Amy and I had a very rare quiet weekend. Felt funny not to be running off to a volleyball tournament or traveling to Berkeley to see Maddie. With our trip to Colorado for backpacking coming up in about a month we thought it would be a great opportunity to get out into the mountains and do a pre-hike, getting our legs into better hiking shape. Mikey came along and was super excited to join us (at least in the beginning).
We piled into the truck and left home with the idea of an early start. We never had been on the trail up to Mt Baldy but thought it might be quiet since we were looking at about 9-11 miles (depending on the route) with 4,000 ft of elevation gain. The idea was to get to the trailhead between 7:30 and 8 in the morning. We arrived at 7:45 and were quickly shocked with the number of people parked getting ready to head up the trail we thought was going to be so quiet. So much for the idea of being in the wilderness by ourselves. I think we found one of the very last parking spots. After quickly getting our gear together and Mikey loaded up with his water and food we headed for the pit toilet at the trailhead. We needed to use the bathroom before starting out but this meant standing in line for the ONE bathroom for all these people. It took us 30 minutes just to get to the front of the line….UGH!! At 8:15 we finally found ourselves walking up the paved road to the trail. We got to the San Antonio Falls which surprisingly still had a flow of water and then turned on the dirt road we would take to the top.
We stopped by the Baldy Lodge for a quick refill on water for Mikey. Then it was off towards the top. This is when we encounter the human Highway. We couldn’t believe how many people we were passing on the way up, most struggling with the length and elevation of the trail. Devil’s backbone was a highlight of the trail but not nearly has gnarly as some had made it out to be. This is when Mikey started to fade. He seemed to crave the shade and was definitely up for breaks when they presented themselves to us.
We made it to the top at about 11:45. We actually found a small group of trees with shade that allowed us some privacy. After an hour of relaxing and refueling we were ready for the trip home. There was a quick trip to the top that we took so we could say we made the summit. When we arrived we were blown away with the masses of people. There were easily one hundred people on the top. So needless to say we were not inclined to stay around even though the view was pretty cool.
It was 4.5 miles back to the car. This was the shorter part of the loop and it was definitely STEEP!! We were ready to be done so the pace was quick. Mikey was showing signs of some serious fatigue. He was behind most of the time and needed some coaxing to stay up with us. He would charge into the lead at times when he saw some shade and promptly lay down hoping he could talk us into a break. We did find a small glowing stream where we dosed him with cool mountain water. This definitely put a spring back in his step for a little while.
We got back to the truck at 2:30 and I think Mikey was the most relieved. Definitely a great day to be out in the mountains and will help us for Colorado in a little more than a month but way to many people to give us the solitude we love.
P.S. The next day both Amy and I were very sore from all the downhill. We both thought we were in shape but maybe not for all the hiking at elevation. Mikey slept for the next 3 days!! 😂