Hiking Stats as of 11/11/2019
Total Trips:
Total Distance:
Total Elevation Gain:
 3,891.68 miles
 1,060,050 feet
For this weekends hike Kyle and I planned another trip up to the Clear Lake area. I continue to avoid going to this area without Kyle, since his house is basically on the way so it makes good sense for us to tag these peaks together. Our goal this time was Brushy Sky High, a peak that has a reputation for living up to its name - not so much the Sky High part, but for being a brushy bushwhack. Despite it being the high point of the Cache Creek Wilderness, its trail was long-abandoned, and easier routes to the summit were blocked by private property. Recently Bob Burd cleared the trail, and others followed, and so it made a lot of sense for us to follow suit before the path became overgrown once again. Brushy Sky High is on the CC Peak list, thus making it a target of mine.

We met up at Kyle's house in Vallejo at about 10 AM and it took 1 1/2 hours for us to make the drive, going up the 505 to Hwy 16 to Hwy 20, where we parked in the large lot at Cache Creek. The area seems quite popular, although we didn't see anyone on our trails all day so I'm not sure where everyone else was going. We followed the Red Bud Trail right out of the gate, across a dry creek bed and connecting to a use trail which had some signage indicating it was private property, although with no fencing and a clear trail running through it I'm not sure if there might not be an easement for this trail. Along this section we came across a couple of old, beat up (and shot up) trucks that had been long abandoned, with the green hillside gradually reclaiming the area and swallowing the debris up. It took about a half hour to reach the creek crossing, probably quite the challenge in normal years, but still an ordeal despite the low flow.

On the other side of the creek we found an old sign for Brushy Sky High with an arrow made of rocks. The sign indicated 4 miles although we found it to be more like 5 miles from this point to the summit. We could not locate the trail at this point, but after several minutes of hiking upward and searching we found it. Once we found it we never lost it again, as it was in pretty good condition the whole way up. We were mentally prepared for some heavy brush, and there were some patches of the stuff, but nothing bad enough to complain about. About an hour in I found a nice place to stash a Powerade Zero - nice because it would be super easy to find on descent, and we had no worries that anyone might happen to go by. Likely that nobody had been by this way in several weeks. The trail was not very steep, just continually rising, with the only views ahead the wall of brush that would be impenetrable if not for the trail.

It took nearly 2 hours before we had our first glimpse of the peak, still far away. but from this point we had nice views, especially of Mt. Konocti near Clear Lake. The last mile+ of the ascent was somewhat frustrating, as the trail continually went up and down, gaining 100 feet and losing 50 feet over and over. Only the last quarter mile was really all that steep, and the final approach leveled back off again with the trail rolled out like a red carpet for us to reach the top. It took us 3 hours to reach the top, a good time made possible by the trail work done by the others before us. I had intended to bring my loppers that I used on Little Blue a few weeks prior, but had forgotten them at home, so we did not pass this one forward, unfortunately. Anyways, the views on top were spectacular, looking to Mt. St. Helena and over to Mt. Konocti. We had heard helicopters in the distance, and we could see that they were likely fighting a fire near Cobb Mountain. We located the benchmark and summit register and spent some time reading the few entries that preceded ours. Jerry Kohn's group from November 2014, followed by David Sanger in January 2015.

After spending perhaps 15 minutes on top we started down. Not too much of interest was found on descent, since we essentially followed the same route. We did notice a large white object buried in the brush. We could not figure out what that might have been, and with the brush in the way there was no way to find out. On descent it was a bit more challenging to stay on the trail, as several use trails veered off downhill, and we took to using signs made by others to stay on course. We made our way back down to the edge of a cliff overlooking the creek, and went cross country from there (the trail is really hard to find near the creek) until we were back at the creek. Nearly 6 hours after starting we were back at the car, and with 2 hours of daylight left we were not quite ready to go home yet.

Bally Peak is another CC peak, with the TH being less than 1 mile down Highway 20 from where the Cache Creek TH is located. It would be a shame (and a wast of time) to not bag Bally while we were here, as there were no other CC peaks in this area and so the likelihood of a return visit seemed quite small. We made the 5 minute drive and parked next to a call box where someone else apparently had the same idea. There are no signs anywhere indicating that there is a trail here, but once you cross the street and poke around a very old 4x4 road is visible. This long abandoned road leads fairly steadily uphill until you reach a small lake. We ran into a couple of people leaving the lake, dressed in hunting gear so this may be an area for hunters, or they may have been illegally hunting on restricted grounds. We periodically lost the trail but it didn't matter, the peak is easy to see and we just kept going up until we reached a saddle. At that point we looked for an easy way to avoid the brush, so we continued around to the back side of the peak where an easier route was found. We were pretty tired by the time we summitted, although the hike to the top is no more than a couple of miles and took about an hour to complete. The views were not all that great, blocked by trees . But when added to our efforts on Brushy Sky High we felt like we had really put in a good day, so we posed for summit shots before heading down the same way we came, arriving back at the car after about an hour and forty-five minutes.

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