Christy and Marcus, whom I previously hiked with down in San Mateo County, were up in Cloverdale for the weekend and were interested in hiking Mt. St. Helena, the highest point in Sonoma County. It’s been on my list of hikes to do, but the 5 mile trek up (and 5 back) meant that I pretty much needed a whole day to undertake it. Update: Here’s a picture I took of Mt. St. Helena from Sebastopol.
It starts out with a number of switchbacks in a heavily wooded area. We pass a memorial to Robert Louis Stevenson who lived on the mountain (apparently inspiring some of the scenes in Treasure Island). Then there’s a pretty steep section that lets out onto a fire road with 4 miles to go. The nice thing about the fire road is that it makes for a pretty easy hike. The not so nice thing is that it provides no cover from the sun, which was a constant presence. That said, it was a beautiful day.
Along the fire road, there were some expansive views of Napa Valley below and the Sonoma Mountains in the distance.
We stopped in a shady area for lunch. I had tamari roasted almonds and cashews, sesame sticks, raisins, and a tomato and avocado courtesy of Christy and Marcus. I ran out of water and made yet another mental note to get a Camelbak. We got to the top of the south peak, a little over a mile before the higher north peak and decided we were satisfied (read: sufficiently tired) and could head back.
Here’s a topographic map of the south peak (courtesy of Topozone), which is about 300 feet below the north peak. I’ve highlighted the trail we took in blue. The Gmaps Pedometer said it was about 3.5 miles, one way.
On the way down, I finally remembered to have someone snap our picture.
As you can see, I’m wearing my hiking shirt. We got down to the bottom after 3pm, took a quick tour of Calistoga, including the nearby petrified forest, and headed back to Santa Rosa for some Nepalese cuisine at Annapurna, a few blocks from my apartment.