Posted by: caryandjohn | June 18, 2010

Hull Mtn – Eel River, Mendocino National Forest, 6/16-17

Mercury Cafe, Octavia and Page

Mercury Cafe, Octavia and Page

Hi All,

Kalle and I took off for an overnight trip to the Mendocino National Forest on Wednesday morning, to make up for my having missed the Sheetiron Dual Sport ride this year due to road racing commitments … no KLR camping trip can start without getting caffine at my favorite San Francisco cafe, the Mercury Cafe. We looked at our maps, and decided for the quick option, racing up 101 north, to Hopland, where we would head east and then north towards Lake Pilsbury. That route would get us into the Mendocino NF at around noon. So, after stopping for gas and Safeway in Marin, that’s what we did …

Fire lookout south of Deer Valley Campground

Fire lookout south of Deer Valley Campground

From Upper Lake we took the fireroad up to the lookout tower south of Deer Valley Campground. The ranger lookout was there, so we got to go into the tower and chat with her. She told us about the Pine Mountain lookout, which is a cabin with a 180 degree view, which makes it unusual (most lookouts, of course, have a 360 deg. view). You can rent the cabin, so we wanted to check it out for furture reference, and we found it after getting a little lost in the woods.

Pine Mountain Lookout

Pine Mountain Lookout

We had lunch at Pine Mountain, and will probably be back, because it looked like a nice place, and is only about 4 hours from the city, and an easy ride ride on any kind of motorcycle to get to … We found a nice dirt road to ride down from there to the Eel River and the Soda Creek Store at Lake Pilsbury. The weather was wonderful, only about 80 degrees, and no mud. It was dusty, however, so we tried to take turns riding in front …

End of the road up Hull Mountain

End of the road up Hull Mountain

At the Soda Creek Store, we spoke to some folks in a truck who had just been up Hull Mountain, which is where we thought we’d be headed, to try to get north to Covelo. Their truck had been turned around by downed trees and drifts of snow … We thought we’d head up anyway, to see if we could get through on motorcycles …

Late June snowdrifts at 6000'

Late June snowdrifts at 6000'

We  made it past the downed trees, but the snowdrifts were soft and got the best of us … we may have been able to drag the bikes through the first set of drifts up about 6000′, but Hull Mountain goes up to about 6800′, and we didn’t fancy trying to drag the KLRs too much … so we decided to turn around and head towards the Eel River and Low Gap on the M6 forest road, which would take us up towards Alder Springs and the M3 fire road which runs generally north and south.

Camping on the Eel River

Camping on the Eel River

We rode back down Hull Mountain Road (M1) and made a left at the bottom onto the M6 and found a campground at around 7pm on the Eel River. In short order we had a roaring campfire and made a dinner of sausages cooked on sticks, red peppers & onions, french bread rolls, and baked beans. We slept like logs, lulled asleep by the rushing water of the nearby river. Lots of stars, and no bugs. Nice.

The next day we got up and made coffee, packed the bikes and rode up through Low Gap to M3 where we headed north to FH7 and down to Alder Springs, where we picked up Road 309, which took us down to Elk Creek where we got gas and began the ride back to San Francisco, cutting over from Bear Valley Road on the dirt roads that run east of Indian Valley Resevior to 20 and back to San Francisco via Lake Berryessa and Napa to 37 and the Golden Gate Bridge, where we saved $6 each, by crossing after 4pm.

I’m looking forward to getting back up there soon, before it gets too hot!

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Responses

  1. Another great report John, wish I could have been there, good pics.


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