I opened my WordPress end-of-year review. Five posts—FIVE! were all I managed this year. (Five, counting this one)
With the much anticipated onset of snow in the coastal mountains, we bounded up to Horse Mountain after I finished my last assignments for the semester (so I thought! I had one more due.). Apparently, everyone else had the same idea that Saturday.
See all those people??! You’ll have to take my word for it, they were hollering, shrieking (I would too if I tried to sled there…trees much?), and their dogs were barking. It was a ruckus.
We’re ruckusing, too.
Horse Mountain is one of those areas where you love and hate to go there at once. Aside from all the bizarro stuff that has happened to us there, we do keep returning. It’s a unique botanical area on top of a peak that receives tons of moisture, but pretends it’s a semi-arid ecosystem due to toxic rocks that limit the species that can actually grow here. This ‘mountain,’ like much of the Coastal Range, has fairly low relief compared to its distance from the sea (20 miles inland, less than a mile in elevation), but it is one of the closer snow spots during the winter, able to resist the ocean’s regulating influence.
Schoolhouse Peak, one the other hand, is Horse Mountain’s opposite. It takes twice as long to get there, but it is only 12 miles as the crow flies from the coast. While Horse Mountain has seen a fair share of landscape-shaping human activities (mining, logging, etc), Schoolhouse and the surrounding Bald Hills are starkly deforested from centuries of burning, hunting, gathering, and eventually ranching and logging. It is managed as a cultural landscape within Redwood National Park, part of the Yurok, Chilula, and, later sheep herding settlers’ heritage.
The fire tower that sits atop Schoolhouse Peak.
The view into the Coyote Creek drainage.
Oak woodlands and open prairies were maintained by the tribes through the use of fire to attract bears, elk, and deer.
Following the old road down to Lyons Ranch. It would have been quite the trek to hunt or leave the ranch for supplies.
And it would be hard to leave that view.