Day 2 of a six-day road trip in Northern California was another full one,
chasing down a couple of stray CC-listed peaks, some prominence summits, and
some roadside bonus peaks along the way.
Hurdygurdy Butte/Peak 5,192ft/Bear Basin Butte
I'd spent the night camped off Ship
Mtn Rd at the base of Hurdygurdy Butte, the first of six bonus peaks on the
day. I was on my way to the trailhead for Twin Peaks, stopping to tag these
enroute. I made the short, cross-country climb starting from the road up the
northeast side of Hurdygurdy, through mostly open forest understory
and finding a partially open among low brush, mostly manzanita.
(Four Brothers) was prominent to the southwest. Less than
15min was needed for the roundtrip effort. Peak 5,192ft, a little more than a
mile to the northwest, was the second summit and an even easier climb. So quick,
in fact, that I somehow forgot to take any pictures of it - not so memorable,
this one. is a P1K a short distance further up the
road. A spur road leads to the summit, or more accurately, to the
just below and summit. The facility
is open for rental at a rate of $75/night (as of 2019) for up to 8 persons.
There were three vehicles there when I arrived without realizing these were
guests, not Forest Service employees.
All was quiet and the guests sleeping when I arrived just after 7a. I walked up
to the lookout to take some pictures of the far-reaching views, my footsteps
waking one of the guests sleeping in the lookout (who I mistook for a ranger).
I apologized when I saw him sit up, asked if it was ok if I took a few
from the observation deck, and then left immediately after
. Seems like a pretty cool (and super
remote) campsite for a reasonable fee, if you don't mind the possibility of
being interrupted by clueless forest visitors.
With the preliminaries dispensed with, it was time for the morning's main
is a CC-listed
summit that lies a few miles north of Del
Norte County's HP, Bear Mtn. They share the same which is
the end of the road, some 36mi from US199 - a very long drive to get here. Daryn
Dodge and Sean Casserly had climbed Twin Peaks a year earlier, reporting some
unpleasant conditions. In part, Sean wrote: The road was indiscernible and
the whole area was overgrown with thick vegetation. This nasty bushwhacking had
me sweating, tearing and cussing as we made slow progress back to Siskiyou
The road referred to is an old road that descends Doe Creek
between Twin Peaks and Bear Mtn. It is now part of the Siskiyou Wilderness and
was once part of the route to Devils Punchbowl and Bear Mtn. It was mostly
abandoned when a new trail was cut from Siskiyou Pass to traverse high above
the south side of the Doe Creek drainage. It is occasionally used by the
adventuresome as an old route to reach Trout Camp and other remote locations.
The hike starts from the Doe Flat TH, descending for a
mile and a quarter to Siskiyou Pass. There are blocking the
road where the new
forks off to the right a few hundred yards southeast of the actual pass. The
pass is almost impossible to discern in this unburned portion of the forest
with a lush understory that is Doe Flat. I initially started off on the trail
before correcting my error and dropping to . I found the
still quite , though not without a few brushy
sections, especially where it crosses Doe Creek. There were occasional
to help find the way, though they often didn't follow the old
road, perhaps a more efficient route. I was through with this Doe Flat section,
about half a mile in length, in about 15min, not bad at all. After crossing a
coming down from the north, one reaches the base of Twin
Peaks' SW Ridge. Here is the edge of the 2017 Young Fire that burned over most
of the peak. As Daryn and Sean pointed out, this makes the climb of Twin
considerably easier as there is little .
begin to open as one climbs higher up the ridge, with the forest
thinning (fewer snags to dodge) around . As the others
did, I first went up the lower via one of several
class 2 chutes through the rock band, then over to
. From the start of the ridge to the summit was just about
an hour. The summit reaches to nearly 6,000ft, putting it in league with the
other high mountains of this area and providing it with exceptional views.
