Tale of Two Volcanos

Mt Saint Helena looms large over wine country. Its 4,000 plus foot extinct volcano sitting at the northern end of Napa Valley. The mountain is a hulking mass with several summits straddling three counties. The north peak lies in Sonoma County and tops out at 4,344 feet. There is a fire road that meanders its way to the summits which are dotted with various communications towers. Its about a 10.6 mile round trip.

Mt Saint Helena from the Knight's Valley, Sonoma County.

The allure of this peak is strong, not because it is some remote wilderness, but because it dominates the horizon almost anywhere you are in the Russian River Valley.  I could see it from the winery, a reminder of where I’d rather be if I wasn’t racking juice. Jill and I hiked up Mt Saint Helena the other day. The views were spectacular.  To the west, wine country socked in with clouds. To the east, clear for miles. The peak was balancing these two extremes most of the hike.  It was a bit surreal.

The summit view to the west.

The summit view to the east.














Let me cut to the chase of this little trip report. I was wearing the same pair of shoes that I had worn up Mt Saint Helens just over a year ago. Chucked in the van at the end of our road trip last fall, these shoes lay in wait for about 10 months. I had totally forgotten about them until I returned from New Zealand.  Still in good enough shape they made the journey to California and thus up Mt Saint Helena. The irony was much appreciated.

Somewhere on the flanks of Mt St Helens in July of 09. The one in Washington.

The summit of Mt St Helena. The one in California.


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