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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Day 929: Mt. Baldy - Mt. San Antonio - Ski Hut Trail - San Antonio Falls - Baldy Bowl - Devils Backbone


Day #929 * Hike #1177 * New Track #917
Mt. Baldy - Mt. San Antonio - San Gabriel River Ranger District, CA
Angles National Forest
San Antonio Falls - Ski Hut Trail -Baldy Bow Trail - Devils Back Bone
Sunday June 2, 2013
My Tripometer: 7 Hours * 11.00 Miles * +4150 Feet


 Trailhead 5:15am  6160 Feet

Directions:
From the 210 Freeway take the Base Line Road exit and turn left.  About a quarter mile up, turn right on Padua Ave.  In about 2 miles turn right on Mt. Baldy Road and then follow Mt. Baldy Rd up the mountain for about 11.5 miles.  Park near the Manker Flat Campground.  You need an adventure pass and you can park anywhere off the side of the road as long as all tires are beyond the white street line.

Being that it was dark, it was hard to see where exactly I was.  Essentially, look for Falls Road as seen in the picture above.  I only really felt confident about this because I hiked from this spot about 5 years ago - well before the start of my 1000 Day adventure...

 San Antonio Falls 6424 Feet

I was wearing a headlamp for the first time.  The picture surprisingly came out pretty good by increasing the brightness and color.  The falls are about 3/8ths of a mile from the trailhead.

 Ski Hut Trailhead

About a quarter mile further up the road the unmarked path begins on your left.  Well, today there was a sign "Mt. Baldy Trail", but you cannot always depend on the sign being there.  From here, the strenuous increase of elevation begins...

 Begin to Climb...

 Don't forget to sign in...

 Sun rising behind me reflecting Baldy's Beauty...
(you can see the green ski hut if you look close)

 relentless uphill...

 Closing in on the Ski Hut...

 Almost there...

 Take a rest at this bench - Eat Something!

 I had a neighbor grazing in the grass above

 She didn't run off...

Ski Hut ~8300 Feet

It took me an hour and a half to climb about 2200 feet which covered 2.5 miles.  The high elevation was no problem for me but I did take the opportunity to eat some potato salad.

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 Chipmunks!

The next section gets quite confusing.  You will be entering the Baldy Bowl area - Baldy Bowl Trail.  The correctway to do this is to continue horizontal across the rocks into the forest where you will then meet up with a switchback trail.  However, being all alone up here, I forgot how to hike this part and I ended up climbing vertically...

 I climbed to these trees...

 across these rocks...

loose stone - trying to climb straight up
this is actually much harder than it looks...

 Eventually I give up and make my way across the bowl
(picture is looking back)

 I made it to the tree line and rejoined the trail...

 chipmunk

 the hardest part is over, just follow the trail

 this is the most level the trail ever was...

 looking back - high above the clouds

 officially on the Baldy Bowl Trail


 Final Stretch

 Rock Wind Breakers - The Summit

Highest Point in the San Gabriel's - Elevation 10,064 Feet

 Awesome Views

 Southwest to the Bear Canyon Trail

It was absolutely calm and in the low 60's at the peak today - a far cry from the low 30's and hail that I experienced last time.  Then, I lugged up the heavy overnight pack and the journey took me a good 4 hours+.  Today it took me about 3 hours to reach the peak.  Always be prepared because you never know what the weather is going to be like at 10,000 feet!

 The Devils Back Bone Trail

Last time I was hear I woke up at 6 am and there were several white mountain goat hanging out at the peak.  Amazing!  We trekked back down the long Bear Canyon Trail - 6 miles and 6000 feet of elevation decline.  Completely long and intense.  We staggered the cars to make that loop possible.

Others in our group took the easy way - Take the ski lifts up half the way and then hike the Devils Back Bone for the final ~2 miles +2000 Feet.  So, I decided to head back this way today.  Of course with no ski lift in operation, the journey would be something like 6+ miles back...

 Views...

 The Trail...

 Hidden campsite off to the left

 hiking...

 narrow ridge...

Check the snow reports.  In the winter, this pass is impassable unless you have the proper equipment - Forget about it!

 The ski lift...

 huh?

 heading lower...

 Everything is closed

 wrong way

So, I guess you are suppose to follow the road around the restaurant and then down.  However, I saw this sign - with nothing on it.  I followed it down and then it ended.  I decided to just slide down the side of this hill...

 I encountered the road below...

 passed this...

 the long road down

 a red truck passed me - only soul in sight...

 beneath a second ski lift

 I just got down hiking the rocky mound of earth!

 the ski hut above in the distance

 Almost done - whew!!!

San Antonio Falls

I made good time.  After a two hour drive back to Ventura, I was in time to pick my son up from school.  This was my first legit test for Whitney.  I passed.  More to come...

 



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