This past weekend I took Christy and we went on a hike to Mt. Baldy.
A little bit about Mt. Baldy: It is officially known as Mount San Antonio but most local residents call it Mt. Baldy. It is southern california’s 3rd tallest mountain (The other two are San Gorgornio and San Jacinto). It sits at 10,068ft and is the bald looking mountain you see from the valley. It is an iconic mountain and I would definitely recommend hiking if you haven’t done so already.
Back to my trail report. We left LA around 6am and got to the Manker flats trail head at 830. There were a lot of cars park that morning, I knew this was a popular hike but I didn’t expect a Disneyland-sized crowd. I start to unpack my daypack to make sure I have everything I needed. I packed an extra fleece sweater, extra sock, ten essentials, trail map, an osprey bladder with 3 liters of water and frozen gatorade in my nalgene. Lots of sunscreen and my REI Staff hiking poles. I had an extra 1 liter nalgene bottle I was going to bring with me but I decided against it because of the weight. This would come back to bite me later one.
Making sure I have what I need
The white gate
We started out hike at the gate on Manker Road. An easy fireroad that takes you 1 mile to the junction. It was a nice clear day out. A little cool in the shade but we knew it would be hot once the sun went overhead. The trail to the peak is about 3.3 miles long and the first 2.5 miles of the trail is known as the Ski Hut Trail. There is a small green ski hut that was built back in the 50’s and can be still seen on the trail today.
The peak we are headed to in the upper left hand corner.
The trail meanders for several miles until we reached the ski hut. This was a good area for use to take a break and get some food in our system. We could see how steep the 2nd half of the trail was going to be. We knew this would be an uphill battle.
Made it to the ski hut
The steep part begins
After the ski hut section we noticed that we were slowing down. We were taking a lot more breaks. The elevation probably at about 8000ft and this is what was getting to us. But we trudged on, climbing up switchback after switchback. We reached the top of the switchback at around 9300ft. This would be a good spot for a break. We could see that the trail was not getting any easier. We both started to feel more fatigued and were afraid we couldn’t go any further.
Crowded day, steep trail. When does it end.
Once we reached the top of the 2nd switchback we were done. We were probably at 9700 ft when we decided it wouldn’t be safe to go no further. Nothing gets you more down when you’re 300 feet from the summit. We felt defeated but there was no time to sulk, I knew we should start hiking down to lower elevation.
Our peak for the day
Going down was even more tough than going up. We now have gravity helping us down and this was proving to be difficult for our knees. The trail was also very loose so that made it even more precarious when going down. We slipped and fell many times down the trail. Our legs were starting to tighten up from all the hiking we did and our pace slowed to almost half. It was a slow crawl going back down but at least we were feeling better. After about 3 hours of going downhill we made it back to the gate. Relieved for the hike to be done. The best feeling is taking off your hiking boots and putting on some sandals.
We’ll be back again…
So my goal for the summer is to bag the three 10,000ft peaks in SoCal. A doable goal but will I have time for it….