Old TR: 5/27-6/1 2006, Mt. Stakes

A forum that'll feed your need for exploring the limitless adventure possibilities found in "other" places. Post trip reports or ask questions about outdoor adventures beyond the Sierra Nevada here.
Post Reply
User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Docent
Posts: 4604
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:19 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)
Contact:

Old TR: 5/27-6/1 2006, Mt. Stakes

Post by Wandering Daisy » Thu Apr 26, 2018 11:47 am

Mt. Stakes is a county high point. After I bought a book on the California High Points, I realized I had already done the hard ones, so decided to try to complete the 58; I have about 10 left, a few on private land and a few in southern California. In 2006 I did a road trip to climb several high points, including Mt. Stakes. The book recommended the end-of-April south entrance weekend as the shortest route, but struck out on these limited permits, so the approach would be more of a death march (5 days, 58.5 miles, 13,000 +/- feet elevation, 9.5 hours per day). Water sources were quickly drying up but low flows did allow me to walk down creeks which saved nasty bushwhacking. After side trips to two other high points, I arrived in the evening and set up at the Campground near Headquarters.


Day 1. 13.8 miles, 10.5 hours, +2,380/-3,480.

I got a crack of dawn start, first walking the shady Corral Trail to intersect the Manzanita Point Road. The scenic Madrone Soda Springs trail switchbacks down to the creek but is not maintained requiring multiple creek crossings. Too many ticks and rattlesnakes along the Narrows forced me to put on wading shoes and walked up the center of the stream to Los Cruzeros. The first part of the Willow Ridge Trail was overgrown with poison oak. The springs were almost dry but there were plenty of shady spots to rest. The biggest surprise was Willow Ridge Road; a never ending hot, parched rollercoaster, undoubtedly the most unpleasant part of the entire trip! Mississippi Lake was a bit disappointing; too brush-choked to get to the shoreline, gathering water at the trickle flowing over the dam. Hartman is another unmaintained trail, but bursting with wildflowers and grasses and a clear water small creek the last quarter mile. Reaching Oristemba Creek Road I headed to the pond shown on the map only to find it a swamp; should have camped at beautiful campsites at the Hartman-Oristemba junction.
02_HCoe_SodaSprg.jpg
04_HCoe_Narrows.jpg
05_HCoe_LesCruzeros.jpg
06_HCoe_MissipiLk.jpg
07_HCoe_HartmanTr.jpg
You must be registered and logged in to view the files/photos attached to this post.








User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Docent
Posts: 4604
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:19 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)
Contact:

Re: Old TR: 5/27-6/1 2006, Mt. Stakes

Post by Wandering Daisy » Thu Apr 26, 2018 11:56 am

A few more photos along the Hartman Trail
10_HCoe_Deer1Hartm.jpg
13_HCoe_Hartman.jpg

Day 2. 11.9 miles, 10.8. hours, +1,000/-1,040.

The goal was to find a good base camp for the Mt. Stakes climb. Continuing 3.5 miles up the road, there were better places to camp at BM1141 and between Red Creek and the Rooster Comb Trail. The 3.1 mile Rooster Comb trail is a shady in timber, but hard to follow in some places. There was water in Lion Creek and another small creek. The trail returns to the ever deteriorating Oristemba Creek Road where you have to wade across many times. I finally found the Robinson Creek Trail, although not where shown on the map. About a mile and half up the trail I found a very nice campsite in a grove of pines (I think they were Monterey Pines). There was time left, so I scouted for the road shown up Pinto Creek for a mile, but it was essentially gone, steep and full of poison oak. I returned to camp, at least having found one way NOT to go!
15_HCoe_OrestRedCr.jpg
16_HCoe_Orestimba.jpg
17_HCoe_RoosterComb.jpg
18_HCoe_Robinson1.jpg
19_HCoe_PintoCr1.jpg

