Hey everyone! This is definitely a late post but I have been really wanting to write about my experience hiking up the bowl at Mount Baldy and I finally have some time to write about it!!
About two weeks ago Padre and I set out for our first Baldy hike of the year. As I have mentioned in previous posts Mt. Baldy is my favorite place to hike so I was very happy we chose this hike to be our first big one of the year. Because it is winter time we knew there would be snow so we packed accordingly and prepared for beautiful views and a tough hike.
Shortly after we began our hike we ran into some ice and as we approached the Ski Hut we encountered a lot of snow!! Because there was so much snow I was hoping my dad would suggest us attempting the bowl. We had tried going up the bowl last year but the weather conditions were bad and there was low visibility so we decided to turn back. This time the sky was clear and it seemed like the perfect day to hike up the bowl.
As I had hoped, Padre asked if I wanted to try the bowl and I happily said yes! I assumed because this is the shortest path to the top it would be straightforward, easy and quick. Soon I found out I was very wrong. For someone who is experienced in this type of hiking, almost climbing, this is a great place to go, but for myself, this was completely new and terrifying!!
At the beginning of the trail I was calm and confident. I was hiking at a good pace and my dad kept asking me to slow down so I would not get too ahead. I was confused as to why he didn’t want me too far away from him but I quickly learned why. As we continued up, the slope became steeper, we became higher, and I became nervous. I did not realize or think about before we started how intimidating it would be to hike up the side of the mountain and see the world below you. We were at such a steep incline that any wrong move could send me tumbling down the bowl. Of course I had my proper equipment and I know how to catch myself from falling, but I have never been so scared on a hike before!!!
My breathing started to become heavy, my legs started to shake and my arms became tired from all the work I was doing. Part of me wanted this to be over, I was too scared to continue and too scared to turn back. We were so close to the top I knew I had to keep moving but I became so nervous even moving my foot an inch forward seemed impossible. Padre encouraged me to keep going and showed me how to properly move up the bowl. At times I thought I’d never make it up the bowl but finally after a long climb I made it to the top!! I have never been so relieved, I really thought I was going to fall off the mountain!!
After reaching the top of the bowl, we continued on the normal trail to summit and reached the peak about 15 minutes later. It was cold and windy at the top so we did not spend much time there. We headed back and while there was the option to slide down the bowl, which many people did do that day, I was nowhere ready to attempt that so we took the trail back to the Ski Hut.
As we approached the Ski Hut I saw a familiar face! We saw Sam who has hiked Mt. Baldy over 750 times! I had met him a couple years back but I was so happy to see him during this hike because I had just watched a video LA Times had made about him hiking up Baldy. I told him I had seen his video and he told me I was a good hiker. Seeing Sam after completing the bowl made me realize what I had really accomplished that day. Sam is an inspiration to many as he has hiked up Baldy so many times and is 78 years old! While I felt defeated that day, after talking with Sam I know that one day I will come back again and kick ass up the bowl and slide down it too. This hike taught me that while there are many times that I am scared and feel like I can’t finish something, if I keep working at it and put in my best effort I will always finish what I started.
written by @danny3402