Peak 6,275ft
Limestone Ridge
Hayfork Divide P1K
Pattison Peak P1K
Barker Mountain P1K

Oct 24, 2015
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 4 GPXs: 1 2 3 4 Profiles: 1 2
Peak 6,275ft later climbed Oct 26, 2023
Limestone Ridge later climbed Oct 27, 2023
Hayfork Divide later climbed Oct 27, 2023
Barker Mountain later climbed Oct 27, 2023


Update 9/22/2023: It has been determined through LIDAR that Hayfork Bally's HP is about half a mile to the east, NOT at the lookout. So it looks like I will have to return to claim this one...

I'd spent the night parked just off Forest Road 16 on the Hayfork Divide, a quiet enough place in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest that only a single other vehicle came driving by during the night. Come morning the place came alive as a bounty of hunters came to the area for the last weekend of deer hunting season for Zone B. From what I can tell, hunters here are much like others I've run into across the state - nice enough fellows, but they were never more than about 10ft from their vehicles. Some would park and sit on a stump aside the road waiting for the lucky chance to have a buck wander by. Most would simply drive along the main road or one of its many branches, slowly cruising while keeping a sharp eye out to the side of the road. Several took this to deluxe measures, mounting cushioned chairs on the truck bed high enough to sit above the roof of the cab, rifles ready in custom mounts between the two seats. I imagine they took turns driving while the other two (or three) sat mounted on the thrones, ever alert. Still others rode around on camouflage ATVs, rifles mounted on the hood. They all probably have a better chance of winning the lottery than bagging a buck. In the three days I was out, I saw only a few skittish does that took off fast at the sight of me. Still, these fellows seem to be having a good time and at least their sport is less silly-looking than a peakbagger's.

Hayfork Bally

This P2K is the highest summit in the area and the easiest to reach. Paved FS Road 16 runs from SR299 at Big Bar all the way to the Hayfork Divide where I'd spent the night (and it continues east over the divide some miles down to Big Creek). A side road in excellent condition that any vehicle can drive goes all the way to the lookout perched atop the summit some 4mi+ from the paved road fork. The lookout was locked at the observation platform, currently unmanned. The actual highpoint is about 20yds to the east of the tower in a small rock outcrop where the remains of a survey tower and several benchmarks can be found. The views from the summit are excellent, especially from the tower, though today there was much overcast that combined with the early hour for poor lighting conditions.

Limestone Ridge - Hayfork Divide

The highpoint of the miles-long Hayfork Divide is found at its northeast end. I had planned to follow the Jeep road along the crest for 4.5mi from where I had spent the night, but found that one can drive much closer by going further along Road 16 on the east side of the crest combined with a side gravel/dirt road to get within 2mi. A better vehicle than mine (4x4, high clearance) can actually drive to the summit. I enjoyed the hike more as a way to stretch my legs after much driving on these windy forest roads - this would be the longest hike of the day. I found a John Vitz register from 2014 at the highpoint, not all that surprising considering its P1K status. An older fire (>5yrs?) had burned the few trees about the summit area leaving views open in most directions. Haze and clouds continued to obscure things today, however.

Pattison Peak

This P1K lies 6.5mi almost due west of Hayfork Bally. To reach it, it was necessary to drive almost 20mi. As I started off from my parking spot for Hayfork Divide, my low tire pressure indicator sent out an audible alarm. It was showing low pressure, around 28psi, not flat, which was a positive since it meant a slow leak. I drove back to my overnight spot where FS Road 16 goes over the divide to deal with it. I have a selection of tools and a repair kit for such cases, but found the lugnuts far too tight for me to get off without a leveraging pipe. I had recently gotten new tires and forgotten to check the torque on the lugnuts. I asked a hunter who stopped to check on me if he had some sort of leverage, but alas, no such luck. He let me know there was a tow truck down at Big Bar, but that seemed an unlikely need. At worst I could probably keep adding air periodically until I got back to Weaverville. Luckily it was a front tire and I was able to turn the wheel to one side to expose a section of tire. I would then check this area for the puncture, drive forward a small amount and check the next section. After 3-4 times I found a small screw that was the cause of the problem. This turned out to be way easier than removing the tire. I had the hole repaired as the second hunter stopped to offer assistance - they might be too attached to their vehicles, but they are a friendly bunch. I reinflated the tire and was on my way with only a half hour delay. It took most of the next hour to drive the various roads to Pattison. I had to stop a mile before the summit when the road grew too steep and rough, but up until that time the roads were in great shape.

A recent fire had burned a large portion of Pattison's NE side and as seems typical in these parts, the loggers were swift to sweep through with a salvage operation. In places where the trees hadn't yet reached useful maturity, the burn areas were left as they were with a scorched earth look - everything in the understory had burned along with most of the trees, but already there were signs of new foliage springing from the charred trunks and spared root structures. The road I hiked for the 1.4mi distance had been the front line in battling the fire which burned up to the edge of the road and across it in a few places, but it appears the fire was held at this line along the ridge. A bulldozer had plowed a path up to the summit, a slope of loose, turned earth that required some exertion to scale. The summit had partially burned over and I half expected to find the remains of a toasted register, but found none. The fire had opened up views some, allowing one of Hayfork Bally to the east and a nice profile of the Trinity Alps to the north. I was back to the van after an hour's effort.

Barker Mountain

With an extended stop in Weaverville for lunch, I spent the next three hours getting from Pattison to Barker though the straight line distance was less than 14mi. Barker Mtn is located east of Hayfork Bally across the Big Creek drainage, about 8mi NE of the town of Hayfork. Though a long drive from the pavement of SR3, the Barker Mtn road is in excellent shape for the first 8.5mi where it meets a major junction atop Farmer Ridge. The last 4mi on Dog Run Spring Rd were in good condition and easily negotiated though at a slower speed. The road actually ends shy of the summit about 1/3mi to the north of the highpoint and I found a closer approach from the NE, about 1/2 that distance. This mountain, too, had seen a recent fire as could be seen in the burned areas around the summit. A bulldozed path went straight up the side of the mountain from where I parked and I used this to make my way to the summit in less than 10min. John Vitz had left a register here in 2014 with two additional entries this year from firefighting teams engaged in the Forks Complex fire suppression efforts. It was interesting to note that if this had been in Southern California they would have closed the forest for a year or two until all the proper impact assessments can be made and public safety maximally ensured. Here, they seem to put out the fire, leave, and let the public come back whenever they feel like it.

Another hour's driving saw me back down to SR3 and then along Indian Creek Rd where I spent the night at the base of Tylers Peak, the next day's objective. This is BLM land, a bit less managed than the Forest Service areas I'd been on most of the day. The immediate thing one notices is the road across Indian Creek has no bridge, no concrete bed, nothing but rocks and water and sand. Even the short road going down from the pavement to the water's edge is steep and loose and looked unlikely that I could drive back up it. I was good with this, really. It would make for a longer day but it seemed unlikely I'd find the assortment of hunters I'd crossed paths with the last few days...


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