed down my packing and took the time to appreciate my environment.
That I was camping close to a gorgeous field of wildflowers I already noticed last night. Now, however, I had the chance to inspect them more closely.
|Orchids and associates.|
|Little Elephantshead, Pedicularis attollens ssp. attolens|
|Ladies Tresses, Spiranthes porrifolia|
|My Hike from Orchid Meadow to Cliff Lakes captured by my GPS|
By the time I reconnected with the Nelson Creek Trail the clouds had dispelled and the sun broke out. I felt tired and dizzy so I stopped for a break. A packet of vitamin C (that had lots of fructose) and lots of water help a lot, and too I was up on my feet again, and moving steadily uphill.
|Nelson Creek Trail|
|Northeren Flicker's feather|
|Pearly Everlasting, Anaphalis margaritacea|
|Black-backed Woodpecker, female|
I moved on but stopped soon thereafter to take a photo of the lovely creekside vegetation.
The clouds returned too, and the forest became dark once again. Not many wildflowers there, only a pussypaws here and there, or dried up jewelweed. But color can come also from non-biological sources, like a granite rock with a nice pattern of oxidized metal compounds.
A group of people came down the trail. they were backpackers who spent the night at Cliff Lake and were heading out now. They assured me that the lake was very close now, and that it was really beautiful and worth the sweat. Not that I was any close to disparity but I appreciated the reassurance and my spirit was lifted by their smiles and happy chat. I also was high enough now to see the view over the treetops, and it was magnificent.
The treetops themselves were a sight worth seeing.
|Silver Fir, Abies magnifica|
|American Robin, juvenile|
There by the lake shore I saw many a campsite, some abandoned and some that were occupied still. I stole around the hammocks and tents that were splayed along the southeastern shore and found a private cove with a nice sandy beach all to myself. There I dropped my backpack and pulled out the bear canister and my stove. It was the best breakfast ever :-)
|Cliff Lake, view northeast|
|Alpine Gentian, Gentiana newberryi|
I managed to approach the floating-leaves plants. They had ball-shaped inflorescences and fruit that looked very pretty. Later I was able to identify the genus but the species ID I got with the help of members of the California Native Plants Society.
|Lemmon's Paintbrush, Castilleja lemmonii|
There was a mountain pass to go past but the distance and elevation weren't that much and I thought of checking out a small lake I saw on the map nearby - the Bullfrog Lake, before going down to Rock Lake where I had planned to spend my second night.
The exploration of Bullfrog Lake and my hike over the pass and down to the Dinkey Lakes area I will write about in the next post.
Many thanks to members of the California Native Plants Society for their help in identifying plants!