Napa County High Point Trip Report

Mount St Helena East (4,200+ ft)

Date: January 5, 2003
Author: John Garner

9 miles round-trip, 2000 feet of gain; first mile on trail - remainder on fire road. Normally, I don't care much for road hikes - not this time. Simply the most awesome visibility I've ever seen. The hike is very straightforward and moderately easy (unless you try to cut switchbacks on the road, and slip down a loose slope like I did). Mt Shasta is clearly visible from the trail, 190 miles away. Not just a smudge, but CLEARLY visible. I could see the shoulders of the mountain, and I could easily tell above and below the snow line as well. Amazing, and in the other direction I could pick out individual buildings in downtown San Francisco, 65 miles away.

Using Gary Suttle's book and my GPS, I started counting county highpoints. Aside from Mt Shasta, Lassen Peak looked like it was only about 10 miles away (145 miles actually). It looked like I could throw a rock at hit Snow Mountain, about 50 miles north. And later, as the haze in the Central Valley cleared in the afternoon, I could pick out the North Pal area too. Amazing - I could see North Pal and Mt. Shasta by just turning my head.

Ultimately, I picked out 24 specific cohp's!