Still some snow left from this month’s storms up on the front face of San Bernardino Peak. This is at about 7,500 feet, in the shade of the forest:
Took the teens up 9,400 foot Mt Baden-Powell yesterday. We had a big turnout, 11 kids, so the 15-passenger van was nearly filled.
These monthly hikes have been sort of dying away the last few months; we cancelled June (Ingrid and I went alone), I think two dudes showed for July, one girl came in August. Maybe it was the season, since the kids aren’t at school during the summer, though summers haven’t been a problem in the past. I didn’t expect much of a turnout this time, since the hike promised to be “strenuous” (2,774 feet of gain in four miles) according to my annual schedule handout. For whatever reason we got a big turnout this month. And maybe we’ll be seeing a lot more kids for the rest of the year, since everyone had such an awesome time. Really, it was one of the best hikes we have done, everyone seemed to have so much fun.
While the other kids are teens, one of the kids on this hike was an 11-year-old named Luis. He’s one of those heavy, awkward kids, but oddly cheerful: he doesn’t know he’s awkward, maybe no one has told him. For whatever reason, none of the older boys picked on him; in fact they were weirdly protective, especially when it transpired Luis didn’t bring enough water or food. I thought one of them was related, but they weren’t.
Anyway, without a doubt climbing this mountain was the most physically demanding thing Luis had ever done. When we got to the wooden bench, about a mile in, he said he was tired and ready to go back.
But he didn’t quit. Ingrid stayed with him well at the rear, and although he took frequent rest breaks and kept commenting on how tough it was for him, he was cheerful and determined throughout. He made it to the top a half hour after everyone else, and made it back down, impressing us all.
Like I’ve long said about hiking and climbing: it’s all mental.
It was one of those things: hard work, but it felt good, everybody loved it. As you probably know if you are reading my blog, there’s nothing in the world like standing on a high mountain summit: something few teens, especially Hispanic kids, ever get to experience.
One the way home we stopped in Wrightwood for some burgers. Another one of my good ideas, apparently.
We have to give this up next year. For one thing, with Rainier training my schedule is going to get pretty tight. For another, I am no longer bringing home anything like the kind of money I was making during the Boom (which even then was mostly loan repayments; we’ve simply stopped repaying the notes this year). Yesterday was an expensive day:
Van rental: 167.00
Burgers for 13 (plus dog): 200.00
I can’t keep doing that.
We dunno what we are doing for October, since our usual October destination was burned out in June. I am going to arrange a snowshoe hike for January and I think that will be our last hurrah, at least in Costa Mesa.
This was the news yesterday in SoCal:
MOUNT BALDY, Calif. — Thunderstorms that swept across Southern California on Sunday led to the death of one person and caused mountain mudslides that stranded more than 2,000 others, authorities said.
A body was found in a car that was swept into a rain-swollen creek in Mount Baldy and overturned, San Bernardino County Fire spokesman Chris Prater said.
Further east, flash floods brought thick debris flows that cut off access to two towns. About 1,500 residents of Oak Glen, and 1,000 residents of Forest Falls in the San Bernardino Mountains were unable to get out because the roads were covered with mud, rock and debris, authorities said.
The stranded include 500 children and adults who had arrived at a Forest Falls campground Sunday morning.
We had taken 13 teens (and four adults) five miles up the East Fork of the San Gabriel River to Bridge to Nowhere (a few miles west of where the car was swept into the creek in the story above). It had been raining during the drive up to the trailhead, and so I warned the kids that one of the things we need to be concerned about was flash flooding along the river (the trail follows the river and crosses it in several places). The weather was pretty mild during the hike in, but after spending a couple hours at the Bridge, we hiked back out just in front of increasingly ominous (and noisy) thunderclouds. I spent a lot of the hike out looking back over my shoulder and sort of hustling everyone along. I wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible.
East Fork is a popular place for gold panners, and we passed several miners with their tents set up right in the riverbed. I honestly wonder how many of them are still standing this morning.
Anyway, we got to the parking lot without any issues, and looked back and marveled at the crazy weather enveloping the canyon we just hiked out of. On the way down highway 39 we were assaulted by brutal rain squalls (must have really sucked being one of the 20-odd dudes riding their bikes down the hill). Ingrid insisted all the kids text their parents and let them know they were okay as soon as we got into cell range in Azusa.
More pics here. Kids had a great time.
That’s Mt Baldy in the background, 600 feet higher.
When I got home the cat was sitting in the chair by the back door, so the dog couldn’t get out of the house. I thought that was pretty shitty, but then I took the dog to the park to chase the ball before it got dark (she’s OCD about catching tennis balls). At the park she must have pissed a liter or two and took three MASSIVE dumps. Huge piles of shit.
The goddamned cat must have been in that chair all day, trapping the poor dog in the house. The shithead.