We love the folks at Hipcamp. They’re like the Airbnb for camping, backcountry cabins, and other off the beaten path experiences. We joined them for their summer Siskiyou adventure and we had so much fun! We stayed at a gorgeous working ranch, set up camp in Bigfoot Meadows, learned about fly fishing from Charles Post and his crew of pros, had delicious communal meals at the long table with the other one hundred or so folks who were there, listened to great live music, went swimming in the swimming hole, and stayed up late drinking and hanging out around the campfire.
Toby and I led a hike and gathered local wild plant trimmings which included yarrow, native blackberry blossoms, douglas fir boughs, incense cedar leaves, and ponderosa pine pitch and needles. We distilled it down over the campfire and created a lovely aromatic memory of the beautiful place we were in. I’m really excited about how this turned out. We caught the ponderosa pines at the peak of their summer vanilla aromatics and it came through in this so beautifully. This is a light hit of summer in the stunning rugged mountains and rivers of the Siskiyou, one of the great secluded corners of the West.
Here, paved roads turn to dirt trails that eventually fade away because very few hikers traverse here. There are no marquee peaks because, in this section of the coastal range, the mountains max out at around 9000 feet. Because of this, the hiking/climbing blogs rarely talk about this area, but the endless rivers, wild forested valleys and secret pocket meadows of the Klamath-Siskiyou region are unrivaled anywhere in the West. During the last ice age, this area wasn’t heavily glaciated because it’s too far south and too low in elevation. Instead, it became the reservoir of biodiversity for trees and plants that spread north once the giant ice sheets retreated. There are 38 conifer species (evergreen trees) in these mountains–the highest density of anyplace in North America. Because of its outstanding biodiversity, the Klamath-Siskiyou region was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO.
On the final day when everyone was leaving, Cara, Toby and I snuck down to the swimming hole for a final dip. We stripped down and one by one we jumped off the waterfall ledge into the deep, dark, cool water, and clawed our way back up onto the sun baked flat rocks. We all felt like we were getting away with something sinfully delicious–a little heavenly slice of mountains and rivers–and we were! Thanks to Hipcamp for the endless smiles and the lovely getaway.