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I awoke around 6:30a in the back of the van where I'd slept the night at the trailhead for Salmon Mtn. I'd only gotten about six hours of sleep and I wondered if it would make me drowsy on the long ride home later after the hike. Salmon Mtn is the highpoint of Humboldt County, an easy hike to a peak just under 7,000ft in height. This was the last of five peaks I had planned for my three day outing to various highpoints in this part of the state.
By 7a I was out the door and starting on the trail. It was easy hiking and easy navigating the whole way along a trail that had been adjusted since it was described by Suttle in 1992. Rather than follow along the ridge most of the way, it now traverses on the west side at a slightly lower elevation, taking away some of the scenic nature of the trail in the process. Most of the traffic on the trail appears to be heading to Red Cap lake located southwest of the summit, judging by the tread of the trail where it forks within the last half mile.
Rather than follow the trail around to the south side as suggested by Suttle, I hiked cross-country up the ridge from the north, over a few false summits before landing on the highpoint shortly before 8:30a. Haze obscured the views somewhat, but it was still pretty impressive. I wish I could have been more familiar with the peaks around the area, but all I could pick out by name was Mt. Shasta far to the east. Thin layers of cloud and fog obscured the timbered valleys, above which many interesting-looking peaks abounded. I hiked down the south side of the peak to see if I could discover the trail again, but a bit to my surprise I kept hiking for more than a quarter of a mile on a use trail without ever encountering the maintained one. Frustrated with that exercise, I reclimbed to the summit and descended the way I had come.
I made a slight deviation on the return in finding the old trail that goes by Indian Rocks. This is an interesting rocky formation, atop which hundreds of ducks and balancing rocks have been erected. I climbed to the top of several of the highest pinnacles, took some photographs, and added a few touches of my own to the formation. Why the trail was rerouted around Indian Rocks I could not determine, but it certainly is a worthwhile visit if you're in the area.
I contemplated climbing nearby Whiteys Peak as well, but decided against it in the end. It certainly didn't look very interesting when I viewed it from the summit of Salmon Mtn. I got back to the van at 10a, ending the foot travel part of my journey. All that remained was a very long drive home. Shortly after returning to Orleans along SR96, I stopped at one of the river access points to take a refreshing swim in the Klamath River. Ok, not altogether refreshing as the water temp was probably about 50 degrees, but after three days without a shower it was indeed a nice exercise to freshen up a bit. This was followed by many hours of driving. I had somehow hoped I might get back by 4p, but an inaccurate estimate of the miles and horrible weekend traffic in San Francisco conspired to keep me on the road until 8p.
I still have four California counties to complete the state, but I don't think I'll get to those until next year. I don't mind the driving so much, but I'm not so very fond of it either.
For more information see these SummitPost pages: Salmon Mountain
This page last updated: Sat Apr 7 17:05:07 2007
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