This was a quick trip to county highpoints for Yolo, Sonoma, Napa, Solano, Sacramento, and Yuba.
Reiff Road is only 2 unpaved miles. I did not realize this beforehand, but were its condition questionable I would just walk the road that extra distance to eliminate potential headaches. It adds 4 miles to a 12-mile trip, so your call. On my part I saw no signs of the so-called Mud Pirate's antics, though I think I spotted his old hoses at one point. There seem to be a couple newer residences in the area, so I am not even certain which house was his or whether he even still lives there.
The road got a bit muddier toward the "trailhead"; heavy rain earlier in the month all but guaranteed it, though the 2 weeks prior to my visit were relatively dry, so I was confident I could get up there in my AWD vehicle.
It was quite cold at 44º when I started, and in fact it got pretty well below freezing the night prior when I slept in Lower Lake.
The trail is, with a few exceptions, every well-established, including the former bushwhack around The House to Be Avoided. In fact there are lots of established options, so be sure your navigation is on point. Just know that if you are bushwhacking for any significant distance, you are probably off route, or at least you are making much more difficult and miserable work for yourself. For the most part I avoided getting torn to shreds by the manzanita and oak brush, but not without first learning this difficult lesson, which I estimate cost me at least a full hour. Previous reports indicated bushwhacking throughout the entire route is a necessity, but this is no longer the case.
I did have my dogs with me, so unfortunately all 3 of us suffered the consequences of my error.
Such is true with the House to be Avoided. I am not sure what history has led to the portrayal of this home's residents to be a menace, but I found no such issue, certainly not anything different from any other private property near established trails.
From the house it is quite easy to follow the 2-track most of the way to Little Blue Ridge. There is a newer-looking gate not mentioned in other reports (38.89492, -122.41364). It was not locked, so I simply latched it behind me. Both before and after the gate I spotted a number of very fresh black bear prints in the mud. Judging by the size they were pretty young. This was a fun find, especially at a point where they appeared to slide down a short steep slope.
We took the short scramble up Butte Rock on our way up. This you may as well do as it is right there in front of you. Near this point mud was clinging to my boots like concrete.
After Butte Rock the most direct path veers off the road and after you crest over that little bump links up with another 2-track.
It is a short bushwhack to the summit; this much is inevitable. There may have once been a path, but it is long overgrown and covered with downed trees you will have to clamber over. From the summit we were offered clear views of Shasta, Lassen, and Snow Mountain. I spotted a summit register under a cairn with I did not bother with but no benchmark.
Second visit with a friend, Much much easier going following fire breaks and then ranch roads. Lots of downfall on the summit stretch. T
Summited Little Blue with my hiking buddy, Cody. No sign of the Mud Pirate. A bit of a hassle to skirt around the one house. So focused I ended up with Poison Oak. Not nearly as difficult as old posts describe but the undergrowth is on its way back post-fire so the sooner the better on climbing this one. Trail at the beginning and end are quite clear but patchy in between by the house. Big tree has fallen across the final ascent but nothing that can't be scrambled over. Enjoy!
I think I got really lucky here. Firebreaks, Jeep roads, and bulldozer paths saved my ass... what a mess... 3:30 RT car to car...
This hike still requires significant routefinding work, but is no longer the brush-busting epic it once was. See my write-up here: http://peakbagger.com/climber/ascent.aspx?aid=598486
Took the bushwhack #2 route, a few areas of really thick brush mixed in, but not as bad as feared. 2.5 hrs for our group to summit. Andrew left a new register on top. On the way down we spent over a half hour clearing the final path to the summit. You could now almost hike this final portion without touching a branch. On return we stopped by for Butte Rock. Then we descended bushwhack #2 route again, and was met with the same mix of dense brush mixed in with merely heavy brush. Ran into a fellow hiker near the exit point back to the road, he had started too late and never got more than a few hundred yards from the road. We all hiked out together. RT time was just under 6 hours, including half an hour on top and another 40 minutes clearing the summit trail for future visitors.
Drizzly and foggy. Roughly followed Bushwhack #2 route. Tough going..
Cut back the summit trail some more. Found the ammo can at the summit lying open and the register gone.
4:50 car to car. Nathan knew the way, and we had very little routefinding difficulties, and not a lot of backtracking for a bushwhack. We went on Bob Burds return route on the way out, and returned via the private roads and didnt see anyone. No evidence of dogs near the home. It was rainign half the time, and snowing on top. The last entry in the register was 2 years old. I wouldnt do davis creek- too gnarly.
Up the Highway with Dingus, Diggler and Matt. The creek was quite full and chilly. Serious PO on my arms a few days later. Had to take prednisone!
After reading all the nightmare stories, I over planned this hike. Went with two newish HPers and a potential future HPer, who were not at all pleased that I wanted to meet up in Middletown at 6:30am. I said, "You gotta read all these stories--eight hours is a reasonable time and we have short winter days!" Since I don't own any gardening equipment, it was a good system. I did all the Topo-map/Google-Earth-recon/SummitPosting, and they brought loppers.
