Mon, Jul 19, 2010
In order to help equalize the varying needs of Dad vs. the Kids for hiking in a given day, it is sometimes advantageous for me to get up early and get a peak in while the kids are sleeping or watching cartoons. So it was that I left the motel in Yreka at 5a in order to pay an early morning visit to nearby Indian Creek Baldy, a P2K summit. I had no beta from other hikers, but it seemed fairly straightforward to drive east on Greenhorn Rd to a junction at Deadwood Creek, southeast of the peak. The old town of Deadwood, once a thriving community in this neck of the woods was located here. Today, only a bronze monument remains of the town. Greenhorn Rd was an excellent dirt road, but the side road up Deadwood Creek was decidedly less so. I was able to drive the van a few miles up the road before I lost confidence in my vehicles abilities. I was looking for, and found, a logging road that switchbacks up the east side of Indian Creek Baldy - this would be my ascent route. A shorter route can be had from the northwest (and used by Evan Rasmussen, I later found) by continuing north and then west up the Deadwood Creek Road.
The road I followed switchbacked in long stretches up the east side. All the timber on the mountain was second growth and it appears to be currently used for occasional firewood collecting. It took but an hour and a half to reach the summit, about 2,500ft up and 2.5mi from my starting point at the creek. I broke out onto a grassy slope just before the summit and was happy to see this continue up and over the top. This allowed for fine views from the clearing. About the only features I could recognize were Mts. Shasta to the southeast and McLoughlin to the north. A register had been placed in 2006 by San Diego highpointer Richard Carey. Other names I recognized included Evan Rasmussen, Andy Martin, and Ken Jones, among the scant entries.
The return went much quicker since I decided on a more direct descent rather than follow the road and its switchbacks. I was back at the creek in only 30 minutes, and back at the van a few minutes later. I collected my things along with my children back in Yreka, then drove north into Oregon. Not far past the border we got off the interstate and drove up to the Mt. Ashland ski area for a visit to Mt. Ashland, another P2K summit. This was an easy hike of less than 700ft and barely more than a mile, one my kids could hardly complain about (though they did, to some degree). A better vehicle than ours could make the drive all the way to the summit.
It took little more than half an hour to reach the top. There is a large, golfball-like communications structure in a clearing nearby. The summit rocks were thankfully left unmolested. We scrambled about these until we found the highest one. Ryan continued to a lower, but more impressive collection where he found a meditation rock with a fine view of Mt. Shasta. Jackie possessed more energy that needed a release, and found a large patch of snow on the north-facing slope that would do nicely. She hiked down to the snow, collected what she could carry in her hat and brought it back up to the summit. She and I then took turns using her brother for target practice. Naturally, he did not find this a wise use of our time and protested. We continued pelting anyway - what do brothers know? Ryan would catch a few missles and hurtle them back at us, but he was at a distinct disadvantage. Minutes later our supply of snow and ice ran out, as did that bit of our fun.
A nearby chairlift provided some additional amusement. A large concrete counterweight hung off to one side and the kids were intrigued that they could climb under it without being crushed. Ryan gave a Superman pose, saving his sister from the crushing weight. On our way back to the car we stopped at a collection of boulders off to one side to see if we could climb them. The hardest was probably 5.8 or 5.9, too hard for even Dad to climb, though we did not leave without giving it a try (and failing).
Back in the car we drove out to Interstate 5 and north to Medford where we were to stay for the next three nights. Mom would be flying in to join us that evening, but we still had some six or seven hours to kill. The kids wanted a break so I left them for the second time that day, this time to climb yet another P2K summit, Mt. Isabelle. Located about 15 miles west of Medford, it was not hard to find a series of roads that got me within about a mile of the summit. A gate stopped me at a saddle on the south side of the summit, but it was an easy matter to hike up the road to the top. A tall antenna mast is found aside a small utility building where an old lookout used to stand (the concrete foundations are still there, but nothing else). I climbed about 2/3 of the way up the antenna structure to improve the views which were poor at ground level due to the surrounding trees. It was only after my descent that I noticed a summit register off to the west side of the tower clearing. It had been placed by Richard Carey on the same day he had placed the register on Indian Creek Baldy. And here I'd thought I was the first to combine these two summits on the same day. Go figure.
For more information see these SummitPost pages: Mt. Ashland - Mt. Isabelle
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