Day 3. 14.6 miles, 12.7 hours, +4,700/-4,500

Any climb of Mt. Stakes is on private property, but just a little from the Henry Coe side. I was a bit nervous about this as I started up. I hiked off-trail on the north side of Robinson Creek and up to the 1,600 contour before I found a steep but easy to find trail and climbed steeply 2,000 feet to a road on the Mt. Stakes Ridge. Along this trail I heard what I suspect were wild pigs grunting in the bushes. The two miles on the road to Mt. Stakes was hot, dusty and had lots of smaller ups and downs. I ate lunch in the trees at the top. There are three summits including Black Mountain so I did them all. I followed a lower road that dropped about 400 feet and then had to climb back to the ridge before descending 2,400 feet to the Robinson Creek-Oristemba junction. I think I was on the next jeep trail to the northeast of the trail I climbed up earlier. Then it was a flat 1.8 miles back to my camp on Pinto Creek. A long day indeed! I was glad to be back at camp, because, in all honesty, I really was not 100% sure of where I was on the route down.

Unfortunately, I took no photos on the climb.
You must be registered and logged in to view the files/photos attached to this post.

User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Docent
Posts: 4604
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:19 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)
Contact:

Re: Old TR: 5/27-6/1 2006, Mt. Stakes

Post by Wandering Daisy » Thu Apr 26, 2018 12:06 pm

Day 4. 11.3 miles, 9.2 hours, +2,900/-2,400

I awoke to heavy dew. The Robinson Creek trail to Red Creek Road was very faint and hard to follow. It stayed very close to the creek, crossing several times, until the last mile where it ascended a hill and then dropped to Red Creek Springs. A wash-out forced me to cross Red Creek. The 1.8 mile Chaparral Trail was also not maintained, very steep at first, somewhat overgrown in the middle and lacked any water sources at all before it breaks out onto County Line Road at an in-holding of private property with a house. The mile down this good road had nice shady spots, although no water. The three miles on the Bear Mountain Road to Coyote Creek was not as bad as the Willow Ridge Road with shade at the Bear Mountain junction where I spotted mountain lion tracks. I walked a mile and half in the middle of Coyote Creek to the Blue Ridge Trail. It felt so good in the afternoon heat. The camping was marginal; better camping was up at the Bear Mountain Road. I really had not intended to go this far but was forced by the lack of water sources.
20_HCoe_RobinsonCR2.jpg
21_HCoe_RobinsonCr2.jpg
22_HCoe_RedCr.jpg
25_HCoe_CoyoteCr2.jpg
28_HCoe_CoyoteCamp.jpg

Day 5. 6.9 miles, 9.2 hours, +1,800/-1,660

I walked the Blue Ridge Road to the Poverty Flat Road, which although a regular road did not exactly follow that shown on the map. There were no signs so I think I may have been on the jeep road to the south. There is excellent camping at Poverty Flat, with an outhouse that I used. I ascended the shady Poverty Flat Road and then took the Forest Trail, crossed the Manzanita Point Road and returned on the Corral Trail. The Forest Trail is a nature trail where you take a guide that tells you what is featured on numbered posts.
27_HCoe_CoyoteCr.jpg
26_HCoe_CoyoteCrRd.jpg
Unfortunately, Robinson Creek was burned badly in a huge fire the next year.
There are better maps now put out by the volunteer organization that helps manage Henry Coe.
You must be registered and logged in to view the files/photos attached to this post.

User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
Posts: 10612
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: Old TR: 5/27-6/1 2006, Mt. Stakes

Post by maverick » Thu Apr 26, 2018 12:31 pm

Well, I missed you by several days WD, was there mid May, wildflowers were pretty good that year, climbed up Snodgrass Peak that year. :)
Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org

User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Docent
Posts: 4604
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:19 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)
Contact:

Re: Old TR: 5/27-6/1 2006, Mt. Stakes

Post by Wandering Daisy » Thu Apr 26, 2018 12:46 pm

So was the big fire the fall of 2006? I know it was pretty soon after, but not the exact dates. I have subsequently been to Henry Coe earlier - Feb, March and April, and each time had much more water sources and higher flows. Not sure if 2006 was a dry winter or that the low water was due to being later in the season. I have not been north of the Hartman Trail since 2006. Areas south seem to show less or little impact from that fire.

