The last day of a four-day roadtrip to NoCal saw me in the northeast corner of
the state finishing up the CA P2Ks with a visit to Fredonyer Peak. I didn't
expect there to be any actual hiking as it appeared the three summits I had
planned for the day were all drive-ups, or nearly so. I'd spent the night atop
another drive-up, Happy Camp Mtn, and was up sometime around 6a to start my day.
This P900 is found on the east side of SR299, roughly halfway between the towns
of Alturas and Adin. A decent Forest Service road leads from the pavement to
the summit at just below 7,000ft. There is a telecom installation found
here with the highest rocks found outside the fenced area to the west (someone
had left the gate open, so it would have been easy had the highpoint been
inside). Views are mostly blocked by trees, but there is a modest view
looking west, mostly forgettable.
Back down to the highway, this minor summit is located across the pavement on
the west side, with a spur forest road leading nearly to the summit.
It's a very short walk to the highpoint, again with unimpressive views.
This P1K is located about 7mi northwest of Adin. A good forest road leads from
the town up Barber Canyon with a spur road leading to the summit where a lookout
once stood. Most of the mountain burned in the 2017 Cove Fire and there were
crews out doing salvaging operations during my visit. I had wondered why they
often wait several years after a fire before salvaging but watching them at work
offered a clue. Rather than use chain saws to down the trees, they have a large
machine that can grab the tree by the trunk 5-10ft from the ground and simply
break it off at the roots. I suspect immediately after a fire there is still too
much moisture in the root system to make this work, but after a few years the
trees have dried out and the roots would be far more brittle. I drove past the
operation and then onto my spur road, only to find that the loggers had parked
one of their trailers in the middle of the road. This left me with a few
miles of hiking, giving me an opportunity to get some exercise. On the way up
I followed the road through a couple of switchbacks, but on the decent
a more direct cross-country line down that proved faster despite a moderate
amount of brush. The highpoint is located about 1/3mi southeast of where
the lookout once stood (now just a concrete pad), among a small rock outcrop
with mostly open views. There is a benchmark here, but no
register that I could find. I spent about 50min on the roundtrip effort.
Fredonyer is located about 20mi north of Susanville and east of Eagle Lake. It
lies on BLM lands and the lookout is manned by CalFire personnel. Most of the
mountain is covered in grass and sagebrush, a desert peak of the Great Basin.
I spent almost two hours driving south from Fox Mtn to Fredonyer, the last 35min
taken in driving the 10mi
of somewhat rough forest road to the top of Fredonyer.
I thought it rather surprising that the road
was in such poor shape, but the attendant explained that the CalFire folks have
permission to use the shorter route from the west that goes through a private
ranch. The permission to use it is given in exchange for the BLM
maintaining the road through the property. Since this other route is only half
the length, it's cheaper to maintain, but it leaves the public with a pretty
crappy alternative. I spent some time talking to the friendly occupant, in his
first season on this particular lookout. The views are rather
outstanding as one might expect for a P2K, stretching off to
the horizon in all directions. Before I left he asked me to sign his
visitor log which I duly did before
starting the long drive back down the mountain. I had a much longer drive to
get myself back to San Jose, about seven hours' worth. It was a somewhat wimpy
end to the roadtrip, but I would have plenty of opportunity to stretch my legs
with the start of the Sierra Challenge in another week...