Mount Vaca • Highpoint: Solano County
• Northern California Coastal Ranges

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Date: December 19, 2001 • Elevation: 2,819 feet • Prominence: 1,959 feet • Distance: 2 miles • Time: 1 hour • Gain: 250 feet • Conditions: Cold with fog blowing in

This was my second day of a short tour of Bay-Area county highpoints and a visit with my sister. Yesterday, I drove north from Southern California and visited Carpenter Hill, the measly highpoint of Sacramento County. I spent the evening with family friends in nearby Davis.

My plan today was to visit Mount Vaca ("Mount Cow") in Solano County, and later, Cobb Mountain in Sonoma County. The day started nicely, and from Davis I drove toward Fairfield partly in the dense fog that the Central Valley is known for. From Fairfield, I followed local roads toward Mix Canyon Road, seven miles from the freeway. This area is rural and very pretty.

Mix Canyon Road winds steadily up to the spine of the range, which feature communications towers. Hence, the road itself is in excellent shape, paved nearly all the way to the top. At first, it meanders through homesteads, but after a certain point, there are no more homes, and the road narrows and steepens for the last push to the top. Down low, the flora consists of large trees including oaks, but higher up, it's woody chapparal. The pavement ended near a large Y-junction just below the main ridge, and I parked in a clearing off the road.

I walked the rest of the road past a gate, which was open because there was a worker up ahead. My walk to the top covered one mile and 250 feet of elevation gain. Within minutes I was on top, the summit somewhere amid the smattering of buildings. Although I had good weather at the start, the wind picked up and a lot of low clouds and fog was blowing in from the ocean. I spent little time up top, and was back to my truck after a total of 45 minutes.

I drove down and then over to the Cobb Mountain area from the town of Whispering Pines in Lake County. The worsening weather and my lack of good maps turned what should have been a simple hike into a mini-epic. While I successfully summitted Cobb Mountain, I missed the Sonoma County highpoint sub-summit and would have to return at a later date to complete it.

(c) 2001, 2016 Scott Surgent. For entertainment purposes only. This report is not meant to replace maps, compass, gps and other common sense hiking/navigation items. Neither I nor the webhost can be held responsible for unfortunate situations that may arise based on these trip reports. Conditions (physical and legal) change over time! Some of these hikes are major mountaineering or backpacking endeavors that require skill, proper gear, proper fitness and general experience.