Thursday, December 27, 2012

Mt. Baldy in the snow

Very rarely do I get to take a "school trip" over winter break, but I was lucky to make it to Mt. Baldy yesterday with Shihan, class of 2011, who was home from college for the holidays. I laid in bed the night before listening to the rain, yearning to be in the mountains where it was a proper winter.  When I called around to see if anyone was interested in going up with me, Shihan was instantly excited.  Though he hasn't done much hiking, he just ran a marathon in about 2 hours and 50 minutes (qualifying for Boston!), so he has the lungs and legs to do it.  It was a tough trek to the peak, especially since we were post-holing after the Sierra Club hut, but the wind was relatively calm, and when the sun made it through the active clouds, it was downright balmy (does it have to be above freezing to be balmy?).  More than anything, it was a surreal glimpse into winter, as it coated all the desert plants with snow.

 Shihan makes his way up to the Sierra Club hut.

 Snow always makes an old trail seem new, but it can also lead to challenges in route finding.  The trail is there...somewhere.

 This rabbit seemed to know where it was going.

 We were in and out of clouds for most of the trip. Here the wisps cleared to reveal the cumulous clouds hanging in the valley.

 The final push to the peak

 We were joined at the top by another hiker, who was grateful to follow in our tracks and kind enough to take this photo.

 This sign marks the way least we think it does.

 Shihan refuels under this windswept tree.

 The Devil's Backbone is the hallmark of the descent from Baldy to the ski area.

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