Paynes Lake, Russian Wilderness Backpacking Trip
June 21 - 28, 2021

Bob and Reenie: 7 Nights, 8 Days, 5.4 Miles Backpacking, 22.4 Miles Day Hiking, Total Uphill Hiking/Backpacking: +4,795'

See Favorite Photos/Videos, Day by Day Narrative and Photos

Favorite Photos/Videos

For any of the following Favorite photos, click on the image to bring up the full resolution version. Day by day photos and narrative follow these.

Paynes Lake

Statue at Statue Lake

Upper Albert Lake

Ridge above Big Blue Lake

Albert Lake, Upper Albert Lake and Blue Lake from Google Earth [Thanks Bill]

Video suggestion: All videos shown below are very short and HD (1080p).

We planned this as a twelve day trip to Klamath National Forest, first backpacking up to Paynes Lake for a week of day hikes, then going to Grizzly Lake for 5 days. However, it got so hot that we decided to end the trip on the eighth day, skipping the backpack up to Grizzly Lake. Having said that, the week at Paynes Lake was a wonderful trip. We spent a day hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) to Taylor Lake and back, a day hiking the PCT to Statue Lake (and beyond), and a day hiking past Albert Lakes up to the ridge overlooking Big Blue Lake.

After a day of relaxation around Paynes Lake, we backpacked down to the car and headed to the China Gulch trailhead for Grizzly Lake. The temperature was over a hundred. We tried a couple of other trailheads, which were also quite hot, decided to stay overnight near the Trinity River at Eagle Creek campground, then headed home the next day.

Highlights/Memorable Events

Day 1, Monday, June 21

Drove from home in Santa Rosa, California, to the Scott Mountain Campground.

Mount Shasta

Dinner: Veggie sandwiches (Reenie had made them for lunch, but we stopped at Subway and ate), mixed nuts, dried fruit.


[About the carnivorous plant - from Britannica: "Cobra plant, (Darlingtonia californica), also called cobra lily or California pitcher plant, the only species of the genus Darlingtonia of the New World pitcher plant family (Sarraceniaceae). The cobra plant is native to swamps in mountain areas of northern California and southern Oregon and uses its carnivorous pitfall traps to supplement its nutritional requirements in poor soil conditions. It thrives in redwood and red fir forests up to 2,000 metres (6,000 feet) above sea level, where temperatures remain below about 18°C (65°F).]" :

Day 2, Tuesday, June 22

We drove from Scott Mountain to the Paynes Lake trailhead (getting lost on the way), then backpacked up the very steep trail from the trailhead to the lake. We backpacked along the shore of the lake to what seemed like the last available campsite, which was quite near another. After setting up camp we discovered that if we followed the trail as it left the lake, crossed a stream, and then looked to the left, there was a perfect campsite, next to the stream, isolated from all others, shaded by trees. The next morning we moved to it.

Near our campsite stream


Backpack Elevation Profile (2.6 miles, climbed 2,059 feet total):

Trailhead to Lake Beginning

To End of Lake Campsite

Dinner: Burritos with beans, corn, hot peppers, cheese, avocado.


Day 3, Wednesday, June 23

We hiked from Paynes Lake to Taylor Lake and back, about 5 miles round trip.

Taylor Lake



Lunch: Salmon, Gouda Cheese, dried apples, and Triscuits
Dinner: Chicken tikka masala with mango, spinach, mushrooms, cashews, basmati rice, pineapple


Adele's Mangos!

Adele's Mangos!

Mt. Shasta

Taylor Lake

Going back up top of trail to Taylor Lake

Day 4, Thursday, June 24

We hike along the PCT towards Statue Lake, miss the lake trailhead and hike on to a very nice panoramic view before turning back and eventually going cross-country to the lake. We find the actual path down from the lake, get to the PCT and return to Paynes Lake. Along the way we see a badly burnt out part of the forest where the remaining dead trees are an eerie white.

Panoramic view before turning back


Dinner: Macaroni and cheese, spinach and salmon


Rock statues at Statue Lake

Statue Lake

Day 5, Friday, June 25

Day hiked from Paynes Lake up to Albert Lake, then up to Upper Albert Lake, and finally up to ridge overlooking Big Blue Lake and Upper Albert Lake.

Upper Albert Lake

Big Blue Lake


Dinner: Gouda cheese, mozzarella cheese sticks, rice crackers, dried fruit.


Bob sets timer on camera

Bob walks ledge to pose with a second to spare

Day 6, Saturday, June 26

This was a day of rest and relaxation.

Paynes Lake

Dinner: Chicken masala with spiced garbanzo beans and quinoa pilaf.


Day 7, Sunday, June 27

We backpacked to car, briefly stopped in Callahan, visited several different trailheads and campgrounds, decided it was too hot to continue with backpacking, so camped at Eagle Creek campground on the Trinity River. Decided to return home tomorrow.


Dinner: Salmon, Gouda cheese, and crackers.


Day 8, Monday, June 28

Drove home from Eagle Creek Campground.

Dried Out Lake


Very Fun Trip!

Eagle Creek

The Fan

Photos and narrative were contributed by both of us: Reenie and Bob
Here are all of the backpacking trips Reenie and Bob have taken

Other Websites
By Bob:

Bob Phillips [phillips bob 27 at yahoo dot com - no spaces]
Santa Rosa, CA
June, 2021