By: Carleton B. Shay
How to Spend a Whole Day Climbing Sheephead
First, when I wanted to climb Sheephead on March 10, the road to Kitchen Valley was gated, so I hiked the 1.6 miles to the usual starting point. Then I proceeded down the jeep road to Kitchen Creek and hiked towards Kitchen Valley. As I was nearing the gate about one third of a mile from the turnoff, I was stopped by a man and a young girl on horseback and told politely but firmly to get off their property. This man was "fed up" with all of the trespassers on his property, the damage they had done, etc., etc. He said there was no way to approach Sheephead except over his property and it had to stop. There were "lots of other places to hike." He said he had erected "No Trespassing" signs on all the trails around (and they were certainly more in evidence now than since the last time I was there), and claimed he was going to erect more fences to emphasize the point. Of course he "had nothing against me personally" but there were just too many people on his property and it had to stop.
Surprisingly he told me of a southern approach from Buckman Springs and Charming Meadow which would cross his property but that I was welcome to use for a limited time; after he moved some cattle up there that would be forbidden also.
He accompanied me up the trail to make sure I was leaving, which I did, and tried his southern approach which went well, but it was longer (3-4 miles) and very brushy above Charming Meadows. It took me about two hours each way, largely because of the brush.
Old timers will remember that Sheephead was regularly climbed from Channing Meadow after driving around from the north end of Sheephead from the Kitchen Valley Road. According to the rancher, he closed this road after the Forest Service tried to make it a designated ORV motorcycle trail ("I ripped out his sign and told him to get his ass off my property") and erosion did the rest.
I got the impression that when cattle are not on the range, the rancher might tolerate trespassers; at any rate we shouldn't antagonize him more.
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