Day 2 in CA's North Coast was somewhat of a brutish affair due to an excess
of bushwhacking. None of the peaks involved long hikes, but they were often in
areas with thick forest understory. Luckily there was no poison oak anywhere to
be found, a blessing that I can't understate. I did find several ticks
throughout the day, so regular tick checks seemed in order.
Forest Road 13 is an excellent road winding its way up from SR96.
south at Divide Lake leading towards Burrill, but it was not only gated and
locked, but was blocked by downfall that had not yet been cleared for the
season. I walked about a mile and a half of this road to the edge of the forest
boundary. labeled as "Joe"
is found on the other side of an open gate. Because of the downfall, I didn't
expect that anyone had been in to the property yet this year. Regardless, I
went in only a short distance in search of a minor road shown on the topo map
leading up the NNW Ridge of Burrill Peak and back into NF lands. This road is
very old and only useable in places, but it made a
little easier, at least. Some in places showed where hunters
had marked their route, but it's clear the mountain sees little traffic. It was
2/3mi and 900ft of gain to reach the top where the forest and brush gave way to
a fairly . The cross-country bit took me most of an hour. I
took a few photos of the open views looking and
before leaving here in a rusty tin among several found at the
This P900 lies 3.5mi NW of Burrill and outside the national forest. There are
a number of roads that reach towards the summit as seen in the satellite view,
but not shown on the topo map. I had mapped out a route from the east starting
off Forest Road 13, but after first passing an apocalyptically trashed
, I didn't get far up the road until I came to
lost track of the road. My second effort was planned on the fly, based on what
I could see on GPSr maps, starting from the southwest side. I was able to drive
a somewhat brushy and muddy road to get within 2/3mi, but it turned out to
be rough-going, entirely unnecessary, too. I spent an inordinate amount of time
after the old logging road seemed
to end. It was some pretty thick brush on very steep slopes that had me poking
and probing before finding my way through. As I
neared the summit I suddenly came out on , perfectly
serviceable (for hiking, not driving) judging by the use trail running along it.
On the way back I followed this old road, about 2.5mi in length, back to where
I'd started, a far easier affair. I left at
the partially open summit with views off to the west and northwest. In all, I
spent more than three hours on this minor summit between my two attempts. It
was already noon and I'd only visited two summits on the day.
Between my two attempts on Bee Mtn, I had tried to drive further up Forest Road
13 to Onion Mtn and Blue Creek Mtn, two other summits on my todo list.
Unfortunately, the road was gated and locked with quite a few miles to go. Not
exactly giving up, I could make another effort to reach these by another route,
but I would first have to drive all the way back to SR96, a distance of some
15mi or so. I was happy that those first 9mi coming up from the highway were
paved to make this a bit easier and faster. Back on SR96, I drove six miles
north to Cedar Camp Rd and started up this long, winding forest road. My first
stop was bonus peak 3,480ft. A lesser road forking off excellent Cedar Camp Rd
goes around the east and south sides of the summit. I on the
road on the east side where it comes close to the summit. A short but steep
cross-country climb took all of four minutes to reach the top buried in forest
undergrowth. A large old-growth stump marked .
This unnamed P1K is found a mile and half north of the previous peak. I
on Cedar Camp Rd on the north side of the peak where the topo map shows a
road leading closer to the summit. I followed , really just a
tangle of thickets up as far as I could and then cross-country through heavy
traffic, taking 15min to cover about 1/3mi. Its is also buried
in forest with nary a view.
Slate Creek Butte
Six miles further up Cedar Camp Rd got me in the vicinity of Slate Creek Butte,
a P1K and CC-listed
summit. A road forking off here gets one within half a mile
of the summit on the southwest side. The cross-country hike goes up about 300ft
starting at 4,500ft, high enough that that was better
than I'd found on the lower peaks. It took me about half an hour to reach
another underwhelming summit where I left , likely to be
burned up when this hill goes up in flames in the next major forest fire.
This is an easy bonus just off Cedar Camp Rd a few more miles north of Slate
Creek Butte. It took 15min for the roundtrip effort up and down from the road.
It was quite steep but short, with mostly . The
fewer trees and more brush and the highest point is quite difficult to
determine. I climbed around in the brush a few places to satisfy my OCD needs
and called it good.
This P1K is found another three miles up Cedar Camp Rd. At a saddle on the NE
side is the junction with the alternate road I hoped to take to Blue Creek
Mtn and Onion Mtn, unfortunately it was .
I would have to leave
those two peaks for another time. Vans BM is less than 2/3mi from this point,
so I parked and headed off on the closed forest road for about half the distance
before climbing onto the NE Ridge for the remaining cross-country to the summit.
It was another brushy affair that got worse as I neared the highpoint. I
thrashed around in heavy bramble, at one point, before
stumbling upon and a pair of empty .
Dennis Poulin had found the same empty cans when he visited in 2014. I left one
of in the cans before starting down. Figuring I could make
shorter work of the
cross-country by heading down the north side more directly to the road, I did
this, finding it very brushy but thankfully downhill where gravity could help
pull me through the stuff. No fun, this one.
Rock Creek Butte
It was after 5:30p by the time I returned from Vans BM. With Blue Creek Mtn
out of the picture, my next day's goal was a hike in the Siskiyou Wilderness
to the north. I continued on Cedar Camp Rd to its junction with G-O road, an
even better forest road. Most of this is paved all the way to the Wilderness
boundary. "G-O" stands for "Gaskett-Orleans, the two towns that the road once
connected between US199 and SR96. The highest portion of this road which was
several miles of rougher 4WD road, was closed off and absorbed into the
Wilderness. About five miles from the end of the road, I noticed there were two
additional bonus peaks, each with more than 750ft of prominence. Rock Creek
Butte was the first of these, lying about 0.4mi east of the road. The 2008
Siskiyou Complex fire had burned over a huge portion of in
this area and ten years later it was still looking pretty forlorn. Some pockets
of trees had escaped the blaze, offering more hope for recovery. The hike along
to the summit was not difficult thanks to openings
between the heavier regrowth of manzanita and other brush.
was one of the few I'd seen today with , so I it seemed
worthy of leaving even if it was just a bonus peak. I spent
just over half an hour on the .
This unnamed summit with 800ft of prominence is found 3mi west of Rock Creek
Butte, about 3/4mi from G-O Rd. I was able to cover half of the distance using
an old road still serviceable as , the remaining a somewhat
bothersome brushfest. The summit featured a small with a
generic not indicated on the topo map. There was a partial
view to where
fog could be seen creeping up the valleys even as it was beginning to come over
my peak from the northwest. It would be chilly and windy when I
jeep, making for a cold shower. I ended up spending the night there where I had
parked, leaving the remaining few miles of driving to the Wilderness boundary
for the morning. This won't be recorded as one of my more enjoyable days...