Moses Mountain

30 Apr 2000 - by Debbie Bulger (view roster page)

Maybe it was because we had just seen Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments on the tube for the first time since I saw it as a kid in the 50s. Maybe it was because Passover had just ended. Or maybe it was because I just needed to get back to the Sierra. Whatever the cause, Richard Stover and I headed for Moses Mountain.

We began our dayhike of this 9331 ft. peak from Mountain Home State Forest, a sequoia wonderland east of Porterville and west of Golden Trout Wilderness. Even if you don't climb, this unique park is well worth visiting. Over 5200 old-growth sequoia, young sequoia, mature douglass fir, white fir, incense cedar, sugar pine and more give one a sense of what a marvel the sequoia forests must have been before we attacked these gentle giants with a vengeance.

On the cross country hike to the base of Moses, we passed tree after tree which would have been given a name of a president or general had they been growing in a more traveled spot. Instead of a few trophy groves as found in other parks, here were thousands of gigantic trees growing freely in a natural setting. A sight not to be missed.

We followed Steve Eckert's advice and took the trail to Redwood Crossing, then without getting our feet wet, stayed on the west side of the river, took a compass reading from the map and made a beeline to Moses. If you are on the right trajectory, you should pass the boundary marker and benchmark for the northwestern corner of the northernmost section of Mountain Home State Forest.

Unfortunately, we were not able to start hiking from Shake Camp since snow covered parts of the road and the gate was locked. Our climb was about two miles longer because of that, but we had most of the park to ourselves.

Whether we took the brush filled or rocky gully described in previous reports, we couldn't say. The one we ascended was directly below the summit and filled with snow. As we sat on a rock for a snack, a golden eagle soared into view.

The climb up was uneventful, however, by the time we descended, the sun had melted enough snow to force us onto the rock to avoid the danger of plunging through the snow into the rushing water beneath. As a result, we downclimbed some high 3rd and 4th class sections, sometimes using a long sling for hip belays.

Once down, we meandered through the forest examining more magnificent trees and vowing to return to explore some more. On the drive back to Springville, we stopped often to admire the profusion of wildflowers including rare calypso orchids, speckled Clarkia, lupine, blue fiesta flower, wally basket, and baby blue eyes.


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