Headed up to Covelo/Round Valley with snowblasta on Friday.
We were heading into the storm.
Low snow levels were expected on Friday night
and we were going to be at Mendocino Pass
to experience some snow camping
and lapping some of the lower slopes.
Pulling into Willits Friday afternoon.
Willits is a funky town.
Think Berkeley/Mt. Shasta City with some trailer trash thrown in.
We took the 162 into Covelo and on up the FH7(still the 162)
up to Mendocino Pass.
Seven miles up from the Eel River Work Station
- the local Forest Service -
and the Black Butte Store,
we found where the plows had stopped plowing.
We turned around and found a parking spot.
We set up our tents on the flat spot just behind the Jeep.
We were right next to Jumpoff Creek.
It was puking snow and we took heater breaks in the Jeep to keep warm.
snowblasta enjoying the sauna.
Then it really started snowing.
Soon some rednecks drove up and one of them proceeded to get stuck. We crawled from our tents to lend a hand and watch the free entertainment.
They were able to handle the situation themselves and we were soon back in the tent kicking back.
The entertainment was far from over however.
snowblasta had brought his portable dvd player and we watched
a few movies in the tent.
Shortly after midnight, the snow turned to RAIN!!! :roll:
This was not good.
The rain was pounding down and Jumpoff Creek
lulled us into a deep sleep.
Check this video out for the sound only
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid ... &plindex=0
I have never slept better.
We awoke in the early morning to find most of the new snow gone.
So we slept in.
By noon we were skinning our way up the open meadows.
snowblasta jibbin' his way across a drainage.
We had parked the Jeep at 3800' right where the road
crosses Jumpoff Creek. What was 2+ feet of fresh yesterday
was now just patches of snow skinning up from the road.
We found a way to connect the patches and found
more coverage near 5000'.
This is where the open meadows close up and the woods start
just before the upper ridge where the M4
heads up towards Anthony Peak.
This is also where the freeze line was and the dense fog started.
The storm had warmed up and screwed us.
I wasn't planning on summiting Anthony Peak or Black Butte
in the storm. The visibility would not have been good up there.
I was hoping to do some sweet open bowl skiing
down lower by the road where there are some nice, steep lines.
Both above and below the road.
I have scoped out these lines before, but was always
too focused on getting to Anthony Peak or Black Butte
to give these lines much attention.
Hence the reason for going to Mendocino Pass in a storm.
If the snow had held, we would have had some epic skiing.
snowblasta approaching the top of the meadows.
Round Valley/Covelo in the background
Looking south out over Twin Rocks Ridge.
The only thing that saved the day,
was that we had visibility under the fog layer
and it was not raining.
The snow was uber glop. With no overnight freeze
the snow had not corned up and the skiing was slow going.
These would be excellent slopes to ski if they were corned up.
We made a few calls from the satellite phone
we borrowed from jibC and skied on down to the road.
These are the best turns I had all day. snowblasta thinking about it...
Some locals from Willits
taking advantage of the warmer temps
to get farther up the road than we did.
We were soon down by the Jeep cookin' up.
The truck in the background is some other folks
that had hiked up the road
about the same time we did
and were toting some kind of jib toys that were like
skateboards with a leash or something.
Jumpoff Creek helps me wash the dishes.
We were camped about a 2 minute walk up the road
from Surveyor Camp
http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?lon=-12 ... atum=nad83
just north and to the west of the "N" in "Mendocino National Forest" on this map
We had wanted to camp at Surveyor Camp
because of the toilets and picnic table.
The ranger had told me on the phone earlier that they were open.
We did not see it on the way up because it was snowing so heavily.
But we found it later and were happy to use the facilities.
Some pics of night two.
We were soon back in the tent watching movies.
It rained even harder that night. We stayed up late and
slept in the next morning.
Taking our losses with the ski conditions
and simply being happy to spend the weekend
in the great outdoors,
we broke camp and prepared to make our exit.
About this time, a red pickup truck pulls up behind us
and two guys get out and approach my driver window.
I open the door to talk to them and discover
that we are camping on his property.
Now I have always known, in the 7 or 8 times I've been here,
that this is all private property.
I have spoken with the rangers about camping and skiing up here
and they have said that they didn't think it woud be a problem.
Most of the homes up here are deserted in the winter.
But sticking to the main roads would prevent me from tresspassing.
So I wasn't surprised that we got busted.
He introduced himself as Corey. I think.
Anyway, I apologized for tresspassing and his response was very positive.
He told us that he was a skier and liked the fact that we were there. What he didn't like was all the traffic on the road.
He was friends with the guy that plows the road
and had arranged for the plow guy to stop plowing
lower down than normal to discourage
all the snowmachines, 4wheelers, 4X4 enthusiasts
and sledders - of which there were many this weekend.
He said that he respected
our mode of transportation (human powered).