Six Rivers National Forest

Old Growth Trip

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When I have the opportunity, I love to explore old growth forests. These are plentiful in Six Rivers National Forest, as well as Shasta-Trinity and Mendocino National Forests. Here some pictures from a recent adventure. This forest is almost what would be called “California Mixed Conifer” but has some coastal nuances. Less pine and the presence of tanoak, alder and certain willow. These forests are also what we call “primary” forests, never been logged. Many thousands of acres of forest along South Fork Mountain transitioned from oak woodlands and savannah in the past several hundred years. Here is another example of transition – in an extreme sense – from oak to conifer forest.

Willow Creek Radio Tower

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I came across this place exploring off of Waterman Ridge above Willow Creek. If you ever marvel at your 3G reception in Willow Creek, you can thank this tower… It also apparently is a outpost for the fire department.

OK, so I got this wrong. What I meant to say was: “Ever wonder how emergency services transmit information in rural areas? Well, here is one of their remote antennas…”. Or something like that.

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The Lassics

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One of the great places to visit of our area, Black Lassic. The great thing about this peak (5,900′), is that it is very easy to get right up on top. A road essentially crosses a broad saddle where Black Lassic connects with Red Lassic and Signal Peak. There is a turn off where you can park then walk a relatively gentle trail and be on top in 15-20 minutes. If there is snow, you might not be able to get as close so be prepared to hike for a few hours depending on how close you can get. The mountain is always in plain view so its not hard to know where to go, just make sure you get to the uphill side of Lassic before you try to get to the top. All the other sides of the mountain get extremely steep and most of it is fractured and unstable.

The Lassics are considered a unique geologic area where different pieces of ancient history collide. This grey and red soil is called ‘serpentine’ and is highly acidic, and even has naturally occurring asbestos within in it. While allot of this land can be barren, stands of incense cedar and pines can grow on serpentine. Where more developed soils occur, stands true fir stands develop.

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I decided to scramble up to Red Lassic first. While this is not a hard hike, there is no trail so don’t try to take small kids or bad legs up here.

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At first glance it looks like a simple enough walk, but you must cross these talus slopes and that can be hard on your knees. My knees seem to feel it more and more each year, but I have always enjoyed scrambling over this kind of terrain.

Eventually you get to relatively stable rock and can take in some fantastic views.

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The highest point in this picture is called Signal Peak. I think there used to be a fire lookout here. When you visit this place, you can easily get to the top of all three of the peaks, Black Lassic, Red Lassic, and Signal Peak in a single day.

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A nice view of Mad River Rock. That is on my radar for my next adventure. I have always wanted to explore it! Someday Ill find the time.

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And of course a great view of Black Lassic from the top of Red.

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Looking back at Red Lassic, it does not look that impressive, although shooting a picture into the sun never really works…

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Making my way up Black Lassic, you can really see the black color of the rocks and soil, which is indeed in contrast to the red hue of Red Lassic.

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And finally, the truly epic view. Mad River Rock again. Its the Van Duzen River between us and the Rock. The next ridge you see is ‘South Fork Mountain’ which drains the Mad River. I do not know what to call the next ridge line, however I know that the east side of South Fork drains into the South Fork Trinity River. I have some panoramas Ill be posting next taken from these peaks.

Hunting Season

As much as I like to think that certain forest roads are “mine”, I accept that other people come to the woods – other than forest workers – which tends to be during hunting season. Ive been on USFS Route 1 allot this year and during deer season it goes from seeing absolutely no one to seeing dozens of people a day. Private ranch patrols are out and all the little hunting camps are suddenly occupied with tents or trailers. Good Luck!

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One of dozens of hunters camps along South Fork Mountain.

I am not a hunter. I have no qualms over the idea however and am always grateful when I have the opportunity to eat deer. But for people who apparently ‘love the woods’, I will never understand all the trash that gets left behind. A minority of hunters Im sure are responsible for really ‘not givin a shit’ – but I think we need more boy/girl scouts. My mama always taught me to leave the woods cleaner than it was when you arrived. Pack it out boys!

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Come on guys, your giving everyone else a bad name. Dont trash your forest!

Grays Falls

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I was recently driving on 299 after a sort of “day killer”, meaning I had to go way out somewhere to work for 2 hours and found my self at 1 PM with nothing to do. Then I passed by Grays Falls and remembered a fellow blogger had recently mentioned that spot (Thanks Ross!). So I doubled back and walked down to the falls.

More like rapids than a true waterfall, but a neat spot just the same. The steep cliffs on either side of the Trinity are really impressive. The trail is a easy enough walk, although it is a little slippery in spots. It was raining lightly when I was there, and think the river was up from melting snow in the highlands. You can also take a short trail down to the banks of the river, which goes though a pretty Douglas-fir forests. If you want to go there, just look for the sign on the 299 near Burnt Ranch.