Josephine County Highpoint Trip Report
Date: July 30, 2007
Author: Peter Maurer
For my first foray into Oregon on my way to the far northwest counties of California,
I wasn't as prepared as I would have liked but successfully bagged
the summit. Armed with only 1970s-era Rogue River National Forest map and my
recollections of prior trip reports, I headed south from Applegate on Thompson
Creek Road. After 7 miles, the county road becomes a forest road and the
numbering starts over. A short ways past mile 4, the road crests the ridge,
pavement ends, and two gravel roads take off to the right. Take the right-hand road,
marked FS1005. At 0.3 mile, bear left at a fork, 2.2 miles go straight (right).
The good gravel road gradually narrows and gets rougher but is
passable by a passenger vehicle and ends at the trail head after 3.8 miles.
I had planned to do this more or less as a trail run, knowing that I would need
to walk a lot of the steeper parts. This happened immediately as the first mile
of the trail is very steep! After crossing O'Brian Creek, the grade lessens and
is much more enjoyable, with switchbacks up to a junction, signed "Boundary
Trail" after 2.3 miles. At this point I looked to the north and saw two
prominent open knobs and, thinking the higher of the two was the summit,
promptly headed off along the trial leading north. Another mile had me cresting
out on that knob, only to look back to the south to see the actual peak behind me.
I backtracked down the trail to a gap (possibly "Windy Gap"?) and then
angled off through the woods toward the summit. This actually worked out pretty well,
since there was less downfall and bushwhacking. I did end up climbing a
couple of false summits thinking I was at the top but still made it to the top
in about 1-1/2 hours.
After signing the register and enjoying the view, I headed straight down the
east side. This would have been a bear trying to climb straight up, with lots
of downed trees and limbs to scramble over. I met the trail and ran back down,
returning in just under 2-1/2 hours for the round trip, including the bonus peak.
From there it was on to Grants Pass in search of one of Oregon's famous micro-breweries.