Saturday, July 28, 2012

CALIFORNIA: MOUNT BADEN POWELL

Who in his or her right mind gets up at 4:00 a.m. to climb a mountain?  You have to be a little crazy to do that, but no one has ever accused the Cannons of being anything but crazy.

Our target this morning was 9,407-foot-tall Mt. Baden-Powell, named after Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of the World Scouting Movement.  The mountain is part of California's San Gabriel Mountain range, and the trailhead is a few miles above Wrightwood.

Bob and I started hiking around 6:00 a.m., just before sunrise.  It was awesome watching the sun's golden rays spread across the valley and mountain.





There was only one bench on the entire hike, and it was about a mile up the mountain.  I figure it's there for OLD people who can't make it to the top.  That may be me one day, but not yet.
Isn't Bob cute?


  
       Can you see the heart in the trees on the left?          Here is a close-up:

There were some places that were fairly steep (the picture on the left doesn't really do it justice), and it reminded me of the super steep and super long escalator in Budapest's subway.  It would have been nice to have one of those here.
At the end of July, most of the pretty flowers have started to disappear. A few weeks ago, this relatively rare snow plant would have been beautiful:
 Another wilting snow plant, surprising in its solitude:
There were a few other flowers here and there, but it was pretty sparse:


We got to the final two-tenths of a mile just before 8:00 a.m.:

View over the edge:

We stopped to take some pictures of the Wally Waldron Tree, a Limber Pine estimated to be about 1500 years old and thought to be the oldest tree in all of the San Gabriels.  A nearby plaque identifies Wally as someone who was "untiring in his efforts" in behalf of the Boy Scouts of America.

This is a tree with its own personality, much like the Whomping Willow in the Harry Potter books.  It seems almost sentient:

 The summit has a nice monument to Lord Baden-Powell:

 . . . and the obligatory U. S. Geological Survey marker:

We had seen one group of campers about mid-way up the trail, but they were just getting up when we passed by.  We were the first to make the summit today, so we had to take our own picture: 

Looking down at the trail from the summit:

 The Wally Waldron tree on the right:

On our way down, we took a detour to Lamel Springs, about 1.5 miles from the trail head:

It was beautiful--much greener and more lush than any other area on the trail:
 



As far as we could tell, the entire area was fed by this tiny little spring:

We saw a LOT of hikers going up as we were coming down.  When we had parked our car at 6:00 a.m., there were only three cars in the whole parking lot. When we got back down to the bottom around 10:00 (we added on about a half hour to our descent because of the detour), there were quite a few cars. It's an eight-mile round-trip hike, and I'm glad we weren't getting started just as the temperature was going up.

It is nice to know that there is true wilderness in the heart of Southern California.  I couldn't even get cell phone reception on the peak. 
It's also nice to go hiking with Bob.  I know I slow him down a bit, but he is a good sport.  He also carries my food and water in his backpack, so I don't have to carry anything.  Isn't he amazing?
And to make a good day even better, look who came to visit us tonight:



4 comments:

  1. Other than that 4 am thing, looks like a fabulous hike.
    I love the sprinkler in action shot, too. I know my grandkids would love me to make one.

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  2. We got started hiking at 5:39 a.m. So nice to be on the mountain alone on the way up and much less fun to pass the legions of people on the way up as we were going down. Nice to have a sexy hiking companion to boot.

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  3. Oh, this makes me miss the mountains. What a great way to start the day.

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