Today was the only full day of a short, 3-day roadtrip to Northern California.
I was in Lassen National Forest chasing down a collection of P1Ks and P900s
with a few bonus peaks thrown in for good measure. Most of these are ancient
volcanoes, weathered and forested now, though some had open views and a few
sported lookout towers. The hikes were mostly short, taking less than an hour,
with as much or more time spent driving between the summits.
This was the only real hike with 1,600ft of gain, though the mileage was pretty
short at 2.5mi roundtrip. The peak lies on the northern edge of Lassen NF, about
10mi east of the SR299/SR89 junction. Excellent Forest Road 22 heads east from
SR89, climbing up to Hat Creek Rim before turning southeast about
A good spur road can get any vehicle to the Bald Mtn Reservoir (a puny
body of shallow water) at the base of the mountain on the south side.
A rougher, unmaintained track gets you closer, taking you around the
west side where I .
This side of the mountain is moderately brushy and some meandering
is needed to avoid the thickest places. As one climbs higher,
some with the gradient. It took about 50min to find my way to the top where I
found and all . I left
here before heading back via the same route.
Blacks is located 13mi southeast of Bald Mtn.
Back on FR22, I continued east to FR111, then south to Halls Flat southeast of
Blacks Mtn. There are probably better roads I could have used from there, but
I followed a series of so-so forest roads east and up to reach the better
Blacks Mtn Loop Rd. I got as close as I could on the west side of the peak and
climbed up through the forest to
in less than ten minutes. In addition to ,
I found a register placed by Lilley/MacLeod
that had only one other entry,
Dennis Poulin in 2015 - a nice little find. No views from the forested summit.
Found 8.5mi ESE of Blacks Mtn, there was much backroads driving to get between
the two in a roundabout fashion. Some roads were closed, others unmaintained as
I looked for roads with the most usage. There is a good road winding its way up
to the that sits
. John was on duty today
and the first thing he asked me when I arrived was if I'd come up for the
birthday. Huh? I asked if it was his birthday, but no, it was the tower's 100th
birthday this year. Hard to imagine one of these things lasting that long. John
was a talker and loved to share the history and intricacies of the tower's
construction, the surrounding forests and valleys, and other towers as well.
He was a relief lookout, spending a few days at various towers while the regular
lookouts had their days off. He had spent most of his career in the Anchorage
Fire Dept before coming back to the Lower 48 to work as a lookout. After getting
my fill of stories, I made several attempts to extract myself from the tower
before I was successful in doing so.
Crater is located about 8mi south of Harvey Mtn, not far from SR44. A good
gravel/dirt road runs up from SR44 to Crater Lake, southwest of the summit where
the small lake is located and a USFS campground. I used Dean Gaudet's GPX track
from PB starting from on the northwest side of the summit.
By following an that becomes a good animal
track, one can avoid the heavy manzanita that grows on the ridgeline. There is
a good-sized cairn at where another MacLeod/Lilley
register can be found. This one is slightly more popular
with four pages of entries.
There are only available due to surrounding trees.
This pair of minor summits are located across SR44 from Crater Mtn, to the
southwest. A decent dirt road climbs from the highway to some antennae
installations on the lower east butte. I first parked on
west butte to do the harder one first. The cross-country route goes up 500ft in
about 0.35mi, moderately brushy but helped by use of
lower portions. There is at the summit where I built a
small cairn to hold . No through the
trees. After returning to the jeep, I drove it part way up the eastern butte.
There is that prevents one from driving to
. It's an easy walk no matter where one starts, taking all of
about 10min. is found at a survey marker on the
south side of the small utility building. I took a more direct line on the
descent, skipping the upper part of the road that makes a long-ish switchback
to the southeast. There are some views from the summit
After returning again to SR44, I drove south for some miles before turning
northeast onto excellent
towards Antelope Mtn. The road runs
around the west and north sides of Campbell Mtn which seemed a worthy bonus
stop. The spur roads I used going up the mountain were unmaintained and grew
increasingly brushy, eventually getting me to stop when I was
, about 1/3mi on the northwest side. There is moderate to
covering much of the summit and it took some time to piece
together a path through the stuff to get to the highpoint, a small
with . I did a
better job on the way down by avoiding the heaviest brush, favoring more use of
the forested areas on the north side. Not a whole lot to recommend this one.
This was the other summit featuring a manned lookout, this time by Robert.
Unlike John, he was a man of few words and though not discourteous, it seemed
clear that he'd rather be left alone than entertain visitors. John had told me
that this was built by NASA when they were testing the
usefulness of solar panels back in the 1970s. The original panels are long gone,
but there is a large set of newer ones at a north
of the lookout. The actual highpoint is found among some large volcanic rocks
just . I went over to , wondering
if there might be a register among them, but found nothing.
Found 3.5mi northeast of Antelope, Whaleback Mtn burned over completely in the
appropriately named Whaleback Fire of 2018. From my half
a mile east of the summit, the place looks a bit . There are
ghost stands of dead pine trees lower down, higher up.
The plants have begun to make but have a long way to go
still. I left at the summit
knowing it was unlikely to be caught in a fire for another decade, at least.
This last summit is found outside the national forest on lands ownded by
Sierra Pacific, the massive logging interest. It is located on the southeast
side of Eagle Lake, above a host of campgrounds, beaches and overlooks found on
that side of the large lake. The roads I traveled up and over this mountain
were all in decent shape. I parked on of the summit and
went up the steep slope for 1/3mi to the summit. There is much brush, but good
route-finding can minimize this. Some rock scrambling can be found just
, too. I managed to get and
in half an hour, just as the shortly before 7p. I left
a register atop this one too, one of the more interesting summits of the day.
Good views of as well.