Big Red (Siskiyou Crest) 04-Aug-2020

The air temperature here has eased off some – at least for a few days. There is also a little less wildfire smoke about. We decided to take advantage of this less heat / greater visibility moment. During previous hot, smokey summers, the out-and-back hike to the summit of Big Red Mountain (7,028 feet / 2,142 m) has proved restorative. This elongated lump of a mountain – think loaf of sourdough bread – lies along the Siskiyou Crest west of Mount Ashland. We typically reach its rounded top via the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) from Siskiyou Gap. This is one of The LovedOne’s favorite hikes – offering as it does open meadows, shady forest patches, wildflowers, rocky outcrops, cavorting chipmunks, and views with a breeze. It’s also short – a feature that would allow us to finish it before the heat of the day arrived.

We’d planned for something of an early start but had barely cleared the driveway when the little orange deflated tire warning light came on. In many of the cars we’ve driven, this could mean several things, not all of them bad, and not all of them related to tire pressure (it seems a somewhat “flexible” warning light). In our truck, however, it has proven to be an unflinching omen of doom. Ignoring its prophecies has lead to valuable lessons [aka growth opportunities] on how to change a tire on remote, rocky (or muddy), sloping, and ant-infested forest roads usually more than a few miles from the middle of nowhere. So we drove immediately to our local Les Schwab Tire Store and beseeched them to lift the curse of this demon light! In less than 30 minutes, they’d extracted a nail, patched the hole, exorcised the curse [all for free 🙂 ], and we were on our way to the trailhead at Siskiyou Gap on Forest Road 20. We thus saved most of our early start and were able to complete this short hike (5 miles round-trip; 1,150 feet of gain) without any of the over-heating we’ve experienced on some recent hikes. 😥 With the exception of a lone NOBO thru-hiker who passed just short of the gap, we had this entire hike to ourselves. 😀

Along the PCT near Siskiyou Gap
Across an open section with a view of Anderson Butte
Lingering moisture supports patches of wildflowers
Siskiyou Willow-Herb
Fields of Beargrass gone to seed
Big Red comes into view
Beargrass and wildflowers before the turn to the summit
Mendocino Gentian
Approaching the summit on the reddish rock that defines Big Red
Eastward from the summit: (1) Wagner Butte, (2) Mount McLoughlin, (3) Pelican Butte, (4) Brown Mountain, (5) Mount Ashland, (6) Pilot Rock
Looking southwest from the summit: (1) Dutchman Peak, (2) Observation Peak
Mount Shasta was mired in smoke from wildfires in Northern California
Heading back along Big Red’s east ridge
Along the ridge, with Mount McLoughlin on the far horizon
Wildflowers and Wagner Butte under a cloud
Along the PCT
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