Porcupine Mountain 5-23-22

Photos by Bob, Kate, Randy and Rich, Track by Jerry

Track download from Jerry: Porcupine Mountain 5-23-22.gpx

Nice Spring weather and a local hike on the PCT brought a surprisingly large group of hikers to the Rite Aid staging area. Like last week's trip to the Castle Crags,and this hike to Porcupine Mountain, were firsts for the Monday group. So an expected group of 12 turned into 16 wanting to test their mettle and make AHG history up on the trail.

We assembled a caravan of 5 SUVs that hopefully fit everyone comfortably for the short ride up to Exit 6. You drive up Old Highway 99 about 3 miles past the Mt Ashland Road turnoff, under I-5 and continue up to the sign on the left for the Cascade-Siskiyou Monument and BLM Rd 40-2E-33 2.1 miles to Pilot Rock parking. You can tell the group is anxious to hit the trail when the lead car is the last to arrive at the BLM turnoff.

Before we headed up from the Pilot Rock TH, we signed in 16 AHG hikers on the hiking registry sheet, allowed time for potty breaks and to read the two signs for maps and about protecting Monument animal residents like the spotted owl, kangaroo rat and the Peregrine Falcons that nest on the south side of Pilot Rock.

The trail up from parking is good for getting your heart rate going, but it's only 0.9 miles until you turn left onto a less steep PCT going east. For this hike, we continue east past Porcupine Gap (the west approach up the mountain) and follow the PCT as it turns left up a draw to a clearing with a huge deadfall just off the trail. We stood behind it to frame our group shot. Then we crossed the field and bushwhacked up to a level spot with great views south of Mt Shasta and other mountains and west for another view of Pilot Rock. From there  head up the decommissioned road for the east approach to Porcupine Mountain. Thirteen made it to the top for 360 degree clear views of McLoughlin to the north, Hobart Bluff, Soda Mountain and Boccard Point to the east, Shasta, Black Butte and Mt Eddy to the south, and Pilot Rock and Mt Ashland to the west.
Lunch was on various levels of the mountain as we all enjoyed the views.

We couldn't have a Spring hike on the PCT without mentioning some of the wildflowers we saw on the trail and on the sunny hillsides. On this day we saw Snow Queens, milk maids, Western Trillium, larkspur, yellow bell fritillary, maybe the start of wild Brown's peony, wild onion, Jacob's ladder, and purple flowering water leaf.

This hike covered 7+ miles with 1,300'+ of gain. It was a sunny day with temps ranging from the mid-50s to the mid-60s.

I saw lots of smiling faces back at parking as everyone seemed happy with their hiking accomplishments.

Having shown the new 20th Anniversary AHG patch earlier in the hike, I sold my last 5 to some of these Monday hikers. Perhaps more patches will be ordered.

For post hike refreshments, we went by Callahan's but they don't open until 3pm, so we drove back to Ashland and had beers all around at the Rogue Valley Roasting Co. outside in the shade, while discussing electric cars.

It was a great day! Thanks all for joining the hike,

Rich S
AHG Monday Hike Leader