Marble Mountain Wilderness

July 2009


Marble Mountain Wilderness

Marble Mountain Wilderness - A 3 day journey in July 2009 to Little Elk Lake with a side trip to Deep Lake. Left to right: Little Elk Lake, Washington Lily, Wild Hollyhock, Tiger Lilies, Little Elk Creek, Cow Parsnip. Read the reports of my 2009 adventure OR 2002 adventures.

Tiger Lilies

Tiger Lilies - Abundant throughout the Marble Mountains, especially in meadows and areas with ample water. This bouquet was in a meadow along side Rock Creek, and the meadow also shows off a plethora of Bluff Mallow (violet flowers).

Bluff Mallow

Bluff Mallow - Bursts of silky, violet flowers in abundance throughout the Marble Mountains. Also prevalent and part of the Mallow family is Wild Hollyhock.

Little Elk Lake

Little Elk Lake- Morning reflection. Although this lake where I made home for 2 nights is charming, it comes up short for my idea of a great place to camp ~ I enjoy campsites with places to relax near lakeside, preferable with afternoon sun. Rather, there are no campsites at Little Elk Lake which get any sun, and to make matters worse the perimeter is bog and marshland.

Cow Parsnip

Cow Parsnip - Very prevalent in wet areas near as springs or creeks. These blooms were near the Little Elk Creek waterfall.

Little Elk Creek

Little Elk Creek

Little Elk Creek Waterfall

Little Elk Creek Waterfall - A short distance from outlet of Little Elk Lake along the trail to Deep Lake is this soaring, cascade waterfall. By the map the waterfall doesn't appear to be on Little Elk Creek, rather it is on an unnamed side creek which flows into Little Elk Creek - but a waterfall by any other creek source is still just as stunning.

Wild Hollyhock

Wild Hollyhock - Also called Checkerbloom, this flower is another from the graceful and silky Mallow family. Both this and its cousin Bluff Mallow are prevalent throughout the Marble Mountains.

Deep Lake

Deep Lake - A handsome and classic high altitude cirque formed lake with good camping along its northwest shore near the lake outlet. Deep Lake is about 8 miles from the Lovers Camp trailhead, making it a reasonable destination for a day's backpacking, albeit a long day. Knowing what I do now, I would choose Deep Lake over Little Elk Lake as a destination. And if you're a fisherman, I saw many fish jumping while relaxing here. Below the outlet is a large meadow & marshland with an assortment of wildflowers. This photo was taken near the lake outlet.

Bog Rein Orchid

Bog Rein Orchid - A dominant feature of the meadow below Deep Lake, this orchid makes a statement. It is also know as Bog Candles, an appropriate name since you view many hundreds sprouting from the meadow to make it look like a glowing birthday cake for old Mother Nature.



Washington Lily

Washington Lily - Milk white, a faint yellow streak along the pedal's spines, and an oversized stem for the sparse foliage topped by a large classic lily flower. This was my first sighting of this dazzling lily, in fact I only spotted three for the entire trip.

Squatting Burton Cabin

Squatting Burton Cabin - A short walk north from Little Elk Lake along the creek is the tattered, but still standing, Burton Cabin. Two guys squatted here, making it a temporary home. They brought all sorts of luxury items: Chairs, fishing gear, pellet rifle, lots of food, and even mask & snorkel (but I didn't see scuba gear!). Although they used the cabin to store their gear, they slept outside in tents, a wise choice.