Day 34/35 – 0 / 369
After two zero days in Wrightwood, one to let the snow finish falling and one for it to melt off the trail, we were off.
A beautiful warm morning brought us fast trail conditions for the first couple of hours. But we were facing our next climb, the one to the summit of Mount Baden-Powell.
The worst part about this section was that we were at the same elevation as halfway up the climb, but would have to drop all the way down to the highway at the bottom before we could start the climb.
Being a Sunday morning, the trail was full of day-hikers. It was quite entertaining to have to pull aside at every switchback to let the unladen pass by, plus answer all of their questions (“where are you going?”, “you’re going where?”, “how long will it take you?”, “you’re going where?”, etc.).
Since we were on the north face of the mountain, we hit snow about midway up. It was slushy, so the feet were wet quickly. By the time we were 3/4 of the way up, a few of the day hikers were sliding their way back down, some not so gracefully.
After a few hours of climbing, we had lunch at 9,399′ amongst the clouds.
Then it was time to make it down to find a place to camp. Instead of heading back down the way we ascended, we turned left and hiked westward along the ridgelines. At that elevation, the snow was still deep from the days before. Luckily the trail was easy to follow, thanks to those hikers who headed out as soon as the snow quit falling.
Unfortunately, the dry socks that we put on at lunch were no longer dry. Good thing we wear wool.
Where the trail ran directly on or next to the ridgeline, the drifts were still deep. Some hikers took detours around the drifts but trampled vegetation, but we stuck to the trail when we could. That meant post-holing, as Jennifer demonstrates here.
Needless to say, the snow slowed our progress. We were hoping to get another 10 miles or so and hopefully below the snow line, but could only manage another 7 before we stopped at a campsite.
The campsite wasn’t our first choice by any stretch as it’s one place that the bears are known to come looking for food. But we didn’t see any prints in the snow and we were beat. Yogi could come shopping if he wished.
Our soaking wet feet kept us cold, so we were fed and in our bags long before sunset.
Day 36 – 15 / 384
Frozen shoes. As in breaking the ice in them and the laces so we could put them on. At least our socks from the morning before were almost dry.
Needless to say, we rushed to break camp and get moving. Luckily the slushy snow froze overnight. On the downside, the slush froze overnight, making for some very slippery steps. But it was short-lived as we dropped below the snow line a little more than a mile down the trail.
But the deep marine layer was still pouring over the San Gabriel mountains, keeping us cold and damp.
The rest of the day was climbing to descend, descending to climb and often climbing just for climbing’s sake.
Still beat and drained from the day before, we both had a bad day. One of those days full of internal dialogues best not shared. Never was there a negative external dialog other than a quick glance at the next stretch of trail and a “you’ve got to be kidding me” or words to that effect.
We kept pushing.
Then this happened.
Half a mile later, camp and sleep.
It was still a good day.
Day 37 – 16 / 400
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