Summer 2013

My backpacking trip this summer was one of the most difficult I’ve ever experienced. Seven of us set out to conquer the wilderness between Kibbie and Many Island Lakes in the southwest corner of Yosemite National Park, but we failed. The distance between these lakes is only about two miles as the crow flies, and the net elevation gain is only about 800 feet. Here’s the story.

We launched our adventure from Shingle Spring, a trailhead just east of Cherry Lake (4702’) in Stanislaus National Forest about 10 miles west of the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. In the photo (top) are (l to r) Leslie, Martin, Esther, the author, Steve, Martha and Axel. We’ve all been together on one backpacking trip or another in the past.

We covered the 4.3 mile trail to Kibbie Lake (6513’) in about  three hours, with another hour spent looking for a campsite on the south side of the lake. Kibbie is a beautiful natural lake, clear of logs, with a smooth, hard bottom —perfect for swimming. Across the lake is Kibbie Creek, the outflow from Many Island Lake (7325’) to the north. There is no trail to Many Island, but we thought we’d just follow the creek. However, the mouth of the creek is pretty inaccessible, having high granite cliffs dropping into Kibbie Lake on both sides.

Jym_group crossing water

We set out the next morning (Day 2) to hike around the 7000’ mountain on the northwest side of the lake, choosing a route with a long, relatively gentle ascent. After lunch near the top, we began our descent to the creek — lots of sliding over rocks, sometimes fighting scrub oaks (not fun!). Finally we reached the creek only to find there was no flow, presumably due to the dry winter. This was to be our only source of drinking water. Luckily there were still a few stagnant pools where we could fill our bottles with filtered water (photo above).

It was only about 2:00 pm, so we started upstream, hopping rocks, fighting brush. On both sides of the creek were steep granite cliffs. After a quarter mile we realized this was hopeless. We decided to abandon the attempt and instead follow the creek back to Kibbie Lake and camp there for the night. Easier said than done! That became a real slug fest. Finally about 6:30 pm, fairly exhausted, we entered what happened to be a nice lakeside campsite.

On Day 3, not wanting to have to retrace our steps up the creek and over the mountain, we decided to try going the other direction around the lake. We managed to get around behind the first big granite cliff (we named it alligator rock, see photo below), then started hiking near the edge of the lake, but eventually realized that this too was impossible. Earlier in the day we had passed another nice campsite on the lake’s edge, so we hiked back there and had a nice afternoon swimming and baking in the afternoon sun (very little shade).

Jym_alligator bluff

Day 4 was spent getting back to the Day 2 campsite. You might ask why these campsites exist if the area is so inaccessible? The answer is that some hearty souls carry inflatable rafts up to Kibbie Lake (along with all their other gear) and paddle across the lake. We chose to camp here at a known location in order to prepare to retrace our steps from Day 2.

Day 5 was thankfully overcast. We got up early, left camp about 9:00 am, hiked up Kibbie Creek, refilled our water bottles at the same stagnant pool as on Day 2, then began climbing (see photo below). It was a tough climb, but not particularly dangerous — although one hiker tore a shoulder muscle when his hiking pole unexpectedly collapsed.


We again had lunch near the top, then got to our campsite on the south shore by mid-afternoon. We had originally intended to hike on over to Cherry Creek to the west, but now we had expended all our time. So the next day we hiked back to the trailhead and drove home.

In summary, the hiking was rather exhausting, we didn’t get very far, but there were certainly some delightful moments. Kibbie Lake is not such a bad place at which to get stuck.

Editor’s note: Do you have a summer adventure that you’d like to share?  Send you ideas to tips[at]

Photos by Jym Clendenin


Still time to register for 2013 Tour de Menlo set for Saturday, August 17

As they have in past years, cycling enthusiasts can choose from three different  routes — 65-, 45- and 35- miles — when participating in the Tour de Menlo on Saturday, August 17. Course descriptions are available online. “The big change this year is the lunch will now be served at Menlo-Atherton High School,” emailed Tom Gibboney, publisher […]

Click to read more →

Things are peachy at Cool Café in Menlo Business Park

The Cool Café located on O’Brien Street in the Menlo Business Park is undoubtedly the most hidden of restauranteur and cookbook author Jesse Cool’s food “empire,” which includes the Flea Street Cafe in Menlo Park and an additional Cool Café at the Cantor Arts Center on the Stanford campus. But it’s the place she’s chosen to turn all […]

Click to read more →

National Night Out takes to the streets in Menlo Park’s Willows neighborhood

The area surrounding Menalto Corners in the Willows neighborhood of Menlo Park was turned into a street fair last night, part of local National Night Out festivities. A measure of its success (or the fame of one its merchants!): Studio Cake’s Beth Ann Goldberg was out of free cupcakes before the event was an hour old. […]

Click to read more →

Menlo Charity Horse Show jumps into its 43rd year

The 43rd annual Menlo Charity Horse Show, benefiting Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, takes place August 6 to 11 at the Menlo Circus Club in Atherton. The show, popularly lauded as one of “The Best in North America,” attracts over 650 Northern California, national, and international exhibitors. Children, adults, amateur, professional, and […]

Click to read more →

Spotted: “Riders up” at first Freewheel Brewing Company cycling event

Freewheel Brewing Company, which is owned by a group of Menlo-Atherton High School dads (and one guy from England!), held its first bike, brew and BBQ event today with proceeds going to local non-profit, Pets In Need. Cyclists chose from a 10K or 25K mile route, although post-ride reports  indicated that some amended the longer route […]

Click to read more →

SparkTruck hits the road again bringing maker skills to school kids

Editor’s note: During the Bay Area Maker Faire earlier this year, Scott R. Kline photographed a number of participants who call Menlo Park their home base. Pictured is Eugene Korsunskly, standing in front of enthusiastic post-its from admirers of his SparkTruck, a mobile platform for learning that tours the country teaching “maker” skills. We asked […]

Click to read more →

Three berry varities available for u-pick at Webb Ranch on Saturday, July 27

Raspberries, boysenberries and Navajo blackberries are ready to be picked at Webb Ranch, which will be open on Saturday, July 27 from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm. A new lawn area is available for picnicking on a first come, first service basis. Bring a lunch and a blanket; water and juice are available for sale. […]

Click to read more →

Mule train is new mode of transportation in Menlo Park

We couldn’t quite believe our eyes when we spotted a man walking through Menlo Park with his three mules, ages 24, 33 and 18. The packs contain his belonging, including a sleeping bag. He’s been walking with mules for over 25 years and year round for the past 10 years. When we asked his name, […]

Click to read more →

Connoisseurs’ Marketplace takes place July 20-21 in downtown Menlo Park

Menlo Park’s longtime signature contribution to the summer festival season is its popular annual mid-summer Connoisseurs’ Marketplace, which this year celebrates its 27th year on July 20-21 along Santa Cruz Avenue. It promises to be a sun-splashed weekend featuring 250 artists, two days of  live music, chefs’ demos, a wide variety of food and drink, […]

Click to read more →

Menlo Park 7-Eleven offers free Slurpee® drinks today from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm

Locals stopping in at the Menlo Park 7-Eleven store at 525 Oak Grove Avenue will be treated to a free 12 ounce Slurpee, almost the double the size of previous years. It’s all part of  Free Slurpee® Day in celebration of the conveninece store’s 86 birthday. This year’s summer’s featured flavors are Slurpee Strawberry Lemonshade […]

Click to read more →