Month: January 2014

East Fork Willow Creek

Old Growth in East Fork Willow Creek.

Old Growth in East Fork Willow Creek.

I have wanted to hike around this forest for years. You can see this area from the highway and can access it pretty easily from the East Fork Camp ground when its open. I happened to have some extra time last month and hiked up into the forest a little west of the camp ground from the 299.

This is one of the largest pacific yew trees I have ever seen. I find it impressive that it is living right off the highway turnout.

This is one of the largest pacific yew trees I have ever seen. I find it impressive that it is living right off the highway turnout.

This forest has it all. Douglas-fir, tanoak, madrone, golden chinquapin, and more. The understory has the same species where light allows, as well as the occasional pacific yew. Sword fern and huckleberry make up the bulk of the ground cover. Eventually I saw a huge tree that appeared to be the biggest in the area.

After tromping around for a bit, one tree caught my eye.

After tromping around for a bit, one tree caught my eye.

I only has a few hours, and Id like to get in here someday and explore a little more thoroughly. The campground looks like a nice escape from a hot summer and even in this dry summer we are gearing up for, I bet the East Fork will keep water.

Forest Panorama

Forest Panorama

Blake Mountain, Humboldt County

SFM Map

I have promised myself for years to check out a few of the peaks that are right on Route 1 when I had the time. I finally did last December and stopped to check out Blake Mountain.

The view from 'lower' Blake. This spot is on a broad ridge with dense forest, and as such does not provide for much visibility.

The view from ‘lower’ Blake. This spot is on a broad ridge with dense forest and does not provide for much visibility.

Next I went over to Blake Spring Campground or at least what is left of it. An old jeep road runs down to the spring, but there is not much of a camp there. There is little flat ground, and it appears that camping on the ridge would be more comfortable. Perhaps the road used to go further past the spring to a more suitable spot, but if there is a road it is completely over grown past the spring.

Blake Spring. Yes its frozen!

Blake Spring

The view from the so-called Blake Spring Camp.

The view from the so-called Blake Spring Camp.

Just to the north of the camp is the high spot on Blake Mountain. A jeep trail traverses the ridge and the bench mark was easy to find.

Blake Mountain bench mark; 5,905 ft above sea level.

Blake Mountain bench mark; 5,905 ft above sea level.

Looking north east into Trinity County from Blake Mountain.

Looking north east into Trinity County from Blake Mountain.

From there you can check out the “South Fork” bench mark, a little further to the north. I would like to know how this spot got its name, as the ‘real’ South Fork Mountain peak is many miles to the south. Regardless, this is a neat spot, and perhaps the most interesting of the three bench marks on Blake.

Unlike the other two spots, the topogrophy really drops away from the top allowing for some spectacular views of the Middle Mad River.

Unlike the other two spots, the topogrophy really drops away from the top allowing for some spectacular views of the Middle Mad River.

2013 – Year in Pictures

So 2013 has come and gone. Happy New Year! I put up my 2013 gallery page and had a real hard time finding my favorite picture of the year. Looking back, I think my hike up to Blue Rock was the coolest thing I did, with the Mad River steelhead dive coming in close second. Here is the view from Blue Rock:

MR 149

Be sure to look though the 2013 page now added to the top of the blog.