Castle Crags 3-4-15

If experience is what you get when you don't get what you expect, then we got some experience today.

The CHIP Wolf Pack was out in full force as we headed down I-5 to Castle Crags this morning. We saw perhaps 20 Troupers between Yreka and Dunsmuir working speeders on the interstate. On the way home in the afternoon we saw only two troupers who were looking under the hood of a stopped car. Not sure if they were helping a stranded motorist or searching the vehicle for drugs.

Upon arrival at Castle Crags we learned that the road to the Vista Point TH was closed because of fuel reduction work in the park. So, armed with the latest (2014) Castle Crags State Park trail map we decided to head up to Vista Point on foot. We did OK hiking up Bob's Hat Trail and were OK for a while on the Milt Kenney trail until it petered out. We then dropped down to a campground on the Vista Point Road and headed up the blacktop with slash piled 5' to 10' high on both sides of the road.

We encountered a California Conservation Corps crew burning slash in a propane fueled unit about 1/2 way up to Vista Point. The crew boss told us that we couldn't proceed any further on the road and suggested a detour along an old railroad right of way coupled with a bushwhack up along a creek. We ended up heading up a power line right of way, past another crew working a chipper, to the Vista Point TH.

By the time we reached the Vista Point parking area it was noon, so we decided to forgo the 1/2 mile RT to the viewpoint and to head up the Crags Trail instead. As we went higher we passed another crew felling quite large diameter trees in a thinning operation.

Up, up and some more up and we decided to head over to Indian Springs for lunch, which we reached around 1:00. We declared victory here, about 1 mile and 1,200' vertical feet short of our original goal of the base of Castle Dome.

By comparison to the morning's uphill struggle, the return to the cars via Bob's Hat Trail after lunch was quite uneventful.

Despite the surprises, we enjoyed a nice day with temperatures in the 50s and 60s under a clear sky.

We had planned to refresh ourselves at the Goat, but found it closed. Instead, we came back to Ashland to enjoy our usual fare at Omar's.

Ashland Hiking Home

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