FISKE (2,868') 10X January 23, 2005

Simply too good of a day to ignore a good peak climb, I left home in late morning to get some conditioning. The Valley fog persisted to about the Cache Creek Casino, headed north on CA 16. I bought a coffee to use the restroom, then motored to the Cache Creek Canyon Regional Park trailhead. The facilities here are closed, and often locked, for the winter.

A TV news van was parked here, and a cameraman and reporter strolled along the dirt road to the big creek. I didn't see them later. I crossed the low water bridge, which was fine. I heard it was high, a few weeks ago. Starting up the well-signed trail at about 12:20 p.m., I took the steep trail with gusto. The mushrooms of last month had mostly gone, but there were still a few old ones remaining. Those occupied my close-up, flash photos on my return.

Carrying my heavy day pack, with perhaps 22 pounds to start, I made good time up the trail. A few flowers were popping out, with Indian Warriors and a tiny Shooting Star. I quaffed a good draught of water after an hour's hiking. It was pretty warm, me having to strip off a few layers. My vest did for lack of a clean T-shirt, and I had taken off my EW bottoms back at the car. Spring is on its way!

A hiker passed me, headed down. He said the register was still there. As I climbed upward, I saw Shasta was faintly visible, again, to the north. Fog lay over the Central Valley, and Lassen, Sutter Buttes, and the Sierra were seen over the low clouds.

Most all was the same as last month. I would get good exercise for the 60 miles, each way, of driving. Looking at my watch, I saw I was doing well. Passing through the burnt areas, I took better photos of the peak, with no lens flare due to the sun. My hand makes for a lens shade, or hood.

Two hours after leaving my car, I topped out. A family was also enjoying the nice weather. I took pictures of the views, again, with lots of snow on Snow Mountain (7,056') to the north. It'll be till June before I can hike that one. Green grasses were sprouting up, and the burned area will eventually regenerate.

Opening up the glass jar, I noted that only two people signed-in since my last visit. I signed-in both books, and offered, to the others, the books to sign-in as well.

They left, and I was enjoying the summit alone. I snapped photos of myself using my self-timer. I had lots of time, so I had to do it right. I shot more of the views, seeking a good photo for my website. I may someday continue south on this trail, and check out the other trailhead destination. I think it hits the Rayhouse Road, which leads back to the start of the peak hike. It is somewhere about 12 more miles that way, so I'd be hiking in the dark if I tried that, today.

Leaving the top at 2:47 p.m., I caught up with the family, and we chatted some more. What I usually do, for any interested hikers, is to offer a look at my website, giving them the words, "thousand peaks" as the search term. I tell them I have plenty of information, and photos of views, from mountains throughout the Pacific West (which I do).

I hurried down the trail, wishing now to shoot Woodland, CA, at magic hour. Back to my car by about 4:40 p.m., I motored off and headed home. I got a drink at the casino mini-mart, then stopped in Woodland for some night photography. The window displays and neon, in these smaller towns, make for nice photographic challenges. The handheld shots didn't come out too sharp, but I had braced the camera against a light pole for other, better, pictures.

I had hiked the usual 8 miles with 2,300' gain, round trip. I shot about 170 images. Most of the day, I wore just my vest with jeans. A light cap shields from the sun. My old hiking boots, used again for possible, caked-up mud, will be useful, again, on another post-rainy weather hike.

Rain is forecast for much of next week. Maybe on the dry days, I can do more hiking to keep up my leg muscles for a possible, forthcoming, big peak trip. Hopefully, someone will come forward to climb with me, in the desert, or somewhere.