MT. ST. HELENA (4,343') 17X November 30, 2000

Planning to take two days hiking in the Coast Range, I came, with my usual sights, to the Highway 29 road summit, north of Calistoga, CA, in the mid-morning. Taking the signed Mt. St. Helena summit trail/road (5 miles each way, roughly 2,000' gain), I hiked up wet ground. No bad mud was encountered, but rough, rocky sections of trail could cause a slip for beginners.

The sky was so blue, with a few clouds. A fire or burn was ongoing in the Napa Valley, and one smoke cloud rose far to the north. Fog covered the Russian River Valley area, creating a sea of white clouds there. Due to the warm sun, I had to strip out of my heavier polyester underwear, and then enjoyed a nice walk up the summit road. I topped the highest peak after two hours.

The views consisted of a good amount of green hills and fields. Snowy Lassen Peak could be barely seen. Parts of Lake Berryessa were included in the view. I took a few photos, then started on my way to bag the other, lower summits.

The nearby east summit was checked for registers. This is the highpoint of Napa County. I saw a couple business cards wrapped in plastic baggies, weighed down by a rock. They were too wet to want to handle or examine.

The south summit, with its viewing platform and map board, offered its usual fine view of the Napa Valley, 4,000 feet below.

Descending quickly back to the parking lot, I then took a newer, State Park trail south toward the Napa Palisades. This is signed, and climbs steeply for a mile to an overlook. I sat on the rocks there, and enjoyed more vistas not commonly seen.

Getting back to my car after a round trip, total hiking time of six hours, I left for home, choosing to forgo a lodging bill, despite the fine hiking weather. My total hiking stats this day were about 12 miles with 2,800' gain.