Old Times & Old Friends....
Well here we go again with another epic hike people!! This time on my side is once again my home boy Chris "Sledge-Hamma" Williams and a newcomer to the Cali hike scene....a friend from yester years past, Jeremiah "Zeke Dog" Shaver (Just don't call him Schafer). He was in Vegas doing some training and he had the weekend off so he decided to come down and roll out with us to Mt. Baldy. Side note we were all cops together and stationed at Spangdahlem AFB in Germany.
So it was quite easy getting to Mt. Baldy from the 14 Highway. We took the 210 then hit Old Baldy road all the way into Mt. Baldy. We started our hike at the ski hut service road instead of Manker flats like most people do. This ended up being a mistake!! The road was proly at a 40-50% grade, man it was friggin rough. We stopped at least 3-4 times because we were already wore out. Once we got to the part of the trail that leveled out it was pretty easy and straight foward to Baldy Notch.
We stopped a few times to throw rocks down the side and then we found a pond and threw more rocks in the water....we have an obsession with those things. It was approx 2 miles from the parking lot to Baldy Notch. It was cool because at the top you stand at 7K feet and they have 2 restaurants and some good pic taking spots. Note there is also a huge Bell that people ring if they reached the summit....we would be ringing that bell later!!
The Devils Backbone
Once we get to the Notch we grab a paper map provided by the mountain. We look at our options and decide to take the route more traveled. We took the ski slope up to the Devils Backbone. Well again this was another mistake because this slope was pretty sttep. There was a detour that hit the trail we should of taken in the 1st place. So we decided to take the easier route to the Devils DickBone.
The Backbone is a ridge trail that connects Mt. Harwood and then on to Mt. Baldy. The trail is really skinny and the views from either side are nohing short on amazing!! Every view we've had so far on the trip has been gorgeous. You can see the Mojave desert on one side and on the other you can see LA, Long Beach, and even Catalina Island when you get to the summit.
Jeremiah decides to be a crazy man and go out on the ledge of these two rocks. This dood was scaring the crap out of me. He thought since he is a TACP guy he has to prove that he has a bigger set of balls than us....actually I think he liked the funny feeling you get in your stomach and butthole when you get close to the edge like that, not me!!
On to the top After we soaked in all views from the Backbone we headed to our final destination, the Summit (10,064ft) of Mt. Baldy the tallest peak in the Angeles Forest. From the backbone to till about 1/2 mile to the top was easy going. The last half mile was like being in a torcher rack. We stopped a many of times to rest and drink water. After the grueling half mile we finally reached the top. To my surprise there was a lot of people of the summit. The trail was pretty packed as well, with old people which was surprising to me. We accomplished a pretty tough hike and we totally enjoyed our 30 to 45 minutes at the top. The views up here are undescribable!! A 360 Panaoramic view is so breath taking words can't describe it. This is why we do these hikes....mother nature is soooo amazing!!
It took us 4 hours and 6 miles to get to the summit from the parking lot. It was no easy task either.
The Hard & Hurtful Way BackThe views were great the feeling of bagging such a great peak was something I can't quite put into words. Then you add the fact that I did it with two of my closest friends it adds to the whole experience. The way home was tough and very demanding. I have a torn labrum in my hip so every step down trying to stop my inertia forward was painful. Chris has runners knee and it turns into a hamburger on the way down. Miah is from Georgia and his acclimation to the extreme elevation change was making him sick. At one point we were so tired, hungry, thirsty, and ready to quit we started to run down the whole trail. I'd say we ran a good 1.5 miles and finally got to ring the bell at the Notch....what a relief!! After much debate on whether or not to take the ski lift down from the notch, it was 10 bux a person and we're cheap so we didn't. Getting back to the Element in the parking lot was such a joy I had had euphoric emotions all thru my body. We packed up and finished our day by eating at Mt. Baldy cafe down in Mt. Baldy....the best friggin burger I had that week!! If you get a chance this is a must hike, you won't regret it. I've been wanting to do this hike for over a year and I finally got it under belt with my best buds!!
Videos*Coming soon, have to upload to you tube. There might be foul language be warned
PART 1: Begining of Hike -
PART 2: Looking back toward Baldy Notch -
PART 3: Heading to the Devils Backbone -
PART 4: On the Bone *Foul Language, mute* -
PART 5: About 1/4 Mile from summit -
PART 6: Summit Baby!! -