Mount Russell


By: Gabriele Rau

Sierra Club LPC Hike

Gabriele Rau, Bart Bartlow Leaders

On Friday we had the first rain, it rained the first time 1” that day after a 604 days of draught. Who would go hiking on Saturday in this weather? At the rideshare it drizzled, but we had one hiker there, plus I knew a second one would be waiting for us at the trailhead. Both ‘needed’ this peak in order to finish the List. No trouble finding the trailhead. The park has changed their signs and now we start at a dirt dumping area near the group camping area. It was hunting season, one hunter was there. I ask him what he hunted for, because the area looks very desolate, dry and empty. He mentions rabbits, quails and doves. We show him the direction where we would be hiking and ask him not to shoot at us. The hike starts at the sign, soon we are on an old road and we can see clearly the canyon where we have to go up, including one telephone pole. At the highest point we leave the road and follow use trails to the mouth of the canyon. Huge rocks block the mouth, one can see a faint trail on the right side, but we take a slightly more used steep trail on the left. The ground is wet, but it is not raining, we all carry raingear in the packs. There is only dried-up and dead brush, nothing green, and one can see the use trail. After about ¼ mile we cross the canyon and take the right side use trail. Sometimes it disappears, sometimes it forks, we stay fairly low and pass two more telephone poles. There are some steep parts to this, but we can walk easily around the rocks. Now we see and soon pass the burnt 4. telephone pole and the old road behind it. This old road switchbacks up to the peak. We assume a power company built the road a long time ago, and now it is very deteriorated, but easy to hike. The summit, a pile of rocks with a metal rod, is easy to reach. The USGS marker has been removed by vandals, probably the USGS does not even know this. The view was fairly good, but the high mountain ranges were all in the clouds.

We follow our footsteps downhill, but somehow we take different trails, ending up at the same place at the mouth of the canyon. After 2 ½ hours we are back at the cars, still no rain! But it rains heavily on the way home. I have done this hike 4 years earlier in the spring, then it was a lot harder to find the trail among the green brush.

We discussed that this was not really an I-rated hike with all the use trails, but it does require some navigational skills finding the use-trails. Since we used our hand to hold on to some rock, we would call it overall a moderate class 2 hike.

Our two hikers were Luella Fickle and Barbara Guerin.

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