Day 3 of a CA North Coast trip was the most productive, though oddly very few
of the peaks had any views in comparison to the previous two days. Probably due
to the Six Rivers NF being closer to the coast than the Klamath NF I'd been
touring, resulting in wetter, brushier and tree-ier conditions. It was a
hodge-podge of summits including a P1K and a CC-listed summit. My main
objectives were these two summits, a pair I had tried to reach back in June, but
was stopped by a locked gate enforcing an effort
to prevent the spread of a root fungus
disease in the area. My plan was to approach the peaks from the north this time,
a much longer route (34mi, one-way from SR96), but hopefully not gated. This
worked out nicely, a combination of the G-O Road and Forest Road 13, both paved
all the way to the second summit. Along the way I picked off a number of peaks
I missed on that earlier roadtrip, mostly short distances from the road.
Afterwards, I headed south and into Redwoods NP from the backside to tackle what
I thought was the park highpoint at Schoolhouse Peak. The next day, Bob Sumner
informed me that new sections were added to the park, bringing a new highpoint
(like 10yrs ago, so I'm waaay behind the ball on this one) with it. Of course
I drove right by the actual highpoint, an easy mile hike from the road.
With just under 900ft of prominence, Bald Mtn narrowly missed my attention on
the earlier trip, but would be my first stop on this one. I had gotten up
early while it was still dark to do almost an hour of driving to reach
for Bald Mtn. About ten minutes later and I wouldn't have needed a
headlamp at all. The short hike went through forest with lots of downfall and
some brush that could be skirted by traversing to the right as I approached
from the south. I found nothing "bald" about at all, covered
in trees and without views. As I was starting back from what I judged the
highpoint, I stumbled upon the mostly by accident. It was
completely , without any identifying stamp on it at all.
Found just to the east off G-O Road, this was an exceedingly easy summit I had
visited on that first trip. Returning to the
next to an old
quarry with a defunct utility shed was nothing short of shamelesss stat-padding.
This soft-ranked summit is hidden from view from the G-O Road, down in the
recesses of the Hines Creek drainage. Though not far from the main road, I
followed a spur road down into the drainage to get closer. The summit elevation
is actually below the start of the spur road. I hiked along
now blocked to vehicles, then a short stint up a steep slope under heavy forest
cover and plenty of downfall, but mostly unvegetated .
nothing of interest at the summit and apparently didn't even remember to take
a photo of it.
This second soft-ranked summit (I had avoided all the soft-ranked points on my
first visit because there were too many objectives for the time I had then) is
just off the righthand side of the road. I parked at WNW of
the summit and followed up to in
ten minutes. No views at all.
Another easy sort-ranked summit, this one also had mild
and ten minutes of effort to reach the top. Many of the trees at the summit had
succumbed to fire damage and was thickest here, though hardly
a problem. were available due to the fire damage.
There are several
pointing the way to Nickowitz Peak, leading me to
believe it was a drive-up or nearly so, as indicated on the topo map. A good
spur road forks off Forest Road 13, the sign indicating 6mi to the peak. One can
only drive 4mi of the road towards the summit (though one can take another spur
that goes around the summit and continues south and west). The last two miles
have been by a huge cavity dug in the road.
Apparently the road beyond here was made very dangerous by washouts and
mudslides. Many logs have since fallen though it can
still be navigated on foot and offers the best way to the summit on an otherwise
very brushy peak. At the , there's still a quarter mile
to the summit with very dense brush to start, but this as
one nears . I had really expected more from this
one, but no views, no register, just a few pieces of
stapled to some trees nearby. The four mile
roundtrip effort took an hour and a half, the longest outing of the day.
Continuing on to Blue Creek Mtn, this is an easy bonus peak that takes less
than 20min for the roundtrip. Completely forested,
offers reasonably easy travel but again no views at .
Blue Creek Mountain
This P1K is also the most prominent summit in Del Norte County, the last of
the CA County Prominence peaks for me in the state. Despite its prominence, it's
really a bit of a let-down. The top has been partially bulldozed, quite large
and an exact highpoint hard to pinpoint. Not really good views either, despite
and as close to a drive-up as you can get in this neck of
the woods. I walked around a bit anyway, but decided I could just as well have
stayed in the jeep.
summit turned out to be a little more interesting than I had
expected, most notably as a classic bushwhack. Parking on
a spur road going to Onion Lake, I went at a deliberately slow
pace, taking my time to get through the , finding it an
enjoyable experience. It took about 20min to make my way to
where I thought the northernmost rock outcrop might be
the highpoint. I persevered for several hundred more feet through
to find a second that measured
nearly equal height but had . I
decided this made a slightly better summit and left a register here. There were
actually some to be had, too, including
to the Pacific Ocean.
I had hoped to continue driving south on FR 13 down to the highway, but
regarding the root fungus suggested I might find the road closed after another
nine miles. After some deliberating, I decided not to chance the
road closure, choosing to instead reverse the 34mi of driving I'd taken from
the longer direction. At least it was all paved, taking just over an hour to
get back to the highway at Orleans.
A second hour of driving would be consumed in getting to Schoolhouse Peak. The
portion on SR96 was smooth and fast, but those on SR169 and Bald Hills Rd
were narrow, windy, and slow. Most of the roads were paved at least, and it
was only the last mile or so within
that was gravel (well
graded for any vehicle). A spur road leading up to the lookout on Schoolhouse
not far from the road, but there is a small turnout for several
vehicles just below the gate. I walked up the remaining road to
, closed and shuttered, but in good working order. There is
a picnic table below
on the grassy knoll with fine, unobstructed views overlooking the park, but
somewhat hazy in the late afternoon with the sun glaring obtrusively. The
actual highpoint is a short walk up the ,
all covered in
tall, brown grass, completely unlike anything I'd hiked in the past few days.
among the grasses, but couldn't really pick it out as
the highest point. Anyway, it seems the real park highpoint is a few miles to
the south at Coyote Ridge. Guess it'll have to wait until the next time I'm
out this way.
Peak 2,682ft / Holter Ridge
After returning to the jeep from Schoolhouse Peak, I took a shower in the
semi-warm sun of the last afternoon, thinking I was done for the day. Continuing
on the road down to the coast, I noticed there were a couple of easy bonus
peaks I could hit up on the way down. Both lie on the eastern edge of the
The first had a cross-country effort to reach the top, the other
going over the double-humped . They were easy enough that I
didn't worry about ruining my shower, just little jaunts to keep me warm in the
fading afternoon light.
I reached the coast after
and enjoyed the drive south to Eureka where
I had dinner before going off to find a place to spend the night. It wasn't
the best of spots, just off US101 with some road noise most of the night, but
it worked well enough...