Friday, May 22, 2015

May Snow Day on Mt. Baldy

My personal odometer rolled over to 52 last Friday so I ditched work and headed for Mt. Baldy to celebrate the momentous occasion (and, I suppose, prove to myself that I could still do it). The sky was filled with foreboding clouds as I left the house. Drizzle fell on me here and there as I made my way east along the 210. As I drove up San Antonio Canyon, I watched the outside temperature gauge steadily drop until it settled in the high 30s as I arrived at Manker.
Given the rare winter conditions, I was expecting a horde of mountaineers looking to get a snow fix. But Manker was strangely empty with just a smattering of cars parked along the roadside which was posted "No Parking" in preparation for the Tour of California which was coming up the canyon the following day.
A light snow was falling as I made my way up Falls Road which had an accumulation of about 3-4 inches of snow. After about 0.9 miles, I left the road and begin climbing the Ski Hut Trail. The snow was probably 4-5 inches here, and the ascent steeper, so I donned micro-spikes and gaiters and broke out my sticks. Shortly thereafter, I passed two gents who had turned back a short distance higher up the trail because they lacked adequate traction. After this encounter, I saw no one all the way to the Ski Hut. A single pair of descending tracks had broken the trail for me (which I assumed meant someone had stayed the night in the ski hut), but no one had yet been up the trail that morning.
The descending tracks stopped at the ski hut and so did I. Here, snow accumulation was probably 7-8". Beyond the ski hut, the trail across the bowl was pristine and unbroken. I sat in the portal of the ski hut enjoying the amazing stillness and solitude as I savored a celebratory and frosty malt and grain adult beverage.
I'll spare you my further blathering now and get straight to the good stuff. Here is what the day looked like. Quite extraordinary when you consider the fact that this in mid-May. In Southern California. During an historic drought.
White on Evergreen
San Antonio Falls

Falls Road

The Road Past the Falls
Ski Hut Trail
Yucca with Snow

Winter Conditions

More Ski Hut Trail

Snowy Forest

Blanket of Snowy Goodness
Trail View

Frosty Ponderosa

The Bowl

San Antonio Ski Hut

329 Days of Sun. Ha!
The Bowl from the Ski Hut

View Toward Ontario and Big Horn

Snow Covered Slope
Spring and Winter Together

Silent Forest Sentinel

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