See also my photo album from
(Saturday, October 26, 2002 in the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness, CA)
Sarah, Denise, Ralph, & I left my family's cabin and drove east on Hwy 4
for an hour or so before turning off on the Highland Lakes road. A fellow at
SNAC in Arnold assured me that even
should it rain, the road would be passable (I was worried because I knew it
wasn't paved all the way, and the forecast was a 40% chance of rain/snow). I
was glad it didn't rain, as the road was rougher and steeper than I'd have
cared to drive on in the mud! After a little bit of confusion about exactly
where the trailhead was supposed to be (cleared up by a more careful read of
our guidebook), we arrived at the western sites of the Highland Lakes
campground, and after stretching, and spending a bit of quality time with a
topo map to determine exactly which peaks were which, we headed out.
We didn't immediately see a use trail, but it was obvious enough that we
needed to head west towards a ridge to the south of Folger Peak, so we hiked
crosscountry through the forest until we picked up the proper use trail. For
a use trail to a relatively unpopular peak, it was well-worn, and had ducks
a-plenty where the trail was vague. The views quickly started opening up as
we rose above the forest, with Hiram Peak and Airola Peak being the most
prominent features aside from our immediate quarry. After a third of a mile
and about 300 feet of climbing, we attained the ridge south of the peak, and
could see the hazy Dardanelles off
in the distance. From here, we turned north and followed another obvious and
duck-strewn use trail, traversing a gravelly side-slope, and slowly climbing our
way towards the summit. It was pretty chilly, in the mid 30s or so, but it
didn't feel so chilly, as we were burning calories. It was somewhat plain,
loose, and steep, but pleasant enough as we hiked up the remaining 0.7 miles
and 750ft. to the summit.
There was a medium-sized arrangement of rocks at the summit, and nice views
all around, but not greatly different than those we'd already had as we
climbed. It was pretty windy and cold, so I put on my gloves, and took a
handful of pictures. I saw something glisten under a rock, and uncovered the
summit register (a small notebook rolled into a jelly jar). Sarah and I
signed the register (Denise and Ralph were too cold and had already descended
a few yards and didn't want to come back up), took the obligatory summit pics,
then prepared to head down. Since it was pretty loose on the way up, I donned
my gaiters, and was soon glad for it, as I slide-stepped my way down. Since
it was consistently loose, without any large rocks to make one stumble, I
decided to try running down the peak, and had a great time doing that, taking
very large strides and sliding a few feet with each. I was soon off the main
peak, and after we regrouped, we continued along the ridge before dropping
back into the forest.
The use trail dumped us out at the western-most campsite (something to note
when parking here next time!) next to some hunters who had a tent complete
with chimney (!!). We quickly arrived back at the car and deposited
unnecessary items and rested a few before we continued onwards to Hiram Peak.
Folger Peak was the easiest I've done to date (short, with a clear use-trail
for most of it, not too high), and made for a great warm-up for Hiram Peak.
Its a good peak for introducing folks to peak-bagging for the same reason.
The views were pretty, but not as stellar as other nearby (but much more
Continued (Hiram Peak)...