FISKE (2,868') 7X and MT. ST. HELENA (4,343') 18X November 3, 2001

Awakened by my alarm at 5 a.m., I resolved to get some conditioning, and bag two peaks normally done in two separate trips. Slight Central Valley fog besmirched my way to Woodland, CA, and then the sky was clear driving up Highway 16.

I started at 7:29 a.m. at Cache Creek Regional Park for my hike up the Blue Ridge Trail. The day rested on how well I did climbing this point. I sped upwards, figuring on some 2.5 hours to the top. I took a relentless pace, then met another hiker part way up. We joined up for conversation, and I topped out in a phenomenal time, for me, of some 1.8 hours.

The register, placed by me in a glass jar in 1998, was in fair condition. There had been a small number of entries. I enjoyed the summit, reached at 9:18 a.m., with T-shirt weather already. Haze obscured even Lassen Peak, but the Sutter Buttes were seen. I snapped many a picture, then started down by 9:45 a.m.

I again had to make good time. I thought I'd see other hikers coming up, with such nice conditions, but no. Back to my car at 11:13 a.m., I quickly sped off north on Highway CA 16 to Highway 20. Going west, I turned on Highway CA 53 to connect with Highway CA 29 south. I envisioned taking only an hour drive, but there was road construction, and then I needed a rest. I had soup and drink in Middletown, CA, then finally motored up to the road summit and trailhead by about 1 p.m.

Parking was difficult. I was lucky as some hikers came back to then motor away. I managed a start for this second peak, Mt. St. Helena, at 1:10 p.m. Seeking to return by dark, I carried two flashlights anyway.

Again I had to make good speed. I briskly hiked upward, and gained the service road that leads to the summit. Many people and groups were descending. Maybe a hundred hikers had summited today. A few hikers were still headed up. I kept up a forced pace, and topped out at 2:56 p.m.

I shot more photos, and had another cold soda I brought up. A few others shared the view. I started down at 3:10 p.m. to climb the east summit, which is the highpoint of Napa County. To my surprise, I found a register placed by some CA County Highpointers. I signed in, and then raced the sunset to the finish. I came back to my car at 5:07 p.m., after being saturated with low light and late afternoon light for views and photos of the Napa Valley and the Napa Palisades.

On my way home, I tested my camera for night photography with the illuminated shops and windows in the now upscale town of St. Helena. Digital does as well as film!

I had hiked some 18 miles and well over 4,000' gain. I had considered getting a motel, but the $50 rooms kept another Coastal Range peak from me.