El Capitan and Preston can be seen higher still to , Bear Mtn
to , and a fine view looking out to the blue
Pacific. I was honored to sign into Daryn and Sean's , three
days shy of a year since their visit. My return went pretty much
along the same route, though I did a better job of looking for, and following
the old route once down at Doe Flat. I was by 10:40a, finding the
outing far more enjoyable than I had been
expecting - definitely a worthy summit for the CC list.
I had hoped to hit up this P1K on my way back down Bear Basin Rd towards US199.
Unfortunately, this shorter return to US199 was closed due to a washout that has
not been repaired, and judging by the erected, may not
be done anytime soon. So I had to drive the long 36-mile route back down over
Ship Mtn and then up from the other direction. As a result, it was more than
2.5hrs since I returned from Twin before I was ready to start up to Gordon Mtn.
Well-graded Big Flat Rd goes within a short distance of the summit, making this
an easy outing. Where I started south of the summit, there is an old,
that I used to get through the initial brush lining the
roadway. Above that, the brush thins and becomes mostly low manzanita that is
easy to step over. Six minutes got me to , about the same to get
down. There are no real views from the summit, but a nice one looking towards
on the way there.
Peak 2,920ft/Higgins BM/Peak 2,440ft
These three bonus peaks were all a short distance off the road on my way back
down to US199. Peak 2,920ft has an going to the
summit, still very for foot traffic, about 25min for the
roundtrip effort. No from the summit. Higgins BM is the
highest of the three and took the most work. It's a moderately brushy effort
going up , finding and a
at the summit with around the
Smith River drainages on all sides. Peak 2,440ft was a short, steep climb
through , no views.
Wounded Knee Mtn/Broken Rib Mtn
I drove back down to US199 for the second time today, then up Forest Route
17N27 after a very short drive north on US199. This road winds its way for
quite a few miles back up into the national forest, eventually
below the summit of Wounded Knee Mtn. Though this is the CC-listed
should more properly belong to the higher and far more interesting
a few miles to the west. The two are connected by an
enjoyable ridgline that has a nice use trail for most of the route. Sean and
Daryn had done this one as well a year earlier, though not together. It was
after 4p when I got started, but knowing about the trail gave me no concerns
about running out of daylight - I would get back with almost two hours to spare.
I started up the overgrown road from where I parked and almost immediately
spotted that looked to have been stepped on many times.
This turned out to be the start of which kept me from needing
to do any bushwhacking as the others had. I followed the trail up steeply
through forest, reaching the top of Wounded Knee in less than 15min. The
highpoint appears to be at some south of the highest
contour shown on the topo map. There was a small cairn here but no register and
no views. I continued along heading south as it makes a
semicircular path around the drainage between the two mountains. Not far
southeast of Wounded Knee, the forest gives way to a more
with fantastic views off either side. The going is easy
for about a mile, with the use trail bypassing a few obstacles on
. The trail isn't continuous and gets
lost in a few places, but it seems to reappear about where one would expect a
trail to do so. Where the ridgeline , the going becomes
difficult, turning to a scramble with a mix of loose and more solid volcanic
rock. There doesn't seem to be any easy way to bypass this
it gets no harder than class 3 and is pretty enjoyable, even when tired near
the end of a long day. I reached the summit of Broken Rib at 5:45p, finding no
register here either. I wish I had remembered to bring one because it certainly
deserves the honor. It was not many miles to that I could see
Twin Peaks and Bear Mtn where I had started in the morning. To
were Preston and El Capitan which I planned to do the next day. Wounded Knee
rises as a lower, forested hump to . It would take me another
hour and twenty minutes to reverse back to Wounded Knee and
my starting point where I finished
up shortly after 7p. I took a shower and changed into some fresh clothes
before another couple hours of driving. I returned all the way to US199 (third
time today!) before driving back up to the trailhead for Preston Peak the
next day. I found a flat spot right at the trailhead where two other cars were
parked. This would do for tonight's campsite...