Mount Saint Helena East Peak

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Jun 12, 2014
Activities Activities: Hiking
Seasons Season: Summer

Selling Out

California  Wine County
Mt. St. Helena from Napa Valley,  East Peak right
It's certainly a relief living up in the mountains of Lake County. Super quiet, forested terrain, no traffic, no shopping malls for miles, endless ridges and bright sunshine. The hitch is I have to come down to the Bay area occasionally to work. 
This time it involved selling topical plants. I had some friends who let me stay at their place but they had to move. Had to book a room at Motel 6 Tuesday night. Determined to get rid of the foliage asap to avoid spending 80 bucks a night. Worked a really hard day on Wednesday in the East Bay. The icing on the cake was a ticket for no seat belt.  I was only going one block and tried to whip it on when I got lit up but knew it was too late.
After the drive back through the rush hour grind across the bay to Marin County I still had a fair amount of plants to move and was looking forward to hunkering down in the motel for one more night.
I had reserved the room but the day clerk informed me it had already been booked! After expressing an adequate degree of outrage I left the office and plan B immediately came to mind. I would just take the 2 hour drive back up to the mountains and come back down next morning to Santa Rosa. This is a bustling town north of the bay area with enough business to sell what I had left.
Secretly thanking the clerk for cancelling my reservation at the unsavory motel and saving 80 bucks it was back into the mountains for a much more benign evening at home.
My mission next day was to completely sell out down to the last plant, period. Then find a good hike for this fine summer evening. Santa Rosa would not be my choice if I was looking to make a killing but with the stuff I had left it was a good enough call.
Sure enough after piddling around at doctors' offices and small companies I managed to turn green into green, wheeling and dealing them all away by 3:30 pm!

Summer evening shuffle

Napa Valley  from Mt. St. Helena
Napa Valley from St. Helena
Since the road back home went across Napa Valley and over the pass next to Mt. St. Helena I decided to see if could make the 7 mile round trip hike to the East Peak (the Napa County highpoint, 4,003') before dark. This is a shorter hike then the main north peak by a few miles. It was 5:30 so I had 'bout 3 hours of light. Really no hurry since there was a big full moon waiting in the wings and I had a flashlight as well. The route up the mountain is a boring fire road at about 5 degrees that takes a few big switchbacks to a saddle between the main peaks.
This popular mountain rises high above its' surroundings and can be seen for many miles. On weekends the parking lot at the pass is packed out in good weather with dozens of hikers. When I pulled into the lot there was not another vehicle or a soul in sight! I had the big old mountain to myself which seemed unusual given the lovely weather and full moon.
This mountain dictates a strict textbook walk up the road with almost no opportunities for maverick attempts to shorten the route by cutting the switchbacks. The slopes are virtually covered with impenetrably dense chaparral and close knit oaks at a degree of steepness one could manage if it weren't for the sand and scree. You would have to be some kind of super-knucklehead with an IQ of 3 to attempt it.

Did manage to make it to the East Peak by 7 pm. Had to bust a move around a fence to get out past the radio facilities to enjoy the views of Napa Valley, the Coast Range west and east to the Palisades. North was blocked by the rest of the higher part of the mountain (4,343').
Shuffled on back down with the late afternoon light building but the full moon was still behind the curtain of the horizon.

Meow!! Meow!! Meow!!

Silver Panther in repose
Silver Panther
Coco Mama with her kittens
Coco Mama with the kids
Rug Rat Pack
The kittens blissfully piled up sardine style
My roommate Stevens' cat Coco Mama had a litter of 4 waiting at the house. Mama is always hungry these days nursing her young. I was hoping to get into Middletown on the way back before the store closed and get some cat food for her and the Silver Panther. Managed it with 5 minutes to spare.
Steven and his father had also just arrived from the Grand Canyon as I pulled in. Of course the cats were glad I was back. I think they see me as a walking deli. When I get up in the morning and open the bedroom door Coco and The Silver P. are eagerly parked right on the other side. It's like a surprise party in reverse! They are on me liked piranhas for a fresh bowl of friskies, heaven forbid I should have to go to the bathroom first!  If I was 6 inches tall it would be appetizer city!
Meanwhile the kittens are growing and gearing up to terrorize rug, furniture and god  knows what else.


Post a Comment
Viewing: 1-4 of 4

Scott - Jun 13, 2014 11:22 pm - Hasn't voted


I don't get it (or maybe there is an inside joke in there somewhere). What do the cats have to do with the mountain climb?


Noondueler - Jun 13, 2014 11:48 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Cats?

I'm just rounding out the story of that day. For that matter what does selling plants have to do with climbing? They do live at 2,500' in the coast range! I'm not trying to start some feline craze on SP. If you want to get technical I was hustling down the trail to get back in time to get to a store for some cat food!
Hope you can appreciate! ;)


technicolorNH - Jun 24, 2014 1:41 pm - Hasn't voted


I've hustled more than a few times in the mountains for some random reasons and buying cat food is better than some of the oddball stuff that makes me scamper through boulder fields when I would be much happier taking my time. Life has to coexist with our mountain fetish. Great read!


Noondueler - Jun 26, 2014 6:29 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Hustling

Thanks tech, my pleasure.

Viewing: 1-4 of 4



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