Mount Baldy

     I decided to head to Rancho Cucamonga in San Bernardino County, California with the intent of hiking Mount San Antonio, or better known as Mount Baldy. I went in early July where temperatures were mid-seventies with clear skies and little wind even at the peak. I took a traditional backpack, a couple of snacks, a hydro flask filled with water, an extra shirt and pair of pants, and my air pods. It was my first time hiking up a mountain, the highest one in Los Angeles County in fact, and I had no idea what I was doing besides knowing that I wanted to hike up a mountain.

     I left my west coast residence around seven o’clock on a weekday and it took me an hour to get to Manker Flats Campground which is at the foot of the mountain. I had no problem parking and didn’t get a pass to park which I heard you needed. It was too late to get one online on arrival anyways because there was no phone signal, but the atmosphere of the area seemed easygoing, and that held up as I didn’t get a ticket once I made it back to my car at the end of my hike. 

     The trail I took to reach the peak of Mount Baldy was called “Devil’s Backbone Trail.” The name sounds intimidating which the trail was at certain points, but it was still the “easiest” trail to the peak others have advised. The trail is fourteen miles out and fourteen miles back, and it starts off on a simple inclined road which takes you to a ski rental and lodge that is closed during the warmer seasons. After, you quickly start to hit extremely steep inclines, excessively rocky terrain, and narrow paths on the side of the mountain where one false move can be your demise. However, it did offer gorgeous views of Southern California and the Mojave Desert.

     On my way up I saw many people throwing up, quitting early, nearly falling, taking long breaks, and aiding their dogs they impetuously brought. The only difficulties I found myself were slipping, knee and leg pain at times, and slight fatigue. I didn’t take any breaks to reach the peak and it took me three and a half hours, I then took a 30-minute break while at the summit, and then headed back down which took three hours. On the way up I took a few photos, drank a little water, and nibbled on a protein bar. 

     Mount Baldy isn’t beginner friendly, but if you’re prepared mentally and physically you should be able to tackle it with ease. It’s important to research the weather conditions of the day in which you will be hiking to know what supplies you will need. I could have personally gone without the extra pants and shirt I packed, and a couple of snacks, but it’s better to be cautious because you never know how your body might react. Also, take note of when you will be going to ensure your time of arrival and the occupancy of the location.

     I think everyone should hike a mountain to reach its summit or peak once in their lifetime. It is a fulfilling experience that clears your mind, connects you with the world, and makes you feel exhilarated that you completed it. You feel a proud soreness that indicates and displays that you’ve been here and accomplished something that only you can truly measure.

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