|Trailhead||San Antonio Falls|
I really need to start logging my hikes right after they are completed!
Here’s what I recall about Baldy on July 3 –
We got to the trailhead a little after 7 a.m. and found parking pretty easily. Seeing the San Antonio Falls within the first mile of the hike provided for a nice payoff early on. This was my and James’ first hike using trekking poles and breaking in our new boots. I certainly came to appreciate the extra support before reaching the peak. A few miles into the hike I realized I hadn’t placed our adventure pass on the dashboard, and hoped that the fact that the visitor center was closed meant that no one would be patrolling parking.
After passing the falls we continued on past the ski hut. We stopped frequently for water and snack breaks, and had definitely underestimated how much time the hike would take us. The Baldy Bowl leered over us at a daunting distance. Once we reached one of the last segments of the hike, any discernible trail disappeared. We veered to the left, thinking that it was a less steep path to the top. Dead wrong. The grade got so steep that we had to stash our poles and use our hands to grasp onto the loose boulders. The one perk to taking this route was that we passed very closely to the remains of a plane that had crashed into Baldy decades earlier. Looking down the slope, plane carnage was scattered down the mountainside. There seem to be a few different accounts of how these Cold War era planes met there doom.
Once we reached the summit we sought refuge from the sun and wind behind a scrubby bush, where we ate lunch. I was impressed to see a tiny terrier had made it up with his owners, as well. This was my first peak over 10,000 feet, and it definitely felt like an accomplishment. James and I started our descent on the Devil’s Backbone Trail. There was a bit of cross traffic, and I felt for the hikers summitting this way. We really took our time on some of the steep and bouldered sections, but I still ended up on my butt at one point.
James and I passed through the ski lodge and considered taking the lifts down the remaining stretch. Our frugality got the better of us, and we trekked the rest of the way down on the wide road, in the direct sunlight. We truly are martyrs. We made it to my car and found that we hadn’t been dinged for forgetting to put the adventure pass out. Three down, three to go!