FISKE (2,868') 6X December 27, 2000

Needing to do something without a lot of driving, I chose to make my now almost annual trek to this Coast Range highpoint. It is a shorter drive, for me, with a decent enough trail to the top.

Parking outside the gate at the Cache Creek Regional Park picnic area, I began my hike at about 10:30 a.m. No one else was about. It was a bit cool and the ground damp for the first mile. The trail runs, at first, through a deep canyon which doesn't get winter sun, and my warm polyester underwear made the ticket for this part. Into the sun and climbing, I had to strip off my heavier tops and bottoms to hike in a T and long pants. The overgrown brush makes shorts a problem, with no protection against the sharp branches or spiny leaves.

I had enjoyed seeing and photographing the fine specimens of toyons, with their bright red berries making good subjects. This is truly a Christmas tree! Some small animal had been eating these berries. Could that be a coyote? Pine trees graced part of the climb. A lone foothill species marks the trail at a point.

Someone recently placed stakes with the elevations indicated. The hike start was 700 feet, with signs at 1000 feet and every 500 feet thereafter. They forgot the mileages!

The trail is rough, and even hands might be used by beginners. There had been turnabouts on my past leads here for the local chapter years ago.

The sun shone brightly after the high clouds of the morning had dissipated. There was no wind, aside from a momentary cool breeze after a steep climb to a side ridge. Topping out at about 1 p.m., I enjoyed the distant views. The distant, snowy Sierra, Sutter Buttes, and the peaks of the lower Coast Range made parts of fine vistas. The Capay Valley below was so green.

A stake gave the summit elevation as 2868. My register of two years had several more pages of entries since my 5X last year. I took a self-portrait, with the Cache Creek Canyon in the background.

I checked out a nearby point, at the north end of this, Blue Ridge. White crystals, possibly fulgarite caused by lightning strikes, looked melted on the summit rocks. Descending, I ran into two parties of four, families apparently out for some hiking. With children, I don't think they made the top.

Back to the start at 3:45 p.m., I changed and stowed my gear. A short stop at the casino near Brooks showed that they were very busy. The restaurants required waiting, and I could hardly find an empty slot. The machines now take coins, versus tokens in the past, with even nickel slots. A Yolobus runs to here from Woodland.

The stats on this hike are 8 miles with 2,400' gain, round trip. It is a rough trail, with places unsuited for less agile people. While I wouldn't say narrow ledges, a bad loss of balance would be serious for some hikers, in some places. This trail was built by the Sierra Club, the BLM, and the Boy Scouts.