A change of plans.
I couple days earlier, I had broken a bone in my right hand as I was heading up above Upper Boy Scout Lake on an attempt to climb Mt. Whitney via the Mountaineer route. Not only did that screw up my plans for Whitney, it also took me out of a climb of Oregon's Mt. Jefferson, a peak I needed to finish up the state of Oregon's county highpoints.
Bummed by this turn of events, I carefully made my way back down and had the emergency room doc fix up my hand with a splint. For $700, I got a splint that lasted exactly one day before I fixed it up with one I made from products bought at a Walgreen's store. In the interim, I was looking for something to do and my wife (and now my fulltime driver) said "why not do some of the California county highpoints? You can still walk fine"
Good advice so from Lone Pine we drove north and I was able to do the easy county highpoint of Sacramento County, Carpenter Hill. As it was getting late in the day, we grabbed a motel room in Marysville, north of Sacramento and I determined that I could go ahead and do Yuba county's highpoint, one known as Sugar Pine Peak.
Logging trucks are to be avoided.
I had Gary Suttle's book with me on the California County Highpoints and so it became my Bible for what we did the next day. Following the directions in his book, we found our way to the correct road and made our way accordingly.
What I didn't know was that this area was being actively logged and to be in an area when it is being actively logged on a weekday is not a good idea. We had no problem on the way in but I could see some debris along the road that made me a little nervous. My wife was driving and there is a 5 mile section of road that drops down into a canyon on a very narrow road, a road that would not allow for us to turn around if we were to meet a logging truck.
When we got out of the canyon, we could see some guys doing something and when my wife asked me what I thought they were doing, I said, "timber cruising". "Timber cruising? What does that mean?" asked my wife. I said that means they are marking trees or selecting the trees they are going to cut down. "Oh" answered my wife and nothing more was said.
Well, finding the highpoint of Yuba County was pretty straightforward, we drove the correct road, walked the right amount and found both the three trunked tree with pine cones stuffed into it and the concrete tubing. Neither one had a register but we walked around the area enough to satisfy myself that we had hit the highest spot(s). Where was this Sugar Pine Peak?
I guess if all of the trees were cleared away, it would be obvious but I was less than impressed by the "Peak" aspect of this one. Yes, the sloped away in all directions but nothing really "peaklike" was apparent. Oh well, in county highpointing, you can go from the heights of a Mt. Shasta or Mt. Rainier to the lows of a peak that doesn't really appear "peaklike". Still every one is a mini adventure and this one turned out to be just that.
Back at the car, we started on our way out but for some reason, I wanted to check something out on a map and we stopped for about 5 minutes to sort the map questions out. It turned out to be a good 5 minutes because just before we hit the five mile section that led down into the canyon, a big logging truck came whizzing up the road. My wifes eyes were big when she said "what if we had been 5 minutes earlier, we'd have encountered that big truck and we'd have to have backed up all the way" which was true since the truck couldn't. Not having a CB is a problem since the truckers know when each other is on the road. We were just about to start down the road again when a second big logging truck came chugging up the canyon road.
We started down the canyon road, hoping that we wouldn't meet another truck during the next ten minutes. We were fortunate enough that we didn't but every one of those five miles crawled by until we cleared the canyon on the other side. With a big sigh of relief, we headed back down the way we came to Marysville and continued on to do the county highpoints of Glenn and Mendocino counties.
Lesson learned: Do not drive on logging roads when they are actively logging or get a CB and tune to the logging trucks channel to find out where they are. When we got home, I found this report on www.cohp.org about the fact that they were actively logging in this report which I will place here:
Date: September 21, 2000
Author: Dave Covill
The Yuba County HP is about a 2 hour drive up into the Sierra foothills NE of Marysville/Sutter Buttes. Suttle's book didn't match the topo map, and I foolishly lost a 1/2 hour trying to "see" the right road, making the map fit the text. Gave up on that, re-did the odometer, and it worked out fine. The road is indeed a left by a hairpin turn in the paved road, at about mile 5.8. The hairpin has a modest bridge across it. This road goes for about 10 miles further, and every turn looks the same, trust me. Major logging going on in the NF here. Great roads, paved or graveled. Drove my rental car up the 3+ miles to the small turn, and drove up it about 4/10's. Went over a minor washout, ~6" deep, had to stop by a log. Only ~0.2 further, up maybe 200', to the top. Found the triple-trunk-tree, w/ pine cone cairn & plastic bag register in it, no sweat. Saw EE's card, among many others. A woman from San Diego, I think, had been there the past week.
Other reports on this County highpoint can be found HERE
BTW, my wife went on to do the other two county highpoints with me that day before we drove to a place in the redwoods to camp for the night. She was terrific.
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