Good lord, Baldy was a bit of a bitch!
I felt so good last weekend after Cucamonga, but this one really kicked my butt. I knew it would be tough and so having that mental state probably didn’t help. I overslept–didn’t get on the trail until 7am! Ha! I’ve been trying to follow the routes Jeff set out in his blogs for the Six Peak Challenge so I hiked up the gravel road under the ski lift. Not my favorite type of trail. There were even cars using the road which I was kind of shocked about. It was pretty funny to get up to the Baldy ski lodge and have people hop off the ski lift eating donuts after I just trudged an hour. But up until now, wasn’t too difficult.
Jeff opted for the slightly steeper, more direct route to Devil’s Backbone. I wasn’t even sure I was on the right trail. It really was just a ski trail. I didn’t meet anyone else going up that way, but met a couple hikers going down who reassured me I was headed the correct direction. It was pretty steep and had a lot of loose gravel. But gosh, the views were INSANE. So, definitely felt that was worth it.
Devil’s Backbone was cool. Not too difficult, but definitely took my time over the narrow ridge. Mt. Harwood on the other hand was quite a trudge. You’re very exposed to the elements, so the sun is beating down on you. It’s pretty steep and the elevation gets pretty high, so it was one foot in front of the other. I was surprised how windy it was! Was thankful I had brought a flannel. I couldn’t believe the people RUNNING from the summit. For one, it was not an easy trail with sure footing. But they also had a single bottle of water! I tend to overpack–better safe than sorry! But I drink a lot of water and eat a lot of snacks. Not sure how they keep up the energy without anything!
Of course, the summit was INSANELY BEAUTIFUL. I can’t get over it. 360 degree views. None of the sprawling city so many other views offer. Just took your breath away. There were a bunch of people on top, but not the hundreds I had read about previously. The funny thing was everyone seems to cluster in the same area. If you walk 100 feet to the east, there’s no one there! I had a whole rock shelter all to myself. By the way, whoever built those structures, BLESS YOU. Made it so much more comfortable.
Instead of going back the way I came, I took Baldy Bowl trail. I’m so happy I did because the terrain was so different. So many beautiful trees. But the first half of the trail was again very loose. I’m not very sure footed so it really slowed me down. Plus it was pretty steep and my knees and thighs don’t handle that as well as they handle going up. I don’t know how to improve this! Perhaps trail poles to alleviate some of the impact. I felt like the trail back really took a while. But I was surprised that even with my slow pace and the 40 minutes I spent at the summit, I made it back to my car in 6 hours and 15 minutes!
I’m very sore today but feel good. I’m a little nervous because I won’t be able to do the next hike for 3 weeks. Hope all my progress won’t be wasted!