In 2015, I came across a small book (The 7 Summits of the Siskiyou Trail) by Aria Zoner – an Ashland-based ultra hiker~backpacker~peakbagger – that described a 448-mile long hiking loop through seven wilderness areas in Northern California (NorCal), with scramble climbs (Class 3 or less) of the high points in each wilderness. While 448 miles seemed a bit much, these seven hikes/scrambles looked like fun, so we added them to our never-diminishing list of hikes to do just in case the couch started to look too inviting (assuming, of course, the cat ever lets us sit on it…).
Not counting Mount Shasta (which I’d already climbed in 1997 and again in 2003), it took us two years to reach the other six. Mount Shasta, mainly because of its height and snow, was the most challenging. Thompson Peak and Preston Peak were next in difficulty due the length of their respective approaches and the complexity of the scrambling (but never over Class 3) involved. Boulder Peak has no scrambling, but it’s a long walk with a lot of elevation gain. Red Butte, Russian Peak, and “Harry Watkins” were relatively easy due to nearby trailheads and short approaches; but each still involved some cross-country travel and route finding. In the end, seven unique adventures in parts of wilderness areas we might not have gotten around to visiting otherwise.