Monday, June 4, 2012

Mendo Rock, N. Cow Mountain - BLM

This is an accumulation of footage taken over a few different trips up N. Cow Mountain, mostly shot in the earlier spring months. Here is a trip I put together from doing some camera mounting test runs. From my uncut footage I think I can post a few different trips in this area.

If you don't like the driving part of the video skip ahead to 5:15 for an AMAZING 360 degree view from the top of Mendo Rock.

Ukiah, CA
Exit US Hwy 101 East to Talmage. The video picks up on Talmage Road aka CA Hwy 222, takes you past the Mill Creek County Park area and delivers you to Mendo Rock in the N. Cow Mountain Recreational Area. Mendo Rock sits on the line between Mendocino and Lake Counties, although the rocks peek sits in Mendocino County. Be aware that only the first 4.7 of the 10 miles is paved, although the road gets pretty narrow and you can expect all types of traffic on this popular small road.

Clear Lake, CA
You will pass by three dams on Mill Creek Rd. The lowest is silted to the top and now is just a concrete waterfall. The Middle dam has a pond and you can swim at your own risk as far as I know. The Upper dam has a large pond and is stocked by Fish & Game many times a year. There are trails that start just north of the Upper dam. Look for more posts on this area in the future.

The next 5.3 miles is County Rd 203. It is a dirt road that can be passable by most vehicles in the summer although I recommend something with a little clearance. In the winter/spring months the road can be impassable at times by 2wd vehicles. In winter N. Cow can receive varying amounts of snow, usually above 2500' and up to about 12" near the top. The road is almost never closed and it is maintained by the county, most likely because of the FCC towers near Mendo Rock.
Before PRG Suspension 

The view from Mendo Rock is absolutely amazing. The 360 view at 5:15 on the timeline starts out looking at the south end of Ukiah moving north to Capella and Redwood Valley. After the ripple effect the camera turns into Lake County and continues around to see peaks in Sonoma and Napa Counties. 

There are many uses for the N. Cow Mountain Recreation Area such as hiking, hunting, rifle range, views, mountain biking, equestrian, even an unmaintained primitive campground. Here is a post on the Ukiah Fire Department Explorers fixing up the Willow Creek Trail that leads to a 25' waterfall.

Although N. Cow is open to licensed and registered street legal vehicles only, South Cow is open to OHV vehicles but may be closed due to rain. You can take Mendo-Lake Rd from the lakeport area of CA Hwy 29 to Mill Creek Rd and into the Ukiah area, that's about a 32 mile drive with about 22 on dirt.

For the driving portion of the video I used my Kodak PlaySport Black Pocket Camcorder 1515246. It is nice, cheep, waterproof and shoots in Full 1080p HD, and 720p@60fps for action shots.

For the panoramic 360 view I used my Sony Full HD Handycam Black Camcorder - HDR-CX190/B. If I had panned a little slower the image would have been a little better but if you pause you can see some incredible definition and the camera was only about half way zoomed to get the overall view.

Check out some of links below for other info on this area including a nice map from BLM.

   BLM Ukiah Feild Office                          N. Cow Map                                    S. Cow Map

View N. Cow Mtn - Mendo Rock in a larger map

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