Hiking Mt. Baldy

I didn’t get to post anything yesterday because I spent the day high-up in the clouds, climbing Mount Baldy. It’s about a 45 minute drive outside of Los Angeles and an all day adventure. Modern Hiker has all the logistical details and maps HERE. For me and my friends this is more of a training hike for Mt. Whitney, so we brought along our big backpacks and weighed it down with water. It was quite a challenge.

The hike begins as a fire road and then becomes a steep uphill trek. On big hikes like this one it’s easiest to focus on the next “marker” and not the top (since it’s so far away). Our first marker is the midway point to the top, which is the Sierra Clubs green cabin. When we started it was a tiny dot… and we inched closer and closer.

.. until finally we reached this cabin. For a small donation you can use their chairs to rest and fill up on water. There is often a guide staying at this cabin so you can learn something about the mountain and ask questions. They even have an outhouse. This cabin is a great place to rest.

I was told that specific Sierra Club guides have a key to this cabin, and you can event pay a little money to stay here over night if you wish. The above photo shows the sleeping quarters and the view from the cabin. On the first floor of the cabin is a sink for getting fresh water, cooking, and doing laundry. In the main room clothes were drying on lines.

This was just a quick resting point for us, as we had to keep moving. Shortly after the above photo was taken, we ran into a rattle snake. Thankfully I was in the rear and didn’t have to see the snake, as my heart would have leapt out of my chest and jumped off the cliff we were hiking.

It was quite steep, and reminded me of the last scene of the Sound Of Music as they climb through the Alps (except we obviously weren’t being chased by Nazis).

We took a short detour so we could take some fun photos by the ledge that we had been climbing toward. Getting to the top of this ledge was the next “marker” in my mind.

From that ledge, the next big push was to get to the top, which for a while was so far away it was completely out of sight. It’s quite disheartening to not even be able to see the top. But higher and higher we went, just as breathing became much harder. Every breath was quickly followed by another. And I had to take short pauses every few steps. I might be slow, but I kept moving with my mind on the prize.

Finally, we made it to the top! We could see clouds (behind me in the photo) where lightening was striking. We had a quick lunch (as you never know if the clouds could suddenly shift towards you), caught our breath, took some photos and then headed on our way.

As hard as climbing up a mountain is, climbing down to me is SO much scarier. Gravity is pushing you down the hill, and I find my footing gets quite shaky. I have a very real fear of heights which I’ve been working so hard to eliminate. Unfortunately, I let my fear get the best of me as we hiked along the path that dropped down on either side. I had to pull myself back together and just get through it. I know that in order to learn/grow you have to do some scary/hard things, and doing this hike really helped me, despite the trouble I had in the moment.

We finally reached our next marker, the ski lift and restaurant. Here we took a restroom break, ordered some food and put our feet up. While two members of the group continued on and took the fire road to the bottom, me (and my badly blistered feet) opted for the $10 lift ride down to the car. I know we won’t have that option on Whitney, but I’m so glad I took the ride down on this hike.

Mt. Whitney is in two weeks for me, so I have to really kick it into gear. Thankfully I’m funemployed (for a little while) so I have the time to get some good hikes in.

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