East Shirt BM P1K
Peak 4,243ft
Monument Peak P1K
Chaparral Mountain P1K

Fri, Oct 23, 2015
Etymology
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 GPXs: 1 2 3 Profile

With three days between volleyball matches, I headed to Northern California for another visit to the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. I was after a handful of P1Ks in the areas east and south of the Trinity Alps, none of them reaching above 6,000ft. During the summer months these low elevation hikes can be hot, but this weekend saw mild, Fall conditions that were quite pleasant.

East Shirt BM

This unnamed summit is one of the higher points of the Chappie Shasta OHV Area, jointly managed by the BLM and USFS. Lying roughly in the middle of this 52,000 acre recreation area, there are no maintained OHV roads to reach it, though there are a number of unmaintained ones that will do quite well for someone on foot. I chose to approach from the south starting at the end of Whiskey Creek Rd, probably the shortest way to reach the summit. There are two gates found at pavement's end, both signed for No Trespassing as part of a hunting lodge that occupies some land in a private inholding. The left gate goes to the hunting lodge buildings about half a mile in. The right gate, a better choice, begins climbing the ridge between Whiskey Creek and Mad Ox Gulch. I followed this decent road for about 3mi until it tops out on a main ridgeline at around 3,700ft. The road continued over the ridge and down to parts further east where it meets up with some of the publicly accessible OHV roads around Spring Creek. A lesser-used road goes north along the ridgeline, climbing to 4,000ft+ and towards East Shirt BM another three miles further. I left this secondary road where it reaches a saddle between Peak 4,243ft and East Shirt BM, following an old firebreak more directly up the ridge to the north and then northeast to the summit. Almost the entire route is open to views of the surrounding chaparral-covered hills. There are some trees found at the highest elevations but they seem confined to the northern aspects, leaving the ridges mostly open. There was plenty of bear scat found along the whole way with a nice little pile found at the summit - the bears here seem to find plenty of berries to keep themselves fed. I was unable to find the benchmark depicted on the topo, though I made a pretty decent search. I would have to be satisfied with a few pictures of the fine views before starting down.

On the return I stopped off to tag the bonus summit of Peak 4,243ft, then turned west to make a loop of the return. The roads along the return route showed almost no sign of use, though still in fine shape for hiking without having to resort to bushwhacking. On a road leading down to Whiskey Creek, a simple gate marks the boundary with the lodge property and I was a bit concerned about running into trouble as I got closer. There are more than half a dozen buildings along Whiskey Creek, one overlooking a small lake and the others found on either side of the road I walked. None of them are in particularly good shape. The windows are intact and the roofs appear to keep water out, but the rest bespeaks a slow state of decline. I imagine the dues one pays to join the private lodge are not high enough to keep them in four star condition. One building in particular appears to be occupied by a resident caretaker as evidenced by several beat-up looking vehicles out front, but I simply walked by without drawing notice and was happy to make it back to the start without becoming a problem. The whole outing came in at just over 4.5hrs.

Monument Peak

The next three hours were spent in much driving, picking up some supplies in Weaverville and eventually getting myself to Forest Road 16 (paved) and FS Road 4N11 (gravel/dirt, good condition). The latter leads west for 3mi until one is south of Monument Peak at a junction with a poor road. A truck with an ATV trailer was parked here, the owner out hunting no doubt. I parked here as well and followed the poor road upwards until it began to bypass the summit around the south side. Some mild bushwhacking led cross-country up to the summit, sticking close to the SE Ridge to avoid heavier brush on its south side. The fallen and burned remains of a survey tower can be found among the summit rocks with sweeping views in all directions. The roundtrip time was about 45min.

Chaparral Mountain

About 7mi further driving on 4N11 heading west gets one to the base of Chaparral Mtn, another P1K. Oddly, Monument Peak had far more chaparral than this one, whose summit is forest-covered and offers almost no views. On the plus side, the cross-country travel is easy through open forest with a roundtrip time of less than half an hour. By now it was nearly 6p and time to call it a day. I came across another half dozen hunters on the long drive out on 4N11, none of them seeming to have much luck. They asked if I had seen any deer (no, sorry) and apparently had seen none themselves - might be a case of too many hunters chasing too few deer in these parts. It would be dark before I was done, eventually finding my way to Hayfork Divide where I parked off the pavement of FS Road 16 to spend the night.

Continued...


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