Burrill Peak P1K
Bee Mountain P900
Peak 3,480ft P300
Peak 3,862ft P1K
Slate Creek Butte P1K CC
Peak 4,534ft P300
Vans BM P1K
Rock Creek Butte P750
Peak 5,240ft P750

Wed, Jun 5, 2019
Etymology
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 4 5 GPX

Continued...

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.

Burrill Peak

Forest Road 13 is an excellent road winding its way up from SR96. A road forks 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. Private property 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 the bushwhacking a little easier, at least. Some flagging 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 open summit. The cross-country bit took me most of an hour. I took a few photos of the open views looking west and north before leaving a register here in a rusty tin among several found at the top.

Bee Mountain

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 motorhome, I didn't get far up the road until I came to a trashed homestead and 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 bushwhacking after the old logging road I started up on seemed to end. It was some pretty thick brush on very steep slopes that had me poking and probing many alternatives before finding my way through. As I neared the summit I suddenly came out on an old road, 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 a register 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.

Peak 3,480ft

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 parked 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 the highpoint.

Peak 3,862ft

This unnamed P1K is found a mile and half north of the previous peak. I parked 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 this road, 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 summit 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 forest understory 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 a register, likely to be burned up when this hill goes up in flames in the next major forest fire.

Peak 4,534ft

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 clear understory. The summit area has 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.

Vans BM

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 gated and locked. 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, falling down at one point, before stumbling upon the benchmark and a pair of empty nested cans. Dennis Poulin had found the same empty cans when he visited in 2014. I left one of my registers 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 the forest 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 the ridgeline to the summit was not difficult thanks to openings between the heavier regrowth of manzanita and other brush. The summit was one of the few I'd seen today with open views, so I it seemed worthy of leaving a register even if it was just a bonus peak. I spent just over half an hour on the roundtrip effort.

Peak 5,240ft

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 a trail, the remaining a somewhat bothersome brushfest. The summit featured a small summit block with a generic benchmark not indicated on the topo map. There was a partial view to the southeast 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 got back to the 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...

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