Forum Index > Trip Reports > off trail in Siskiyou Wilderness, northwest Cali 9/6/10
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Joined: 12 Dec 2005
Posts: 1158 | TRs | Pics
Location: Bellingham
PostSun Oct 03, 2010 7:08 pm 
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Our last full day in northwest California we drove much of the State of Jefferson Backcountry Byway, camped at Poker Flat and hiked Twin Valleys to an off trail ridge with views of the highest Siskiyou Wilderness peaks.

If you're ever looking for a great road trip, drive the from Yreka to Seiad Valley to Happy Camp then north to Cave Junction, Oregon.  This is the State of Jefferson Backcountry Byway

There are a lot of "No Monument" signs around Yreka, Seaid Valley and Happy Camp.  I didn't know what monument the signs referred to.  I researched it and, as expected, an environmental group wants to make a big chunk of this part of California and Oregon into a national monumentMost locals aren't too happy about that prospect since mining, cattle grazing and other natural resource extraction and ATV/dirtbike/4WD use will be eliminated on federal (BLM & USFS) land.  The locals fear monument designation will also restrict resource extraction on private land.  Plus, suction dredging was also made illegal recently in many parts of the Klamath River and some people are irritated by that.  I don't know; not my 'hood (unfortunately  waah.gif ).

Happy Camp is a cool town.  Tourist friendly.  Lots of Bigfoot stuff.  I like Bigfoot.  There's something about that gait.  Everybody should walk like that if their arms are long enough.

My goal was to find a Port Orford Cedar Botanical Area.  When we turned off the paved road I got lost on USFS dirt roads and could not find the Port Orford cedars and ended up at Poker Flat. 

That night we pitched camp at Poker Flat on the Klamath National Forest.

Poker Flat is just an outhouse, a few campsites, and a trailhead.  No piped water or garbage pickup.  We hiked up the trail, turned right toward Twin Valleys to avoid Kelly Lake, figuring that gets more use and we like to avoid seeing people (lakes attract a lot of people and it was Labor Day).  The trail to Twin Valleys ascends gradually on what looks like an old dozer line through non-descript Shasta red fir forest.  It passes a small meadow with a muddy seep, the only water on the whole route.  Then a small, rocky open area on the right with weird metamorphic purple and green rocks, maybe 3 miles from the trailhead

We hiked off trail on this ridge to the end, to a knob with great views of Preston Peak and other high Siskiyou peaks.  Preston still had a little snow!  Unfortunately, the sun was glaring and not at a good angle for photography.

We did not see much wildlife on this hike.  Just a few little songbirds and squirrels.  Maybe  8 miles and 1500 foot gain RT (?).  We did not see anybody else or even a fresh track.

Next morning, while packing up, we saw a small black bear moseying across Poker Flat.  He was far away.

The wind picked up and clouds moved in as we were packing up camp.

Back to the north.  On the drive north, we passed through oak woodlands with BLM signs.  Neat looking forests in southwest Oregon.  Moss on oak and pine trees looks almost Southern.  We'd like to explore this area more.  Had lunch in Cave Junction.   Seems like there's a college in this town.

"I aint jokin woman, I got to ramble...We gonna go walkin through the park every day." - Led Zeppelin
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Joined: 08 Jul 2005
Posts: 1687 | TRs | Pics
Location: Seattle
PostSun Oct 03, 2010 7:49 pm 
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The Siskiyous are sure interesting botanically. Though not particularly high at  7300', Preston Peak is a little alpine island in the range, and holds snow late in the year. Winter precip is very high in the area, I guess.  The peak is an interesting scramble, which I did some years ago. There are few small lakes in the Preston Peak area that one can hike and backpack to.
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > off trail in Siskiyou Wilderness, northwest Cali 9/6/10
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