Mt. Stevenson P750
Ely Mountain
Burrough Mountain P500

Tue, Jun 9, 2020

With: Karl Fieberling

Etymology
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX

Continued...

Today we had planned to do a half day hike in the Dinkey Lakes Wilderness, utilizing the Dinkey TH on the western edge of the Wilderness. Unfortunately, a bridge badly damaged by a fallen tree has closed the main access road (it looks to have happened before the current season, so not sure how long it has been out of commission). We were still six miles from the TH, so we went with Plan B. That involved a trio of summits around the Shaver Lake area that would keep us busy until almost 2p.

Mt. Stevenson

Mt. Stevenson lies above Shaver Lake on the west side. Marcus Sierra reported the existence of the Mt. Stevenson Trail in his TR, and this was a repeat of that effort. The trail runs for more than 4mi across the high ridge with two trailheads. We used the north one described by Marcus, starting at the junction of SR168 and Mill Creek Rd. There was a sign at the gated Southern California Edison road indicating the trail was closed for logging work. Noting the locked gate and absence of noises indicating such work, we chose to ignore the sign and continued up the road. The trail follows the road for about half a mile, small wooden signs nicely spaced to keep you on route. It then moves off the well-traveled spur road onto an unused, old logging road and eventually becomes a pleasant single-track. Marcus reported this as a great hike with a picnic bench at a scenic overlook and pleasant hike through the forest. What a difference a year makes. It now looks more like a massive logging operation, but without actually extracting the wood products. It seems that a defensible firebreak is being constructed across the mountain to protect the town of Shaver Lake below, no doubt part of the fallout from the devastating Paradise Fire a few years back. The forest understory has been laid to bare earth about 30yds wide and many of the diseased trees cut down and piled up in huge stacks. Much of the trail has been obliterated, though the signage remains and I suspect they will reconstruct it when the heavy log work is completed. None of this was going on today and we were able to hike to the summit in a little under an hour without seeing anyone, though we did hear chainsaws further north towards Flume BM. The highpoint is a moderately-sized granite boulder, easy class 3, no views. We left a register atop it before heading back down.

Ely Mountain

This one was a bit of work, though perhaps unnecessarily so. It lies above the north side of Shaver Lake and SR168. The topo map shows a spur road on the south side of the mountain that reaches close to the top. This is a trap, however. The road hasn't been maintained in years, is locked at the highway, and covered with much downfall. We dutifully made our way along the first portion of the road going over many logs, then heading uphill when we were due south of the summit. The brush was thick to start but soon relented in the forest understory, though the steepness continues all the way to the summit ridge. Massive granite boulders and cliffs are encountered that need to be circumvented, luckily without too much trouble. We spent about 45min to make our way to the rocky summit area, partially open to views. Interestingly, there is a well-ducked and excellent trail that goes east-west over the summit ridge. Seems one can take a trail to the summit, known to the Shaver Lake locals, no doubt. Later I found maps and descriptions of the trail online - I guess it's not such a well-kept secret. The highest point has an SCE survey marker embedded in the granite. It was a nice, open, sunny location and we spent about 20min here before heading back the same way. We weren't sure where the trail would take us, so it seemed safer to use our ascent route.

Burrough Mountain

This summit is much lower, just over 4,000ft elevation, rising above the community of Toll House on its east side. Marcus Sierra had a TR for this one as well, describing it as a road hike. From the paved Toll House Rd, the dirt Burroughs Mtn Road allows one to cover about half the 2.5mi distance to the summit before a locked gate is encountered where a transmission line crosses the road. This gate can be bypassed by taking a very steep and rugged powerline road up to the right, then back down to rejoin the Burroughs Mtn Rd a few hundred yards past the gate. We simply parked at the locked gate (without blocking it, of course) and did the remaining distance on foot, as Marcus did. The decent dirt road can be followed around the east side of the summit where a lesser spur can be picked up on the southeast side and taken the remaining distance to the highpoint, about half an hour's effort. There is poison oak along much of the road and all over the mountain, discouraging all ideas of a cross-country shortcut (though surprisingly, Marcus did just that on his descent). The views overlook the hazy and dry Central Valley. The mountain itself will be dry very soon, but currently had many nice wildflower displays. We finished up the hike around 1:45p, showered, and headed our separate ways for home...

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