PCT Section P – Cement Bluff, Bluff Lake, Calling my Bluff?

Feeling a bit down spirited as I turned tail to retreat off The Eddy’s, my friend Dorinda and I decided to reconnoiter the north side of The Eddy’s and preview snow status for a few miles north of Park Creek Pass (Mile #1537.2).

Our destination is at the left edge of this ridge, about a 9 mile round trip hike. I’ve been to Park Creeks Trailhead numerous times but have always elected to head south toward Mount Eddy and Deadfall Lakes. I’m grateful for the opportunity to explore the northern section. Things happen for a reason, right?

The trail was soft, smooth and level leading to this beautiful meadow with a few lovely water sources.

Finding High Camp Creek and an old trail to High Camp Pass will provide motivation for a return visit on a day when visibility is better.

The nearby mountains were frosted and frozen, and remained so during our entire hike. Just another reminder that spring storms can be brutal and I made a good decision to get off the slopes the previous day.

The geology in this area is completely different than that in the Deadfall Lakes basin.

First close up glance of Cement Bluff in the distance.

Bluff Lake sitting pretty below Cement Bluff

I loved the colors in this monolith, chocolate brown and bright blue. The shape sort of looked like a whale jumping out of the mountain.

Once on the bluff it was easy to see why it was named Cement. There was absolutely no sign of erosion nor rock slides. This composite rock is cemented in place. There were a couple of campsites, definitely not tent stake friendly, and no loose rock to use in place of those stakes.

Looking to the southeast at The Eddy’s and the area where I was turned around the previous day. It’s not quite visible from this angle, but along the ridge to the left hidden behind Mount Eddy.

Mount Eddy gave us a few moments of viewing before once again finding solace in the clouds.

I believe this ridge showcasing Cement Bluff is part of the Scott Mountains.

It’s worth taking a minute to climb a small ridge for this view of Mt Shasta and the town of Weed. Mt Shasta has remained mostly elusive during my entire hike through Section P, forcing me to focus on the many other beauties in the area.

It’s obvious that our wheeled friends don’t agree with PCT policies.

Trail magic is usually defined as happening upon someone who might share a drink, a treat or a ride. On this day, as we returned to the trailhead, we met a thru hiker who followed my footsteps to the cornice hanging over the Deadfall Lakes basin (link to my post). He didn’t like the steep slope containing the trail either so elected to go over and slide down the cornice. He was happy to have survived, but wouldn’t do it again nor recommend it to others. As expected there were more steep north facing slopes to traverse. He was shaken enough to skip the potentially snowy section between Highway 3 and Sawyers Bar Road. The good news is that now he’s ahead of me and I’ll get intel regarding the down trees from last summer’s fires and the winter. Furthermore, he’ll experience the crossing of Grider Creek minus the bridges and I’ll be happy to use that information to make decisions as to whether I want to proceed. Thanks Ugliest Cheerleader!

Jan’s Tips:

  • If you’re up for a bit more hiking, you’ll find Bull Lake in a couple more miles.
  • This area is loosely considered part of the Klamath Mountains, Mount Eddy range, and Shasta-Trinity Divide Mountains. For purposes of this blog, I’ve categorized the various mountain ranges that parallel Interstate-5’s western side from Castella to Gazelle, as the Trinity Divide Mountains.
  • Reference my Trinity Divide Trails Link Page for maps, books, online resources, etc.
  • For day and multi-day access points along the PCT, I recommend the book, “Day Hikes on the Pacific Crest Trail – California” by George and Patricia Semb.
  • Information about the PCT can be found on my PCT Love page.
  • Additional blog postings about related hikes I’ve taken can be found in my Hikes in the Trinity Divide Mountains category, Hikes near Mt Shasta category, and PCT Hikes category.

13 thoughts on “PCT Section P – Cement Bluff, Bluff Lake, Calling my Bluff?

  1. Pingback: PCT – CA Section P . . . as in Persistently Practicing Patience (Part 1) | Jan's Jaunts and Jabberings

  2. Pingback: PCT – CA Section P . . . as in Persistently Practicing Patience (Part 2) | Jan's Jaunts and Jabberings

  3. I followed your blogs, yours and Joan’s, on the Arizona trail with great interest. So thank you for an informative and entertaining site. I’m planning on doing Sections P & Q beginning next week. Did you get any update on Grider Creek? Any idea how difficult the crossings might be? Thank you,

    Robert P

    • Yes I have an update on Grider Creek. At first crossing there is a detour where you’ll wade through the creek twice in quick succession (there is a sign fur northbound not for southbound). Second crossing is the most challenging. The bridge is broken with half against the south shore. You have two choices. There is a log just upstream or you can ford the creek. Getting to the creek to ford it is not easy. I walked the log with shaky legs and beating heart. No problem at third or fourth crossing.

        • One other tip. If you’d like to stay in a motel when you get to Seiad, there is a bus to/from Happy Camp on M/W/F. You could probably hitch in and take the bus back. It leaves at 8am. I stayed at the Big Foot Cabins. They have on-site laundry, grocery and post office are next door, pizza is down the street. The Seiad Cafe closes at 2pm.

        • Perhaps a little background would be of interest. I was drawn to this hike in spite of “Wild”. I kept looking for some place relatively free of snow but of great interest. When I found Michael Kauffman’s site and his descriptions of The Bigfoot Trail and the interesting flora that cinched it. In all the years of hiking in California I’ve never hiked in the Klamath Mountains, always in the Sierras or, more rarely, in the Coast Range. I’m looking forward to seeing some of that unique flora and to being ahead of most of the PCT crowd. After days of studying routes I thought the PCT sections and the available transportation links would make for a good introduction to the area and a way to get in some early season miles.

          • You’ll love the conifer trees! Sadly you’ll cry as you walk through the burn areas in the Russian and Marble Wilderness areas. I’ll be working on these section reports as soon as I can access a computer and upload photos. Sounds like you’ll be on trail before I accomplish this. Have a great time!

            P.S. You’ll find plenty of solitude. The PCT herd is well south although there is a group who skipped the sierra for now. Some days I saw no one, others maybe 2-3.

  4. Pingback: PCT – CA Section P . . . as in Persistently Practicing Patience (Part 3) | Jan's Jaunts and Jabberings

  5. Pingback: 2015 -Where did Jan Jaunt? | Jan's Jaunts and Jabberings

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