I had three different routes planned out, and wanted to call an audible depending on the conditions. Well, it was below freezing when we met, so there was a strong interest in not standing in a creek. Best bet was a mild alternative to "Bushwhack #2" which took us out farther from the house. More or less it was up to the Twin Sisters, and then NW a long way (rather than trying to get to the road as quickly or easily as possible). I don't like trespassing, so when it happens, I want to make sure I'm not going to impact anyone.
There was, indeed, much bushwhacking but it wasn't *that* hard to push through. We found no existing trails up from the Yolo County/BLM "road". On the way back, I took one of the more established routes (i.e. one can see some open space in Google Earth) and fared a bit better. That was compensated by ending up in a much more treacherous downhill route in a gully (I believe we found the seasonable waterfall someone mentioned, although it was dry). In both cases, we didn't make any trail on private land (i.e. the loppers were kept in their holsters), so it was about as bad as it could be, and yet still very doable.
We were at the top in 2.5 hours, including some trail work on BLM land. The final stretch of trail to the peak was in great shape, and we lopped the hell out of it on the way back down so it's now even better. Last visitors were in March, consistent with the logs here.
Round trip: 10.5 miles, ~2k elevation gain. It only took five hours and fifteen minutes, including trail work and a (relatively) slow 13-year-old hiker. We were done so early that we had a late lunch at the casino in Middletown, where I had stayed the previous night. This was #48 CA CoHP and the last of the "private access" peaks for me.
P.S. No mud piracy today!
'Knocked that bastard off,' as Hillary might have said. Glad to have done this, the worst & most challenging of the CA county highpoints. Glad to have had the company of gentlemen Matt, Mike, & our guide & saviour- DMT. Without the protection of my coveralls, it would have been fine weather. With them, it was pretty f$%&ing hot. Whatever- better to have SOME kind of safeguard against the lurking enemies, namely the poison oak & ticks that were waiting in (and as) the underbrush. For this reason, I also wore a pair of gloves the entire time. And didn't take my boots off for the entire venture. And rubbed liberal amounts of Technu all over any exposed skin- this didn't work- still got a nasty little rash where my watch was! >:(
After hiking, cutting, crawling, burrowing, & groveling our way to the summit, we stood victorious atop this fearsome uprising. The blue skies, still, warm air, buzzing bugs, & tweeting birds didn't fool me for a moment, or diminish the enormity of the achievement- we had conquered this mountain that had tried to vanquish us. Nice views of snowcapped Snow Mountain, Lassen, & even Shasta!
The trip back was better :)
With this one out of the way, I have no choice but to finish the rest though... :(
Not as bad as I expected. Drove in Rayhouse Road (before it's closure). Down to the creek and mostly in it (but this time of year it was almost bone dry- made it easier), then up to the ridge. Not hot and no flies in Oct. Gave myself a good scrubbing of Technu as soon as got back to the truck and avoided any effects from poison oak.
After our failure on the highway last Jan there was little question that I'd be back. The cutting and routefinding we did last year came in handy; it was much easier going this year. We even had enough time to hit Butte Rock. We did a ton of cutting in the creek. If ever you wanted to go, winter/spring 2010 is your chance! Now I'm just waiting to see how bad my case of poison oak will turn out to be. Hopefully not as bad as last years. Thank God this one is out of the way. Still a pretty cool area and now I can say I've been there! Ouch... Hiked with GregD (who did most of the cutting).
It was hot. I bushwacked through 7' high thornbush, manzanita and scrub oak, much of it on my hands and knees. Flies plagued me at the summit. At the time I thought it was the worst hike I'd ever done. Now, I have fond memories of the day and have enjoyed endless respect from fellow county highpointers having proved my dedication to the endeavor. It is a rite of passage for CA highpointers.
Climbed with Dingus, clearing the route along the creek and near the summit. Beautiful winter day, and much fun whacking. The poison oak was much less fun a few days later. Trip Report
Man, this peak brings back nightmares three attempts one tick and a lot of poison oak. My buddy left the summit register.i was so glad when we got this one.
So you think it has to be a high mountain to be a challenge?
Try this one. Bring full body armour a machete, 2 pairs loppers
(mine broke) and some porters to hack a trail for you. Ok i'm partially kidding. Oh and be leary of going on a trip with Dean or Dennis or Dan as their idea of fun is a little different.
Great day with excellent company
Ugly climb. Lost lots of blood and got a bad case of poison oak. Such a bad experience that I went back and summitted again on December 4, 2004.
I did this hike with Dan Baxter and SP'ers Dennis Poulin and Chris Doig. Chris and Dan both brought loppers but thanks to Dennis's previous experience with this hike, he saved us from fighting the brush all the way. More info will be available in my trip report which I'm certain I'll post as soon as I can do so. We did only part of the BLM route and then went on private property since one of the members of our group knew the landowners.
Please respect the request of the landowners that people not tresspass on it.