Sunday, April 28, 2013

* Howdy Baldy

Today I learned that Mt. Baldy is exactly that - bald!

My heroic hiking friends R & J, and I started our hike up Mt. Baldy at 6100 feet. Inspired by the movie The Way, I recently watched, I wished everyone "Buen Camino!".

We stopped for a brief break at the ski lodge at 8200 feet, to have some light snacks, and to use the facilities. The tiny building surrounding the hole in the ground looked very cute from the outside:

However, inside this little building lurked the worst kind of olfactory violence monster. It crushed your nose, and your whole respiratory system without pity while feeding your visual tract with one of the most spectacular views through its minuscule window:

The climb up Mt. Baldy was steep and slippery with all the loose rock. I had vivid flashbacks to my Inca Trail Hike with every muscle waking up to the familiar pains, and just at those moments  of pain, I felt the cool breeze of the mountain soothe me just like a mother blowing on your scraped knee while dabbing it with iodine to make it better...

We made peak in slightly less than 4hrs. at 10,064 feet! And, of course, celebrated with Cookies and Beer!

It is not hard to see why this mountain is called "Baldy"; there are not enough plants at the top to even accomodate a combover:

We took a different path to get down, and the large stone steps I encountered on the way once again flooded my head (and my knees) with memories from my Inca Trail Hike. Also, I saw my first California snow!

Most of the hike down was fairly comfortable except for two parts where we had to carefully walk through seemingly narrow paths with VERY loose gravel. It felt so treacherous that one wrong move, and you would be the larger rock rolling in a rockslide to the foot of the mountain.

I was incredibly flattered when someone going the opposite way stopped and said to me "This is not your first time on Baldy, is it?". I must've looked like I knew what I was doing. I guess beer helped create that image of confidence. :)

We finally made our way into the Top Of The Notch restaurant and had giant burgers/sandwiches with much needed french fries. Purchased our tickets for the lift, and took the 10 min. ride down to get back to our starting point.

This lift ride was new to me as well. I had been in bigger and enclosed lifts up the Australian Alps but being exposed to open air felt more exhilarating.

Thank you, my dear friends J and R! I learn so much from both of you, and you make every hike so much fun!


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