I headed out from home in Medford, Oregon early on August 6, 2005. I was headed for the Marble Mountain Wilderness in Northern California. One of my goals today was to hike up the wilderness highpoint, Boulder Peak. I was prepared for a long hike on a hot day.
I followed the directions to the trailhead listed in the Route Description and found only one other car parked at the Boulder Creek Trailhead. The elevation of the trailghead is about 3,800 feet. It was already warm, so I put on sunscreen and my hat and headed up the trail. The trail is nice and wide, but a little rocky and I was made good progress up the trail. After an hour or so, my first glimpse of Marble Mountain off to the west encouraged me to keep going. There are lots of switchbacks on this trail. The scenery progressed from lots of brush and trees near the trailhead to more of forest without and brush under the trees higher up.
Finally, I reached a ridge line at about 6,300 feet that was kind of rocky and treeless. A short distance further on somewhat level trail brought me to a fork in the trail. Left to Lower Wright Lake, right to Deer Lake. I went left and the trail soon emerged from the forest into wildflower heaven. First, I hiked around a bowl like area and then crossed Boulder Creek. Then it was up some more to Lower Wright Lake. The wildflowers were everywhere, obscuring the trail in spots. Boulder Peak was standing proudly above Lower Wright Lake and it looked like I still had some climbing to do.
I didn’t go down to Lower Wright Lake but continued on up to Upper Wright Lake. The trail passed around the south and east sides of Upper Wright Lake and then up to a ridge line at about 7,700 feet. Now the trail became fainter but it was still easy to follow to the southwest towards Boulder Peak. The wildflowers were not as prolific on this ridge but the views were fantastic. Mt. Shasta stood in the distance in her full majesty.
The trail along the ridge line was not very steep until it approached Boulder Peak itself and then it was up towards the summit. I kept my head down and plodded up to the summit ridge. When I looked up, I had passed the route to the summit, so I had to back track a bit and climb the last little bit to the summit.
The summit was covered with flying ants!! It was nasty! I took a few pictures, tagged the summit rock, and moved about 50 feet back down the hill so I could eat lunch. It was a beautiful day on the summit with expansive views in every direction. It looked like I could take a running jump and do a cannon ball into Lower Wright Lake, but I decided against that 1,500 ft high dive and took a different trail down.
I continued on the trail and it descended into Second Valley Creek Basin. The trail was steep and overgrown with wildflowers on the descent, but I eventually got to the valley below and the trial disappeared in the wildflowers. I headed down the valley picking my way around a few brush patches and avoiding the muddy creek bottom. I have never seen so many wildflowers. I crossed the creek about 1/3 of the way down the valley because the footing looked better on the west side of the valley. What a beautiful walk all the way down to the mouth of the valley. At the mouth of the valley the Deer Lake Trail crossed and I jumped on the trail and followed it northeast back to the Boulder Creek Trail. The Deer Lake Trail did climb up about 100ft before dropping back down to the trail junction.
Once on the Boulder Creek Trail, I followed it back down to the trailhead and my car. What a great hike! I never saw another person and thoroughly enjoyed myself. The total hike took 7 ¼ hours, covered about 13 miles and had about 4,600 ft of elevation gain.