“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” Henry David Thoreau
Mount Baldy, or officially Mount San Antonio is the highest peak in the San Gabriel mountains of Southern California. Standing at 10.068 feet, it towers over and domiates the skyline of the mountain range and the region. On a clear day, it can even be seen from Los Angeles with snow blanketing the summit in the winter.
We got an early start, arriving at Manker Flats about 7:00 and starting on our way up the path at 7:10. We chose to do the route upwards via the ski road, which includes the saddle formation known as the Devil’s Backbone. As we progressed up the paved road, then transitioned onto the narrow dirt road, the sun steadily began to rise above the horizon.
The going was pretty easy for most of the way until we reached the area just above the Devi’s Backbone, where the grade of the trail suddenly increased significantly and some moderate scrambling was required. This last portion of the ascent took quite a while, as we huffed and puffed our way towards the summit.
Near the summit, we had the good luck of eyeing two mountain goats standing guard and watching us hikers with intensity. Of course they wouldn’t let us get too close before they started to scramble away.
The summit itself provided 360 degree views of the Mojave to the north, the San Bernardino Mountains to the east and the urban development to the south and even downtown Los Angeles and the beach towards the west and in the distance.
Coming down, we chose the Baldy Bowl route, which is quite a bit steeper than the Devil’s Backbone route. We were happy we had chosen to do the loop in this direction, versus the opposite. I nearly slipped a few times on the very steep incline and had to watch my footing very closely.