Stranded In The Southland

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Up to the Ski Hut, Again

Next week, I lead a hike up to the Baldy Ski Hut. Since this is an 'O' rated hike, I really needed to check the trail to ensure that it was free of snow.

By the time I got up to the trailhead (2:30PM), there were some pretty thick clouds -- I could barely see 100 feet, which made for some interesting driving. Fortunately, despite yesterday's precipitation, there wasn't much snow on the ground -- just a bit encrusted on the trees.

It was kind of wild, hiking up through this cloud, with even the tops of the trees out of sight. I passed a whole string of backcountry skiers who were hiking down, and they'd loom out of the fog, come close enough for me to discern details, and then disappear.

There were occasional patches of snow on the way up, which gradually became more and more frequent. After an hour, I was alternating between snow and bare ground, although the snow had been well-trodden, so it wasn't any trouble.

With the fog and the snow, the trail looked totally different from what I was used to. Just when I had decided that I couldn't possibly make it in the remaining time (I had to be back home by 6PM for a casual dinner with friends), I hiked up out of the clouds to see the Ski Hut a few hundred feet above me!

It was amazing after that quiet, almost claustrophobic hike to be up in the bright sunshine, with the snow-covered walls of the Baldy Bowl towering up all around me! It really was stunning.

I scooted up to the Ski Hut, hung around for a minute or two, and started hauling butt back down the mountain to try to get home in time.

It turned out that I got home just as our pals arrived, but M. was totally mellow with that and just happy that I'd had a chance to get out and hike. Everybody was hanging around, playin' with kids and taking it easy, so I had a chance for a quick shower before joining everybody.

What a fun day!