Our goal for the third day of our trip was to reach the intersecting forks of the Van Deusen River, in the Six Rivers National Forest, southwest of Ruth Lake. I figured we might find a good campsite there. So, at about 10:30am, we broke camp and left our site at 22N63 behind.
Before getting back to the Eel River Work Station and the CBDT route, we drove west along Forest Road FH7 and saw what looked like one of the twin rocks along Twin Rocks Creek.
From there our route took us through Covelo, a town near the Round Valley Indian reservation that, unfortunately, didn’t look like it had a lot going for it, and then on through forest, and along single-lane asphalt road that ran atop Haman Ridge.
After the ridge the CBDT makes a meandering eastward loop around a point on the Six Rivers N. F. map called Shannon Ranch. I couldn’t find copy of this map and I didn’t yet know that Greg had a copy in his truck, so we got a little lost on this section.
We skipped the meandering loop and got back on back on track to the town of Kettenpom. The town consisted of basically a single store/gas station, and they were out of gas. Thankful for our roof-mounted reserves, we picked up some ice instead.
As a side note, Natalie and I did this trip without a cooler. We just packed dry goods and few apples. Boxed, single-serving milks can in handy for breakfast, and things like turkey jerky and dried soup added to boiling water made nice meals. So we didn’t much miss the cooler. Still, when Greg would bring out cold beers from his stainless steel Coleman cooler, we appreciated the idea of a little temperature control.
At 2S17, the CBDT makes a big loop to the west. A mile in to this loop was where we expected to find a place to pitch our tents at the junction of the Van Deusen River and its western fork. It turned out there was a spot there, and a nice swimming hole to boot but finding trash and underwear strewn about put us off the place. Despite the fact that it was already 6:00pm, we all decided to press on.
We finally see our first CBDT trail marker.
We ended up driving around quite a bit looking for a camp site. We had a look at Watts Lake but it was crowded and the “lake” was dry. Watts Indentation was more like it.
I had a good feeling about an area called Big Meadow off of Forest Road 2S66 but I didn’t estimate the mileage to intersection. And since the physical marker for that road read 2N60 instead, we missed it.
Then, a few miles away, we drove down a skinny, little spur road into a canyon. Just when we were about as far as we could go, we came across a couple of hunters each carrying a rifle. One them also had beer in his hand and seemed pretty loaded. Hmm, the crowded campsite was looking better and better.
We let them pass, got the trucks turned around, and headed back up the hill but we never passed the hunters. Weirdly, they were nowhere in sight.
It was dark by the time we reached Watts Lake but we found the last available spot. We made a campfire, got dinner going, and called it good.
From our camp at 22N63 to the forks of the Van Deusen rivers was about 90 miles of mostly paved road and easy dirt. The CBDT makes a loop to the east off of Haman Ridge that might be rougher but we missed it.
Travel time: 7.5 hours
Van Deusen forks to Watts Lake is looser gravel but still pretty easy: 2 miles
Travel time: 20 minutes
Get gas in Covelo as the gas station in Kettenpom can run out. If your truck has a twenty gallon tank, carry 10 gallons in canisters as backup.
CBDT, Part 1: Lake Pillsbury
CBDT, Part 2: Dead Deer, Live Deer, Eel River Work Station
CBDT, Part 3: What’s up Watts Lake?
CBDT, Part 4: Ruth Lake, Jewel of the Middle of Nowhere
CBDT, Part 5: Bear Den, Coyote Tracks, Camp Site
CBDT, Part 6: Best Campsite Ever
CBDT, Part 7: Obviously Not Bigfoot