It’s my 2nd time climbing Mt. Baldy. I remember that it was a difficult hike last year. Mt. San Antonio as it’s legally named, towering at 10,064 ft., is the highest peak of the San Gabriel mountains and Los Angeles County. This is the 3rd peak of the 6 pack of peaks challenge.
What better way to celebrate Memorial Day weekend than to hike this beast of a mountain. Our theme was to wear any shade of blue shirt and a USA flag to commemorate the occasion.
We all met at Manker flats. An Adventure Pass is needed to park here. Lots of familiar faces and along with new hikers joining the group totaling more that 50 good people. We were greeted with red, white, and blue leis. Thanks to the organizers, Ricardo Cruz and Maglory Maza of 3H (Hiking for Health and Happiness), for creating this event. Sergio Cruz leads the huge group while the rest of the 3H support team keeps the middle and the back of the line safe and intact.
Our journey begins when Ricardo gave instructions to the group in Spanish with Melevy Osorio-Sorto doing the translations. Hector Martinez made it in time before the fun starts. I was also surprised to see Sergio Garcia. He brought Flat Drew, a kid’s (Andrew) cut out drawing project which he will soon write Flat Drew’s adventures for school. Also met Richard Baratta, Janiece Cordova, and Alfredo Alvarez, who are hiking earlier than the group and will meet us at the peak.
Our hike starts at the entrance of the Falls Road and it’s all uphill from there. We then passed the area where we can see the San Antonio Falls from afar and we took group photos. We walked a little bit more on Baldy Road’s winding fire road until we reached Baldy Notch where the ski lift and Top of the Notch restaurant is located. At 7,800 ft., we took a break and had our snacks. Other hikers in the area took our group photos near the old bell. After the hoopla, we then headed up the Turkey Shoot route. This was one of the 3 areas I struggled the most where my heart starts beating fast. Luckily, with all the training I had, I got better this time.
As the start of the Devils Backbone, we took a short break and took some more photos. While hiking the Devils Backbone, it reminded me of the hikers that plunge to their deaths as accidents during the winter season this year. As we reached the start of our accent to the peak, I looked up and saw the area where I struggled the hardest. I rested a lot between climbs, passed by hikers way much older than me. It was embarrassing. 😀 LoL This time, I did great. 🙂
Met all the gang up at the peak. Took our lite lunch and had a spicy vegan treat from Meredith Crane. Rested for a little bit and took a lot of photos. We even have a honey Jack Daniels, compliments from Patty Sanchez. The weather at the top quickly changes every minute from being warm and cold.
Before we headed back down, our final group photo was taken. I mean we were the loudest and the biggest bunch at the top. Maybe that’s why there was a drone above us. 😀 LoL
Sergio Cruz handed some pain relievers for hikers having leg and knee problems. Coming down from Mt. Baldy’s peak using the steep Baldy Bowl Trail was also the hardest part of this hike. It has a lot of slippery spots due to the steepness and the loose gravel. Hiking poles are definitely needed here. Hector had a huge cramp coming down which he already started to have coming up. Thanks to the help of Ricardo, Ramon Hortega, Ralph Mancia, Roberto Castanon, and others accompany him down the mountain. We stopped at the Sierra Club Ski Hut for a break.
We met a lot of hikers coming up this trail and I tell you that this the hardest trail going up the peak. As we head down back to the paved road, Maglory lead the rest of the hikers back to the parking lot.
While Michael Osborne, Thanh Doan, Sergio Garcia, and myself did our short bonus hike to the San Antonio Falls. Saw some climbers on the side of the waterfalls. The water was cold and even Sergio had his back wet while his photo was taken. Took a group photo and head on back to the parking lot where we me the rest of the 3H staff waiting for the last group to come down. We chatted a bit and stayed there until we saw Hector and the rest arrived. We congratulated everyone and said our goodbyes. This was a tough one with an elevation gain of 4,014 ft. and we all made it. Happy Memorial Day Weekend to everybody! 🙂