This was my first hike up anything above 3,000 ft and I managed to drag a few friends along with me. It kicked all of our asses!! That said, we were all in decent shape and had prepped for the hike with a ton of water, food, and anything that would help us with the altitude (electrolytes, Ibuprofen, etc). The trail was in awesome condition, and apparently at least 11 new trail marking signs were put up recently, which made navigating that much easier. Even so, we managed to pick a route up to Devils Backbone that another hiker considered the hardest of them all – directly up a steep ski run. Goodbye, calves.
The weather was fairly warm with some nice breezes here and there. Devil’s Backbone was incredibly beautiful, especially on the way back. We’d taken our time and spent a good amount of time on the summit, so we got a sunset along the ridge that was beautiful. I can definitely see how the last few miles to the summit could have been worse if we hadn’t been forcing ourselves to eat and drink all the way up the mountain. We even had to play a game of “we can make it to that rock and then take a break”, all the way up the last climb, but by the time we left the summit, we felt re-energized and a little more used to the altitude.
I don’t know if it would have been an easier hike if we hadn’t done Baldy first and stuck to the recommended order, but really, I feel empowered to go even higher now. I really didn’t realize how far my legs could take me until this hike! Planning on tackling San Jacinto next – a mountain that I’ve always thought was beautiful, but hadn’t looked reachable until just recently. Yay!