From Granite Peak Trailhead Date Climbed: Nov 24, 2012
The gate to reach the Stoney Ridge Trailhead closes for the winter snow and rain season at the end of October, so I headed a bit farther north on highway 3 to the turn off for the Granite Peak Trailhead, which was easily accessible (some big ruts near the end of the 2.5 miles were avoidable or one could park in the previous clearing without adding significant mileage). The beginning of the hike was more fun than expected with calm, cool, sunny conditions, fog filling the Trinity River basins down below, and peaks to gaze at in every direction, rewarding the effort to hike all the lower switchbacks. I would not opt for this route on a warm, dusty, summer day. The adventure started when the snow began to deepen with about 2000 feet of gain left. The cross country travel with some postholing, scrambling, and sliding was rewarded with grand views of the Trinity Alps peaks covered in snow as well as clear views of the rest of the north state.
"After the first glass, you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see things as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, which is the most horrible thing in the world."
--Oscar Wilde on Absinthe