Grasshopper Mountain P1K CC

Aug 25, 2017

With: Jackie Burd

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CC-listed Grasshopper Mtn is the highest and most prominent point within Humboldt State Park. Reaching it has no real difficulties since a dirt road goes to the summit, but it is gated about seven miles down the mountain, requiring a 14mi hike with about 3,400ft of gain. We'd spent the night camped in the van at the trailhead, but having arrived somewhat late at night we didn't get up until around 7a the next morning. It was be the last hike of our 10-day roadtrip, after which we planned to head south for home.

We started off around 7:45a after breakfast. The route is well-marked by trail signs (though one had it twice misspelled as "Gashopper"), making navigation easy. Two workers who had driven in shortly before we started were at work on the road, clearing brush and debris from the sides and doing some grading as well. The wide road was in fine condition and even the van could have driven it, if not for that darned locked gate. The mountain is heavily forested in second growth redwoods and other conifers, the original giants having been harvested more than a century ago. The terrain is not as wet as other coastal habitats favored by the redwoods, and regrowth is consequently slower. In the upper half, madrones and oaks dominate, a result of yet drier and sunnier conditions there. The mountain was fairly enveloped in smoke from fires burning elsewhere and we never did get that favorable shift in the wind to clear it out, or manage to rise above it. It made the light coming through the trees interesting, but left the views from the open summit completely obscured in all directions. There is a USFS lookout at the top, but it was currently unmanned and access restricted. We took a break of about 20min there, sitting in the shade of the lookout's base, before heading back down. It would be after noon before we returned to the van to shower and begin the long drive south to San Jose...

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