Marble Mountain Wilderness
I first visited this area in 2004 when my friend Jay and I attempted an ambitious loop starting from the Wooley Creek Trailhead, to the headwaters at Wooley Lake, back to Hancock Lake, and then laboring along the non-existent trail on Steinacher Ridge back to our car. This was the first major hike I took in the Marble Mountain Wilderness and my encounter with Pacific silver fir (Abies amabilis) around the Diamond Lake – English Peak region inspired the writing of my first book, Conifer Country.
Since 2004, I have returned three more times. The second was in 2007 while getting serious about writing Conifer Country. The third was in 2009 on my first thru-hike of the Bigfoot Trail, and most recently in 2019 surveying and mapping the silver fir for the Klamath National Forest. While 15 years is not that long, major shifts have occurred in the headwaters of the North Fork Salmon River. Three different fires have moved through the area , new pathogens like the Balsam woolly adelgid (Adelges piceae) have discovered California’s firs, and the climate has continued to get warmer. Technology has changed too with improvements in digital camera technology.
What follows are some before and after pictures from a selection of these trips. Long live the Klamath Mountain Conifers