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Peak Mt Baldy
Group Some Kind Strangers
Trailhead Manker Flats

I had heard so many horror stories about this hike that I kept putting it off. But, it ended up being a wonderful day of hiking despite the negativity and the rough start. Four other people were suppose to meet me at he trailhead. Yep. You guessed it. Two of them canceled at 3 am and the other two were no shows. I was disappointed and prepared to hike it solo. However, a group of very gracious people spotted me and offered to let me hike with them for a friends birthday hike. They were so gracious. Obviously more advanced and moving faster than I, they continually waited at check points, offered advice, pointed out great spots to take pictures and even cheered for me when I summited. They invited me to join the party and even included me in the group picture. I felt adopted and they will forever be “The Angel Squad”. The way they treat people out there is what it’s all about.

It wasn’t my original plan but I’m so glad that I went up Ski Hut and down Devil’s Backbone. My knees were shot but not as bad as they would have been had I reversed the direction. It was a comfortable hike around 65 degrees and close to 50 degrees at the summit. One thing I learned on this hike is to “hike your hike.” I was moving fast for me and I was unable to keep right with the advanced hikers. However, I didn’t expect them to wait for me (and told them so) and they didn’t expect me to keep up. They had already decided to spend quite a bit of time at the summit so it didn’t matter when I got there. It was enjoyable and meditative at times just being able to give myself permission to enjoy the journey. Building in some time margin at each stop made all the difference.

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