Mount Baldy, 10,064', out & back on Baldy Bowl/Ski Hut Trail, 8.39 miles RT, 3,980' +/-, May 18, 2018

We were due for a visit to the top of good old Mount Baldy, so I took the day off on Friday to do it.  This was our 3rd time to summit this mountain, and it’s always a nice challenge.  We took our usual route up on the Baldy Bowl/Ski Hut Trail with a short break once we arrived at the Ski Hut.  Then on we went through the Baldy Bowl boulder field and up through the steep switchbacks making our way through the pine forest and the short reprieve at the saddle.  Then it was onto the manzanita maze of use trails to find our way to the top.  Thankfully, the markers are all still intact since the last time I was up in December which made finding the trail easier.  About a half a mile from the summit we stopped to chat and take a breather with a fellow hiker named Karen and her beautiful chocolate lab, Frankie.  For the rest of the way, Frankie became my hiking buddy as she went back and forth between Karen and I.  I could feel her nudge my leg with her head from time to time as if to say, “Come on lady!  Hurry it up!”  Soon enough, my husband who was ahead of us reached the summit and I was not too far behind along with Frankie and a moment later, Karen.  No one was at the top but us!  It was beautiful!  The weather could not have been more perfect; sunshine and a nice breeze.  I wandered around the empty summit taking my photos then sat for a bit to have a bite to eat and and chat with Karen and a few other hikers who had arrived.  Eventually, all of them including Frankie headed down the Devil’s Backbone.  Octavio and I were the only ones on top of Mount Baldy for a while.  How cool is that considering the amount of traffic this summit sees!  Soon it was time to begin our journey back.  Instead of going down the Devil’s Backbone which has been our usual route, we opted for a change of scenery and decided to head back on the Baldy Bowl/Ski Hut Trail.  We’d never seen it in the opposite direction before and although it’s quite steep, we wanted to give it a go.  So down we went.  The trek down was much harder than it was going up and definitely much steeper then going down the Devil’s Backbone.  Thankfully, the scenery is so beautiful, it kind of takes your mind off your aching knees!  We slowly made our way down trying as best we could to be careful not to slip on the sections of loose rock.  We also had to be mindful not to lose the trail going through the manzanita maze just before reaching the saddle, as I’ve heard stories of people going off trail here and ending up in the bowl where there’s wreckage from a plane crash and then they had to climb their way back out.  Finally, we made it back to the ski hut.  We took a break here to rest our legs.  As we sat, a very bold Stellar Jay came up pretty close to me to scope out my food situation.  What a bum!  You can tell the birds and also the chipmunks up at the summit are spoiled from so many people hiking here and feeding them their snacks.  After our last rest, we began the final descent.  It felt so good when we got back to Falls Road and I looked back up at the mountain we had just climbed.  I wondered, as I often do, how we even make it up such a steep climb.  I guess somehow you just do!  It was another wonderful day on a most beautiful mountain!

 Walking up Falls Road.  The clouds were nestled in the lower mountains.

Walking up Falls Road.  The clouds were nestled in the lower mountains.

 The sun coming up over where we were about to climb.

The sun coming up over where we were about to climb.

 And off we go on the Baldy Bowl/Ski Hut Trail.

And off we go on the Baldy Bowl/Ski Hut Trail.

 Onward and upward all the way.  Not many breaks on this route.

Onward and upward all the way.  Not many breaks on this route.

 Snow Plant.  First time seeing these guys.  They're very interesting little plants.

Snow Plant.  First time seeing these guys.  They're very interesting little plants.

 Helpful signage to let you know you're on the right track.

Helpful signage to let you know you're on the right track.

 A beautiful climb.

A beautiful climb.

 There are some spots with rocks to negotiate.  (Those will be fun later coming down.)

There are some spots with rocks to negotiate.  (Those will be fun later coming down.)

 Such an impressive looking mountain.

Such an impressive looking mountain.

 Almost at the Sierra Club's San Antonio Ski hut.

Almost at the Sierra Club's San Antonio Ski hut.

 A nice spot for a quick break.

A nice spot for a quick break.

 Leaving the Ski Hut and on we go through the Baldy Bowl.

Leaving the Ski Hut and on we go through the Baldy Bowl.

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 Heading into the pine forest.

Heading into the pine forest.

 After we made our way up the steep switchbacks, we arrived at the saddle.  This spot gave us a quick breather before continuing onto the manzanita maze.

After we made our way up the steep switchbacks, we arrived at the saddle.  This spot gave us a quick breather before continuing onto the manzanita maze.

 A nice view from the saddle.

A nice view from the saddle.

 Looking back at the trail.  It's so steep, you can't even see it, but it's there going down.  :)

Looking back at the trail.  It's so steep, you can't even see it, but it's there going down.  :)

 And now the fun begins!

And now the fun begins!

 If you have to climb high, it's nice to be surrounded by all this beauty.

If you have to climb high, it's nice to be surrounded by all this beauty.

 The views.

The views.

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 This section is more like a series of use trails going up.  Luckily, you'll find markers along the way to keep you on the right path.

This section is more like a series of use trails going up.  Luckily, you'll find markers along the way to keep you on the right path.

 All trails pretty much go to the same place... straight up!

All trails pretty much go to the same place... straight up!

