Back on the CBDT on Forest Road 23. Photo: Nik Schulz

Read the whole post here.

After a little target shooting and a bit of breakfast we got back on Forest Road 23 and continued up the California Backcountry Discovery Trail. We weren’t sure where we would stop for the night but since we were passing by Ruth Lake again, only this time at much higher elevation on the ridge above the lake, we thought we’d find something there.

I don’t know if it had anything to do with my totem pants — a pair of white jeans I painted in the style of Pacific Northwest native art and which seem to convey good fortune on many a situation 🙂 — but we were blown away by the beautiful spot we found.

Happy Camp Spring

On the trail, the first place stopped was a place we spotted on the map called Happy Camp Spring. It sounded pleasant enough, so we decided to check it out.

Happy Camp Spring. Photo: Nik Schulz

CBDT 719
Photo: Gregory McDonald 

An ancient, abandoned Oldsmobile, dumped in the National Forest. Photo: Nik Schulz

Horse Ridge Fire Lookout

Our next stop was the Horse Ridge Fire Lookout. The Forest Service personnel who man the fire lookouts are often kind enough to invite people up. This time was no exception and we went up to check out the views.

Outside of the Horse Ridge Fire Lookout. Photo: Nik Schulz

CBDT 732
We go up to check out the views. Photo: Gregory McDonald 

The woman at the lookout had drawn crib notes on the window to help the guy that she was training learn the mountains. Photo: Nik Schulz

CBDT 730
Natalie and I check out the view from Horse Ridge. Photo: Gregory McDonald

CBDT 739
Greg drives through a section of forest that had seen a large wildfire. Photo: Gregory McDonald

New growth in the burnt-out woods. Photo: Natalie Menacho

Greg and I stop to check the map. Photo: Natalie Menacho

Photo: Nik Schulz

Photo: Natalie Menacho

Pickett Peak Fire Lookout

A little further up the road we stopped at the Pickett Peak Fire Lookout, which was even taller than the one at Horse Ridge. It, however, was closed. Still, we climbed to the top of the tower.

CBDT 744
The Pickett Peak Fire Lookout Tower. Photo: Gregory McDonald

The view from the tower. Photo: Nik Schulz 

Greg atop Pickett Peak Tower. Photo: Nik Schulz

CBDT 746 
Natalie finds some crazy rock formations. Photo: Gregory McDonald

Best Campsite Ever

We tried to find a camping spot near the lookout tower but had no luck so we pushed on only to find forest littered with logging slash, the piles of trimmed branches that logging companies leave behind. Soon after we hit the main forest road again, and thought we wouldn’t find a campsite, Greg spotted a little spur road and decided to check it out.

Just about 150 feet through the trees, the road opened into a stunning panorama overlooking Ruth Lake, the place we’d left behind a couple of days before. We were now about 2,000 feet above the lake and the view was spectacular. We’d found our spot for the night.

CBDT 753
Greg's Montero and the amazing view he found. Photo: Gregory McDonald

As we set up camp, Natalie walked to a secluded clump of trees to take a little bathroom break while taking in the view. After a moment Greg walked out to the ridge to take photo below when he saw a roll of toilet paper bounce down the hill. “Are you OK?” he shouted?

“Yeah,” was her response. “Uh, could you have Nik bring me another roll of toilet paper?” We had a good laugh about it.

Looking at the Google topo map later, I noticed that we were almost exactly above our old Fir Cove campsite. The shape of the ridge would have funneled that roll of toilet paper right into the campground if there was anything left of it when it got to the bottom of the hill.

CBDT 756
Looking down, 2,000 feet above Ruth Lake. Photo: Gregory McDonald

We thought this would be our second-to-last day on the trail. The plan was to continue along South Fork Mountain and finish the trip atop its 5,000-foot-high ridge. It wouldn’t turn out that way though.

In the next, and last post, I’ll let you know what happened.


CBDT Notes:

From our campsite north of 27N13 CBDT to our site above Ruth Lake was about 26 miles of easy dirt and pavement.

Travel time: I didn’t log the time on this leg but I estimate it took about 3 hours.


View Larger Map

Images in Gallery View


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