I'd gotten an email from Andy Martin informing some of California's prominence peakbaggers that several of the state's P2Ks had "moved", corrections made as a result of more accurate LiDAR data. LoJ and PB have recently updated their databases to reflect this. One of new P2K locations I had already been to, but Hayfork Bally was problematic. Seems the new point about 1/3mi to the east is higher by a few feet. When I reviewed the TR from my 2015 visit, I even noticed a photo looking east to this very point. It never occurred to me it might be higher. So I felt obligated to go back and tag the higher point so that I could still claim all of California's P2Ks. The area where Hayfork Bally is located in the Trinity NF south of SR299 has a network of Forest roads that make for some fun Jeeping. I had a fine three days driving around, tagging a whole bunch of summits, mostly with very short hikes to reach them. Several large fire complexes have burned most of the area in the last several decades, most recently in 2021. Despite this, the fires were not complete, leaving many trees to help jumpstart regrowth. It made for some pretty easy cross-country travel with no real bushwhacking. I saw only one bush of poison oak in the entire three days, a surprising bonus, considering the low elevation of many of these summits.

Peak 4,888ft - Thompson Peak

Most of the morning was taken up with driving from San Jose and I didn't reach the area until just after noon. Thompson Peak is located about 4mi SSE of Hayfork Bally. Dean Gaudet had visited it in 2017 on his way to Hayfork Bally. Forest Rd 4N08 (signed for Thompson Peak) forks off paved Big Creek Rd and climbs to a saddle on the north side of Thompson. A lesser road, still decent, forks south and around the east and south sides of Thompson. I visited the nearby bonus Peak 4,888ft to the SW of Thompson first, finding the drive nearly reaching to the summit, leaving an easy hike to the rounded summit. I then tagged Thompson via the same OHV trail on the south side of the peak that Dean had used. The fires provided some views from the summits through the burned snags that would otherwise have blocked them. I left a register on Thompson under a small pile of rocks I collected before heading back down.

Hayfork Bally - Peak 6,275ft

There are at least three ways to get between Thompson and Hayfork Bally. The safest is to drive back down Big Creek Rd, follow the pavement to the pass NE of Hayfork Bally, then take the signed Forest road up to the lookout. The shortest route follows the connecting ridgeline on Forest Rds 32N14 & 32N05, high-clearance needed. This is the route I should have taken, but didn't know about it at the time. As I was driving back down to Big Creek Rd, I noticed a sign at the other end of 32N14 that suggested I could get to Hayfork Bally that way. I wasn't sure if the road was cleared as it sees little traffic, but it worked nicely, albeit somewhat circuitous to get me to where I wanted to go. It would probably have been faster to take the paved option, but I had fun driving the Jeep around and taking my time. At the saddle between Peak 6,275ft (the lower western summit with the lookout and telecom installations) and Hayfork Bally (the higher, eastern summit), I drove east about half the distance to the summit before parking and walking the remaining short distance, taking only a few minutes. I found a benchmark at the summit rocks and a register left by Mark Adrian the previous month. Richard Hensley had visited a few weeks after Mark. Back at the Jeep, I drove to the lookout and visited the rocks to the east of the lookout that constitute the highpoint of what is now Peak 6,275ft on LoJ. The lookout was closed up, not sure that it is manned any more as I saw no evidence of recent use.

Peak 4,881ft

I had hoped to drive the Jeep trail shown on the topo map between Peak 6,275ft and Pattison Peak, about 7mi to the WNW, but a large section not far from Peak 6,275ft is no longer driveable. I could still get to the various peaks without the preferred route, but there would be a lot more driving between them. After getting blocked by downfall, I had to return to the Hayfork Bally road (33N52) and descend to paved FR16. This road connects Big Creek Rd and SR3 with SR299 at Big Bar. I followed FR16 west for several miles until I was just north of Peak 4,881ft. The summit lies about a quarter mile from the road and about 300ft above it. This would be the modus for a number of these peaks - short distance, but steep uphill. I spent about 15min making my way up through mostly unburned forest to reach the summit. A trio of large trees found there had battle scars, the result of someone whacking them around their base with an axe, but not felling or killing them - strange, that.

Peak 4,402ft

This is the first of two unnamed summits on the day with the same elevation. This version lies less than two miles to the southwest of the previous peak along a connecting ridgeline with another portion of the Jeep trail that has been closed off. I continued west on FR16, then south on another road that would take me into the Corral Creek drainage. I followed 4N29 back up to the crest and then to a saddle on the west side of the summit. There was another vehicle parked here, but I never saw it's owner. It was the only vehicle I'd seen for the last 3-4hrs. It took only 6min to hike an old firebreak up to the summit through a mix of burned and unburned forest. Not much of interest on this one save for a large pile of bear scat.

Peak 4,868ft

This was the furthest west I traveled. The peak lies between Peak 4,402ft to the east and Pattison Peak to the west. I'd been to the latter, a P1K, years earlier. I drove 4N29 and 33N68 that roughly follow the crest. The roads here were in pretty decent shape that most vehicles could manage. I parked NW of the summit and walked the short distance to the top, again along an old firebreak. Here they had piled logs to keep vehicles from attempting to drive the ridgeline. This summit was topped by a small outcrop where I left a register before returning. There is an open view to the south across many forested folds of the North Coast ranges.

Peak 4,402ft

Back at the Jeep, I backtracked some miles east along FR16, turning onto spur 33N58. This road, in conjunction with 33N64, took me around the east side of the second Peak 4,402ft. Though the distance was short, it was the steepest slope of the day and I was getting tired as I worked my way up. There was some brush and downfall on the lower half, but the upper half where the slope relents had been burned pretty thoroughly, leaving easy cross-country along the barren understory. A old, bulldozed firebreak ran over the summit, but no views.

Peak 5,265ft

After returning again to paved FR16, I continued east to the pass where the road goes over the Hayfork Divide. I turned onto 33N45 with plans to reach a trio of peaks further north. However, the road had not been property cleared, appearing to have been done only as much as necessary to allow ATVs to pass. I drove about a mile of this road before deciding it was too risky for the wider Jeep. I went back to the pass and discovered that the Hayfork Divide Jeep Trail going up to Peak 5,265ft was driveable. This was a very steep, very fun bit of Jeeping that got me to the summit in about a mile and a half. There were some views north to the Trinity Alps from the wide, forested summit. It was after 5:30p and with about 40min of daylight remaining, I decided to spend the night here. It was a pretty neat campsite and would serve me well...


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