As July 4th approached, we celebrated our independence by doing our yearly climb up on Big Red Mountain. Always a great way to escape the heat down in the valley, Big Red featured temps from the 60s to 70s with a nice breeze up on top.
Our big group of 17 hikers gathered at Siskiyou Gap after a long dusty ride up FS22. Blue skies and fresh air greeted us as we disembarked from the cars and did some pre-hike visiting. Before we headed up the PCT, a Thru Hiker came charging down the path and across the road in front of us. He was the first of perhaps a dozen we'd encounter on our hike.
The trail is a steady climb the first 10 minutes then flattens a bit before heading up again. We took plenty of rest stops to catch our breath as we climbed from 5,800' at parking to about 6,700' before heading up top.
The actual summit of Big Red is slightly over 7,000' (perhaps 7,028') and it's up on the ridge. The lunch summit for many in the group was just over 6,900'. Still there were good views from on top of local peaks including Mt Ashland, Pilot Rock, Siskiyou Peak, McDonald Peak, Wagner Butte, and Dutchman's Peak, most over 7,000'. You could also see through some haze in the distance: McLoughlin to the east; Shasta, Black Butte and Mt Eddy to the south, and the Red Buttes to the west.
Along the trail, we saw color provided by wildflowers including the first blooms of white Bear Grass, periwinkle Phlax, white Anemone, yellow Sulphur Buckwheat, pink Lewishia, and orange Scarlet Gilia.
Our group became scattered before lunch as many headed up towards the lunch summit, some stayed on the trail for lunch, and some went down off the trail to find an old mining cart for a photo. Those in the early lunch group headed back down to the PCT and returned to Siskiyou Gap. Sunny and I waited for the mining cart three and joined them for lunch; then took the ridge to the true summit and continued south on the ridge down through the forest and came out onto the PCT for our return.