A line of weather – the remnants of Tropical Storm Lydia – passed through our area earlier this week, bringing with it some brief, but much appreciated, precipitation. This moisture cut a lot of the smoke out of the air and gave crews a chance to get a better grip on the many wildfires still burning/smouldering in the surrounding forests. Temperatures were down too, which also helped with the wildfires. But air quality in the valley was still marginal, so, once again, surrounding summits were called upon for fresh air. After Mount Ashland, Aspen Butte, and Mount McLoughlin, the remaining nearest tall one was Mount Eddy, a 9,025-foot peak due west of Mount Shasta; one that we’d hiked previously in 2009 and 2015. It’s a popular moderate hike past lakes to big views (particularly of Mount Shasta) and one high enough to be above much of the remaining smoke. With the LovedOne once again volunteering at the library, I did this hike mainly for exercise in some fresh air.
You can start your Mount Eddy hike from either the lower Deadfall Meadow Trailhead (adds 400 feet of gain) or, as I did, from the higher, and seemingly more popular, trailhead at Parks Creek Pass, where Forest Road 17 crosses the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). This upper trailhead is at 6,800 feet and up here the air was clear and I could see blue sky (and the moon)!
From this upper trailhead, I followed the PCT south as it contoured southeast along above the Deadfall Creek valley, alternating between forest and open slopes, and over an occassional spring that was running well even this late in the season. After about 2.8 miles, I crossed still-running Deadfall Creek and came to a four-way junction of the PCT, which continues to the southeast, the trail (USFS #6W05) coming in on the right from its start at the Deadfall Meadow trailhead, and the Sisson-Callahan National Recreation Trail (SCNRT), going uphill to the left toward Mount Eddy. I turned left and followed the SCNRT uphill past some meadows now golden in late season,
past one of the smaller of the Deadfall Lakes (Lake 7743), now much diminished in late season,
past yet another, but fuller, Deadfall Lake (Lake 7790),
to another trail junction on Deadfall Summit at 8,020 feet. The SCNRT is easy to follow up to this junction but looks faint as it goes downslope from here to Lake Siskiyou. I’m thinking that following it all the way to the lake could be a bit of a route-finding adventure. The trail to the summit of Mount Eddy goes east from here and climbs about 1,000 feet in 0.8 miles to the top.
On the way up, I could dimly see Mount Thompson in the Trinity Alps to the west. It’s always a long view from here, made more so by the lingering smoke haze.
As I plodded up the numerous switchbacks, I contemplated the age – 200, 300, or more years? – of the few trees along the trail, trees that had obviously suffered yet survived and grown in what are certainly the harsh conditions on Eddy’s slopes. Life persists.
And then the summit, with its commanding view of the west face of Mount Shasta,
and of the old lookout,
an L4 ground cabin with cupola, which functioned on the summit from 1912 until 1931; it didn’t collapse entirely until 2002 or so.
From here, I could see the smoke still infesting the Rogue Valley to the north.
There was one person leaving the summit when I arrived but as I sat eating a snack, a half dozen more folks reached the top. So, time to go. On the way back, I passed several other hikers, and chatted with a guy carrying a wooden external frame pack that his dad had made some 70 years before – an amazing piece of woodworking! Going down, I had a view down the Deadfall Lakes valley,
of the clouds playing above the colorful slopes of Eddy’s northwest ridge,
and diverted some to see the largest of the Deadfall Lakes (Lake 7259).
And then it was a level 2.8 miles on the PCT back to the trailhead.
About 0.8 miles from the trailhead, the PCT crosses an old, unmapped dirt road – one built to allow logging on the slopes above Eddy Creek. Despite the LovedOne’s absence, it was an excellent hike (11.6 miles roundtrip, with 2,200 feet of elevation gain) – with fresh air, views, lakes, cool air temperatures, and NO bugs! Given the dozen or so other hikers between the trailhead and the summit, it’s obviously popular. Still, it didn’t feel crowded.