Dawson Saddle to Mount Hawkins 8,925' and Throop Peak 9,138', 6 miles RT (1,480' +/-) December 3, 2017

My alarm went off at 4 am, but both of us were tired and needed more sleep.  I got up, fed the cat, gave him some playtime and then went back to bed.  About 6 am I woke up and knew if we didn’t hike we’d spend the day regretting it.  We suited up, grabbed the packs and headed out.  By 10:30 we were at the trailhead for Dawson Saddle, 7,901’.  This was the latest we’d ever started a hike, but at the higher elevation the air was chilly and the winds were about 30 to 35 mph.  I was glad we were starting off in the mid-morning sun.  Dawson Saddle is an absolutely beautiful trail.  It was built by the Boy Scouts in 1982.  My favorite section of this trail is going up over the ridge where the views are incredible on either side.  It’s also nicely graded so even though you’re climbing, you don’t really notice it much.  Soon we arrived at the junction for the PCT where you can take a left to Mount Burnham and Mount Baden-Powell, or you can follow it to the right and summit Throop Peak and Mount Hawkins.  We’d already done Throop over the summer, so our plan was to skip Throop and just stay on the PCT heading over to Mount Hawkins.  As the trail skirted around Throop, you could notice some fire damage.  It was still a very pretty trail and the views continued throughout the trek.  Eventually, we reached the fork where the PCT heads down or you can veer left to reach the rocky summit of Mount Hawkins.  Once at the summit we had nice 360 views all around.  We took a break to enjoy the solitude and crisp mountain air before heading back.  On the return, we passed by the use trail that heads up to Throop .  We decided since we were already here, why not check it out.  The trail was steep and faded in and out in spots, but it was just a short distance to the summit.  Right before the peak, the trail became well defined again and the plaque dedicated to Amos G. Throop became visible.  I think it may have been around 1:30 by this time, so we didn’t hang around for too long before heading back down.  We got back on the Dawson Saddle trail and continued another 1.9 miles before reaching our car.  After bagging two peaks in one day, sushi and sake seemed like a good idea.  It was a perfect ending to a lovely day.  

 Getting started up the Dawson Saddle trail.

Getting started up the Dawson Saddle trail.

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 Views from the ridge.

Views from the ridge.

 My favorite section of the trail.

My favorite section of the trail.

 A nice gradual ascent up.

A nice gradual ascent up.

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 Looking back at the desert.

Looking back at the desert.

 Junction with the PCT.

Junction with the PCT.

 Going around Throop to Mount Hawkins.

Going around Throop to Mount Hawkins.

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 We passed the use trail to go up Throop from the opposite side.

We passed the use trail to go up Throop from the opposite side.

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 The last push up to Mount Hawkins.

The last push up to Mount Hawkins.

 At the summit.

At the summit.

 Views from the top of Mount Hawkins.

Views from the top of Mount Hawkins.

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 After leaving Mount Hawkins, we headed back the way we came and decided to tackle this use trail up to Throop since it was on the way back.  It got a lot steeper as we went up.

After leaving Mount Hawkins, we headed back the way we came and decided to tackle this use trail up to Throop since it was on the way back.  It got a lot steeper as we went up.

 On top of Throop.

On top of Throop.

 Views from Throop looking at Baden-Powell.

Views from Throop looking at Baden-Powell.

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 Back at Dawson Saddle.

Back at Dawson Saddle.