Thursday, May 08, 2014

Skinner Peak

I recently hiked Skinner Peak in the southern Sierra mountains.  It's an easy hike.  There are two routes, both along the PCT.  One heads north from Bird Spring Pass, and the other heads south from the ridge atop Horse Canyon Road.  I took the later one because (a) it's shorter, and (b) I get to drive the fun 4wd road up Horse Canyon.  Here's a google map centered on Skinner Peak.

The hardest part of the hike is finding the actual summit.  You can see from my track that it took me quite a while to find it.  For this reason, my total hiking distance was 6 miles and not the advertised 5.

Horse Canyon Road begins as BLM route SC65.  As it gains altitude, it enters the Kiavah Wilderness and the road becomes rougher, requiring high clearance.

Driving up the switchbacks is the fun part.  The road is in the worst condition I've seen in the past 5 years.

This shot looks east down the canyon from half way up the switchbacks.

The PCT was a pleasant walk.  I only encountered one other hiker.  A grizzled old man who looked like a through hiker who'd been on the trail for quite a while.

There were 2 rock cairns marking where you should leave the PCT to find the summit.  These are located roughly where my track left and rejoined the PCT in the first image above.

It's hard to find the summit because the top is kinda flat and covered in pinyon pine and other trees.

I found two USGS markers on the same pile of boulders.

Bird Spring Pass is seen to the south.  I drove to the microwave tower facility back in 2011.

Here's a view of the road, from the PCT as I returned to the car.

Here's a final shot of the road going down the switchbacks.  There are several transitions to/from old asphalt.  Each one involves a rise/drop of 6 to 12 inches.   Those black dots in the sky are crows.

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