Directions: The trail to White Mountain is located at the end of the aptly named White Mountain Road. I talked about directions to the Schulman Grove last week here, and these directions would get you to the trailhead of White Mountain, as all you have to do is follow White Mountain Road to the end. As I said last week, White Mountain Road from the Schulman Grove on is unpaved, and is sometimes in poor condition due to either snow or ice. While it is not a far distance from the Schulman Grove to the trailhead, chances are that the road conditions will prevent you from arriving there quickly. I would allow forty-five minutes to an hour of driving from the Schulman Grove to the Barcroft Station. Even though this section of the road is short, don’t feel like you’re in a rush – this is an interesting drive, and one with many beautiful things to look at as you head down the road.
A couple weeks ago, I was up at White Mountain in California. The standard route up White Mountain leads past the Barcroft Research Station, which is one of the highest, if not the highest research laboratory in the world. On our way back down from White Mountain, my climbing partner brought my attention to a sign that was near the road/trail to Barcroft. It said, “Attention Hikers. Report all Mountain Goats sightings to DHS.” At the time, we were ready to get off the mountain and back to the car, so we didn’t stop to take a picture of this sign. However, within fifty feet of the sign we were having a vigorous discussion about why the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would want to know about mountain goats. We quickly agreed that it would make rational sense if the Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, or Department of Fish and Game wanted to know about mountain goat sightings. But the Department of Homeland Security? Were these terrorist goats? Or terrorists disguised as goats? Or, even worse, goats disguised as terrorists? As we walked, the more the “goat sign” felt like a Doctor Strangelove type situation to me. Were these goats trying to get at our precious bodily fluids? And, while the Department of Homeland Security has to secure the nation from the many threats it faces, since when did goats become a threat?