Hiking Big Baldy
Big Baldy lies in front of the towering and imposing Mt. Timpanogos. Truth be told, it looks just like a small rounded hill or knoll. However, it in fact rises about 3500 feet above the valley floor. The first impression to the average person is that it's not even worth the effort to hike it, but it's actually a wonderful hike and it's awe-inspiring to be staring straight up the front of Timp from the saddle between Big Baldy and Timp.
A friend and I decided to do it for a Saturday morning hike. I wanted to be at the Dry Canyon TH by 8am, so we could be up and down Baldy before the heat got too oppressive. Unfortunately, my friend overslept and we hit the trail two and a half hours later than I had expected. Not the way to start a hike! It was already around 90 degrees, and this was only the beginning of what was to come.
About five minutes into the hike, I could tell my hiking partner wasn't feeling well, and then she told me that not only did she feel sick like a dog, but she didn't have any water in her Camelbak. I suggested that we forget about the hike and try it again another day, but she was insistent on continuing. I have a three liter Camelbak, so I figured the two of us could make due with sharing.
I'd never seen Big Baldy, Little Baldy and the surrounding gullies looking so lush and green. It was gorgeous! We made pretty good time until my friend suddenly stopped and promptly threw up on the trail. I was adamant about turning back, but she said that we had already gone a mile and a half and she said that she was feeling better so she wanted to continue. I called her crazy, but she had made it clear that she wasn't turning around. I decided that it was best to slow down the pace or I'd end up carrying her back to the car. This did drag the hike out for an extra hour and a half or so, but the whole time she insisted we continue.
As we made it to the saddle where what I believe is the Great Western Trail meets the trail leading up to Baldy we saw our first patches of snow. It gives you a perspective that you can't see of Timp unless you're on the saddle. Leading to the saddle are the familiar sights of terraces and avalanche debris fields that are hidden by Baldy from the valley floor. It was a very impressive sight.
This is the avalanche debris field found between the base of Timp and just south of the saddle leading to the Big Baldy summit. The familiar CCC terraces on the west base of Mt. Timpanogos.
My hiking friend Holly, despite my concerns, began eating handfuls of the stale snow, as she wanted something cold since it was now in the upper 90's. We still had plenty of water but she just went crazy in the snow patches. I'm seriously surprised that she didn't contract anything. After she had her fill of snow, we began the ascent up the backside of Baldy. The foliage on the east side was still brown, making the already faint trail nearly impossible to follow. We lost the trail and wound up bushwhacking for a quarter of a mile from a gully to a ridge where we found the trail and reached the summit about four hours after leaving the trailhead. After about twenty minutes of pictures and lunch, we began our descent where Holly once again stocked up on stale snow. She preferred it over my pure Camelbak water. I learned a lot about her on this hike, haha.
We made it down in a little under two hours, where, upon reaching the parking lot, Holly swore never to do that hike again, and I silently swore to myself to never take Holly on a hike again!
The last 100 meters to the summit of Big Baldy looking west. Just relaxing and taking in the excellent views of Utah Valley
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