User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
Posts: 10612
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: Old TR: 5/27-6/1 2006, Mt. Stakes

Post by maverick » Thu Apr 26, 2018 1:15 pm

So was the big fire the fall of 2006?
Believe it was in 2007 WD.
Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org

User avatar
rhyang
Topix Regular
Posts: 166
Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2006 3:29 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: SJC CA

Re: Old TR: 5/27-6/1 2006, Mt. Stakes

Post by rhyang » Thu Apr 26, 2018 3:32 pm

Nice shots. My recollection is that 2006 was a big winter (climbed Shasta four times that year !) But by Memorial Day weekend Coe is hot and dry.

Some observations:
1. Madrone Soda Springs is maintained, but there are a bunch of creek crossings.

2. There is no good trail through the Narrows. When wet you just bring water shoes, which can be fun. By June or July or so it is generally dry enough to hike in the creek bed with just boots.

3. Willow Ridge Road is nicknamed "Roller Coaster Ridge", obvious reasons :) yep, sometimes lots of PO on Willow Ridge trail.

Mississippi Lake is almost entirely surrounded by tules (reeds). There is a ramada and outhouse at the north end, and a few other spots where you can get close to the water. I've done several three day packraft fishing trips out there; without flotation the lake is difficult to fish, but a blast with.

I think the Dowdy Ranch visitor center did not officially open until 2007. Now that was a kind of a dry year ...

Sent from my XT1045 using Tapatalk

User avatar
rhyang
Topix Regular
Posts: 166
Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2006 3:29 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: SJC CA

Re: Old TR: 5/27-6/1 2006, Mt. Stakes

Post by rhyang » Thu Apr 26, 2018 3:38 pm

maverick wrote:
So was the big fire the fall of 2006?
Believe it was in 2007 WD.
Yes, the Lick Fire is what they called it. It was interesting to see the post fire "progression" (I think that is what they call it in the life sciences) in the years following.

Sent from my XT1045 using Tapatalk

User avatar
wildhiker
Topix Expert
Posts: 574
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 4:44 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer
Location: Palo Alto, CA

Re: Old TR: 5/27-6/1 2006, Mt. Stakes

Post by wildhiker » Thu Apr 26, 2018 11:27 pm

Hi WD,

Thanks for the nice report.

Your last photo of a "typical oak tree" is actually a manzanita. You can see the smooth red bark in the enlarged photo. Coe Park is known for a unusual manzanita species that grows into small trees.

-Phil

User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Docent
Posts: 4604
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:19 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)
Contact:

Re: Old TR: 5/27-6/1 2006, Mt. Stakes

Post by Wandering Daisy » Fri Apr 27, 2018 7:45 pm

The backountry weekend from Dowdy was an event even prior to 2006. They opened that entrance for just one weekend each year. Did not make a big event out of it, just if you wanted the quickest trip into Oristimba, this was the weekend. Limited permits, though. The High Point guidebook mentions this weekend, and it was published in 1994 and has been out of print for some time. There still is a web site for the county high points.

Trail maintenance is limited due to budgets. In 2006, the Madrone Soda Springs trail was not worked on - had a lot of deadfall. You could not have ridden a horse down that trail. Trails get grown over quite quickly. Glad to hear it is really maintained. It is a really nice route.

My memory is a bit faded; most of the write-up was based on notes I took while on the trip. It was my first trip to Henry Coe. I remember that maps were quite inadequate and signs few, so particulary up around the area of Bear Mountain, I was never quite sure where I was! Being alone, never seeing anyone, the entire trip was a bit freaky. Felt just as much as a wilderness as anywhere in the Sierra! Perhpas even more.

Thanks Wildhiker for correctly identifying the tree. Not an oak, that's great. I never thought manzanita got that big.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests