Stranded In The Southland

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Death March Up South Hawkins Peak

So, I was excited about this Wednesday's hike. It'd be up an HPS peak I didn't have, Mt. Hawkins, and it was kinda short, so it would be easy on my feet. And this would be my 25th peak, so I could actually join the HPS. Woo hoo.

Unfortunately, as always, I arrived just as everyone was leaving. Two of my favorite hikers, B. and P. told me they were headed to South Mt. Hawkins, as the Mt. Hawkins hike wasn't gonna go due to road closures.

Super. It was only after I was in the car with these two that I thought to ask the important questions, like, "How long is the hike?", "Who else is going?", and "Are you guys crazy?". In case you're wondering, the answers were "12 miles," "Nobody else," and "Ummm, maybe." Well, they actually just said, "It's not too far, don't worry about it."

Doh. I checked out the map, determined that it was quite a hike, and went anyway. B. and P. are in great shape, so I had a heck of a time keeping up, and considered falling back and taking a different hike instead several times. Both of them were very encouraging, though, so I went ahead and toughed it out.

It turned out to be a beautiful hike through a whole bunch of forest that was ravaged by fire just a couple years ago. While I suppose it should be sort of sad to hike through a forest of dead, burned pines (and plenty of growing ones, too), it really wasn't. It was cool to see such an open, park-like forest, and the views down into the valleys and out over smoggy Los Angeles were great.

It was good to get the hike done -- as P. pointed out, South Mt. Hawkins is going to be a tough hike for the next year, due to road closures, and it was good to get it out of the way early, before the summer is too hot, and while I have compatriots to go with me. The trail is very hard to follow, so it was great to have B. along, who has been there before.

Alas, we spent something like five hours out under the hot sun, and I got a pretty good burn on my arms. I usually put on sunscreen, but this time I was running too late to remember, and I was too busy trying to keep up with these speed daemons to put any on.

My feet seem okay, though. They kinda hurt, but not as badly as I might've expected. Hopefully I can still get out for a Friday hike.