June 16, 2008

Hike Report: Mt. Baden-Powell

You can click on the picture to enlarge it, but it still won't be as big as the actual mountain.
This is one of the most popular day hikes in southern California, even though it's eight miles round-trip with almost 3,000 feet of elevation gain. The trailhead parking lot (elevation 6600') was filled with dozens of vehicles when David, Eddie and I arrived at 9:30 Saturday morning. The weather was warm, although I did have a long-sleeved shirt with me in case it was cold or windy at the top.

The trail begins its upward climb right away, passing through a few oak trees, but quickly ascending into a forest of pine. There is a small spring almost halfway up, but not much water was flowing. On a hike here twenty years ago, I remember drinking the water straight from the spring, but the lack of flow, combined with increasing concerns about water-borne germs, kept me from doing so this time. Instead, I took a drink from my water bottle and snacked on some trail mix, which, fortunately, helped ward off the wooziness I was experiencing from the altitude.

As the trail continued, views of the Mojave Desert to the north began to appear through the trees.

I admit it:  I took this picture on the way DOWN, but it fits into the story better here.
Approaching the summit, the trail passed through lodgepole pines and whitebark pines, which are scattered across the mountaintop. In some of the shady spots, a few small patches of snow remained from the winter's storms. They won't be there much longer.

All these views are looking north.  Looking south, the view is mostly of L.A. haze.
The most prominent of the trees on top is this one, which is estimated to be 1,500 years old. A sign nearby states that this tree is named after "Wally," scout leader who devoted a lot of time and energy to maintain the trail. (Apparently no one thought to ask the tree what it thought about receiving a new name after 1,500 years.)

1,500 years of winter blizzards, spring lightning and summer heat, and global warming may finish this tree off in another 20.
The weather on top was warm and calm. Several dozen people (including at least two scout groups) were on top, eating lunch, enjoying the view. My hiking buddies and I found a quiet shady spot to eat our lunch, but a small group of adults with an apparent need to be as loud as possible sat down right next to us. We finished eating and went over to examine the monument to Baden-Powell, the founder of Boy Scouts. We also watched some gliders flying around the summit.

Pictures from mountaintops are often fairly boring, conveying none of the excitement of actually being on top of a mountain, being able to see for hundreds of miles. Nevertheless, here is one shot I took from near the top of Mt. Baden-Powell, elevation 9399'

We actually saw an airplane fly under us from up here.

More pictures from our trip (including pictures of me and my hiking buddies) can be found by clicking on the "my photos" link in the right hand column.

1 comment:

Adam Gonnerman said...

I envy you. Here in NJ there are places to hike, but there's driving time involved, and that's time I just can't seem to find. I keep saying "Maybe this weekend," but something always seems to come up.

Great pictures!