 Still climbing.

Still climbing.

 Yup... still climbing.  The last half mile is a butt kicker with that altitude.

Yup... still climbing.  The last half mile is a butt kicker with that altitude.

 My husband up ahead of me.  He's almost at the top.  You can see the marker to the left.

My husband up ahead of me.  He's almost at the top.  You can see the marker to the left.

 Made it to the summit!  The views are fantastic!  Looking over at Mt. Baden Powell in this direction.

Made it to the summit!  The views are fantastic!  Looking over at Mt. Baden Powell in this direction.

 No one up here today.

No one up here today.

 The summit sign.

The summit sign.

 Close up of the sign.  

Close up of the sign.  

 That bump on the right is the way to Devil's Backbone.  

That bump on the right is the way to Devil's Backbone.  

 Another view towards Mt. Baden-Powell.

Another view towards Mt. Baden-Powell.

  Cucamonga, Timber, Ontario Peaks all visible today.


Cucamonga, Timber, Ontario Peaks all visible today.

 Rocks make a nice wind shelter, but today we had perfect weather and a nice breeze.

Rocks make a nice wind shelter, but today we had perfect weather and a nice breeze.

 Looking over at West Baldy.  We should take a walk over there one of these days.

Looking over at West Baldy.  We should take a walk over there one of these days.

 I may have gotten a little picture happy with all the summit photos.  :)

I may have gotten a little picture happy with all the summit photos.  :)

 My husband looks like he's standing on the moon above a sea of clouds.

My husband looks like he's standing on the moon above a sea of clouds.

 These guys are such little pigs!  Bumming the snacks!

These guys are such little pigs!  Bumming the snacks!

 Time to head down.  We went back down the way we came up on the Baldy Bowl/Ski Hut Trail.  We usually take Devil's Backbone down, but wanted to try a new descent for something different.

Time to head down.  We went back down the way we came up on the Baldy Bowl/Ski Hut Trail.  We usually take Devil's Backbone down, but wanted to try a new descent for something different.

 Back through the manzanita maze.

Back through the manzanita maze.

 These views are great.

These views are great.

 I love how the trees are twisted from all the weather they see up here.

I love how the trees are twisted from all the weather they see up here.

 There's this flat section that always makes me wonder why this is here when the rest of the trail is pretty much a straight up climb.

There's this flat section that always makes me wonder why this is here when the rest of the trail is pretty much a straight up climb.

 Don't get to see these trees at sea level!

Don't get to see these trees at sea level!

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 Rock, rock and more rock.

Rock, rock and more rock.

 My husband looking up at me as I make my way down.

My husband looking up at me as I make my way down.

 Passing one of the markers.  Still on the right track.

Passing one of the markers.  Still on the right track.

 We took our jackets off after we'd dropped down a bit in elevation.  It was getting warm.

We took our jackets off after we'd dropped down a bit in elevation.  It was getting warm.

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 Getting a bit closer to the saddle.

Getting a bit closer to the saddle.

 It really just kind of goes on and on, doesn't it?  :)

It really just kind of goes on and on, doesn't it?  :)

 Just before the saddle, it flattens out a little bit and your knees get a very short break.

Just before the saddle, it flattens out a little bit and your knees get a very short break.

 Almost back to the pine forest.

Almost back to the pine forest.

 And now we start down into the switchbacks through the pine forest.

And now we start down into the switchbacks through the pine forest.

 Very pretty.  Very steep.

Very pretty.  Very steep.

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 Almost back at the Baldy Bowl.

Almost back at the Baldy Bowl.

 Looking back from where we were in the pine forest.

Looking back from where we were in the pine forest.

 Baldy Bowl.

Baldy Bowl.

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 Climbing across the boulder field.

Climbing across the boulder field.

 I love this section.

I love this section.

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 The ski hut is tucked away in the trees straight ahead.

The ski hut is tucked away in the trees straight ahead.

 Approaching ski hut.

Approaching ski hut.

 Lots of water running in the spring.

Lots of water running in the spring.

 Took a break at the ski hut to rest the legs and also enjoyed watching a Stellar Jay bum our snacks.  He was not a shy bird!

Took a break at the ski hut to rest the legs and also enjoyed watching a Stellar Jay bum our snacks.  He was not a shy bird!

 If you need to do your business, the Sierra Club has an outhouse behind the Ski Hut.  It's a nice little amenity and they even have hand sanitizer.  You can leave a donation in the box if you like.

If you need to do your business, the Sierra Club has an outhouse behind the Ski Hut.  It's a nice little amenity and they even have hand sanitizer.  You can leave a donation in the box if you like.

 After our little rest, we continue down.

After our little rest, we continue down.

 The views never really stop.

The views never really stop.

 Hard to believe we were all the way up there.

Hard to believe we were all the way up there.

 The clouds are still settled in between the mountains.

The clouds are still settled in between the mountains.

 Finally!  We're at the junction of the Baldy Bowl Trail and Falls Road.

Finally!  We're at the junction of the Baldy Bowl Trail and Falls Road.

 One last look while heading down Falls Road back to the car.  Bye bye Mt. Baldy!  See you again real soon!  <3

One last look while heading down Falls Road back to the car.  Bye bye Mt. Baldy!  See you again real soon!  <3