Nice little trail with not a lot of info describing it online. I will try to fill in some of the holes.
I did this hike on Memorial Day weekend. Based on online descriptions of this trail as empty, I didn't expect to see that many people on the trail. However, there were dozen of cars at both Deafy Glade and Summit Spring Trail heads and lots of people on the trail.
The drive in was also not as expected. While the road is pretty good (I saw loaded sedans on it) and fun, there were no river crossings as described. Perhaps they are there earlier in the year. Also, road 17N06 is washed out so you either have to park at the junction or take 17N29 (which gets a little rough) about 1.2 miles east and start from there. Either way, the hike will be longer, with more elevation gain.
I did this hike from the bottom of a the hill on 17N29. The route to the summit and back was 9.6 miles and 2300ft of gain. This route (from 17N29) requires a STEEP off-trail climb directly up the hill. This can be a hard way to start (and end) your hike. Also, at least one rattlesnake inhabits the area. I'd recommend not starting here.
The start of the trail was hot and dry. Soon enough it cools off and the patches of poison oak give way to fragrant wildflowers. The trail then cools off as you enter a forested area near cedar camp. Higher up there were small patches of snow and little streams from the melt. The final approach looks much like higher summits: rocky, treeless and with patchy snow.
All in all, a nice little drive to a nice, well-marked, little trail. There is only moderate steepness along the way and late-season snow make this right all ages and many fitness levels. It's not amazingly scenic, but is very pretty. If I could make a recommendation, I'd say do this in the early spring. The weather would be nicer and I imagine this place would look awe-inspiring with the top half of the trail under a little snow.
Hunting for a suitable start to our summer backpacking season we decided on the Travelers Home trail in Mendocino National Forest. With a moderate trail rating and clocking in at only 12 miles we were planning on a relaxing weekend away.
It was going to be an early start in the morning since it is a ways out from home base so we got everything packed up and ready to go day before.
The next morning we hit the road with the windows down and the music blasting. Way up 101 we went and then finally turned in towards the trail. We parked by the trailhead and saw the sign with one thing in our minds What kind of animal eats signs?!
The trail starts down a gated off forest road and then after a mile or so, splits off to a single track for the remainder. Rolling hills through trees and over creeks was the scenery for the first bit, which then quickly opened up along a steep cut-in with amazing vista views.
The problem with being to see it all is the rain clouds we spotted creeping towards us, and quick! After a quick snack we got moving again and the weather broke. Each step brought a few more raindrops but no biggie, we had our packs covered and caution thrown to the wind. Most of trail so far had been moving at a very gentle grade moving parallel to the mountain ridge. That picture above showing the river far below shouldve had been our first clue, but with this trail ending at the Eel River, there had to be a drop to get us down the mountain. Well, we know nothing can be easy and this trip was no different, not that we were looking for easy.
The next section of trail was definitely the crux, and the escape plan was straight down. Just as the trail started getting muddy from the rain, we were headed down switchbacks that almost had us rolling over each other. A few points had us doing some very technical assisted descent sliding.
At the bottom of the descent, just on this side of a small ridge before the river, we found a great spot to setup camp in a beautiful green meadow with some decent tree coverage along the edge. First step was getting the tents setup in this crazy downpour. Not expecting the rain this weekend, we quickly found out how quick everything in your tent gets wet without a rainfly. He harnessed power from his inner Bear Grylls and showed the rain what he was made of. A few passes of the knife and some creative exterior decorating, the tent was now a proper sanctuary.
Not any sooner than we finally setup camp, the rain finally stopped. Just a little tease I guess, but it was fun while the rain lasted. Finally a quick, pack less hike to check out the river and get some more water for nice and warm dinner.
The next morning the sun was out and shining, pretending it hadnt left us for dead the day before. We enjoyed a restful brunch waiting for tents and clothes to dry before getting back onto the trail.
A quick jaunt up the switchbacks was the highlight of the afternoon and boy were we glad to get back on some ground that wasnt vertical. All in all, the trip was a success and taught us to be ready for anything and that fun will be had in any conditions.