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
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
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
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
to . I then tagged Thompson via
the same OHV trail on of the peak that Dean had used.
The fires provided from through the
burned snags that would otherwise have blocked them. I left
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 , 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 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 and walking the
, taking only a few minutes. I found
at the summit rocks and left by Mark
Adrian the previous month. Richard Hensley had visited a few weeks after Mark.
Back at the Jeep, I to and visited
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.
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 to reach . A trio of large
trees found there had , the result of someone whacking
them around their base with an axe, but not felling or killing them - strange,
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 , 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 through a mix of burned and unburned forest.
Not much of interest on this one save for a large pile of .
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
NW of the summit and walked the short distance to the top, again along
. Here they had piled logs to keep vehicles from
attempting to drive the ridgeline. This summit was topped by
where I left before returning.
There is an open view to across many forested folds of the
North Coast ranges.
Back at the Jeep, I backtracked some miles east along FR16, turning onto spur
33N58. This road, in conjunction with 33N64, took me around
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
along the barren understory. A old, bulldozed
firebreak ran over , but no views.
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 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 in about a mile and a half. There
were some to the Trinity Alps from the wide, forested
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...