This peak has been on our radar for about a year now – ever since we got into peakbagging. It was always in the back of our mind, but David and Lisa’s report made this shoot to the top of our list, so we had a chance to summit before the bush totally grew back. Sean doen’t mind a good bushwack every now and then, but he seems to deathly allergic to poison oak. He has had 5 or so cases of eyes swollen shut and the kind only fixed by oral steroids along with countless other more minor cases. In the past year, we have gotten much more careful and he hasn’t had a spot of PO, but the memory of those terrible cases has left some psychological scars. However, we figured it was either now when the brush wasn’t too bad or later when it was insane as CA CoHPs are an important list for us.
We drove up 3/10 as the peak is a lengthy 3 hour drive from our house. We were hoping to get in Mt. Konocti on 3/10, but we left too late and had to settle with just a pretty drive. We stayed at the America’s Best Value Inn in Lower Lake and I would highly recommend it. On 3/11, we drove to the trailhead. It had rained consistently the past week and the road had only had about one day to dry out. This made the drive a little interesting, but the 4WD on the 4runner got us there safely. We quickly packed up and headed out.
The beginning was fairly simple as we followed the old road/firebreak.
At about a 0.9 miles in, we saw a fresh motorcycle track coming in from the firebreak to the southwest. It had to have been the previous day since it was fresh since the rains. Surprisingly, we would never stray from this track until we had finished the bushwack. At about 1.2 miles in, there was PO across the road for about 20 feet and the old road narrowed into a singletrack trail for a few hundred feet. With a bit a sidestepping, this was easy to avoid as the PO hadn’t leafed out yet, but it might be more tricky once it does. However, a few small snips with some loppers would be all thats needed to get rid of these several strands. Past this, the road widened once again and we were continually amazed at the skill of the motorcyclist as they had managed to naviagte several nasty washouts and deep puddles of water that had us hopping back and forth to avoid.
We soon crossed a small creek and headed up the start of the bushwack. So far, we had been impressed with the motorcyclist, but we were pleasantly surprised and thankful that they had rode through the bushwack section as well. They seemed to follow the flagged track as we saw several faded pink flags on our route. There was hardly any poison oak in the bushwack and with the help of the motorcycle track, we had little trouble with this section. If future climbers could bring some loppers or equivalent, it might be possible to catch this section before it grows all the way back and turn it into a good use trail!
At the end of this section, we caught a firebreak heading west and we followed this before making a beeline across a usually pleasant grassy field to reach the ranch road. Due to recent rains, we ended up wading knee deep to pass through this impromptu lake.
The ranch road looked to be used somewhat frequently until we reached a gate about 3 miles in.
This gate looked very new and didn’t have any locks on it, just a chain looped around holding it shut. On the other side of this gate, the road was still very easy to follow, but it was definitely not used by vehicles and our worries of being caught greatly decreased.
We followed this road for another 1.5 miles or so taking care to avoid the random PO shoots sprouting in the middle of the road. Along the way, we had a great view of Mt. Shasta and Mt. Lassen.
We finally reached the final saddle where the firebreak heads right up the summit. Sounds easy right? No. There was an enormous amount of downfall and within all of this there was a lot of PO – the most we had seen all day.
We considered turning around, but we figured this was the easiest this hike would ever be and we better finish it out. We persevered and finally summitted.
We didn’t take much time up top other than to sign the register left by David and Lisa and take some photos.
Once we returned back the below the downfall, we Tecnu-ed all over and set out for the car. We were feeling a little better by this point thanks to the Tecnu we had applied. On the way back, we stopped at the “famous” white couch.
We finally got back to the car after a little over 5 hours on the “trail”. From here, our new PO Prevention process commenced. Gloves and plastic bags were used in excess and Fast Orange motor oil was readily applied. Finally, we drove back down on the now completely dried out road and back home.
And good news: As of writing this on 3/15, Sean doesn’t have a single spot of poison oak. Maybe he has immunity,*wait*…that’s a scary idea he probably should NOT test out! 😉