Day 20 – 5/11/16
Guffy Campground 364.36 to Little Jimmy Campground 383.86
Total miles: 19.5
Today involved another long steep climb so 5 Star and I wanted to start early so we could get over the climb before it got too hot. We got going by 5:30 and the hungry Hobbit slept in as usual. It was 6 miles to the water source at a visitor center.
The miles were ok, a lot of descent but then there was a lot of steep elevation gain too. At 6:30 I came up over a small steep section and came across a fenced in hole in the ground. There was a sign that said no trespassing, no swimming. I couldn’t see that there was actually any water until I was almost at the fence. Don’t worry, I have no plans of swimming in that.
A few minutes later I rounded a corner and could see a ski lift. Eventually I was walking down the side of a ski slope. There is something weird about a ski slope and lift during the summer. Almost like it’s abandoned.
I walked around and looked for water but couldn’t find it. The visitor center didn’t open for another 2.5 hours and I didn’t want to wait for that. I see someone else walk up and I tell them I don’t see where we get water. He points to a little spigot next to a tent that I past right by. Oh ok. 5 Star walks up to the spigot and starts filling while I go back to grab my pack and bottles. The water dribbles out. Takes a couple minutes for each liter. While I’m waiting for 5 Star this young guy almost runs up, throws down his pack and pulls out his bottles. He waits for 10 seconds before power walking around looking for another spigot. He doesn’t have any luck and walks back and impatiently waits. After we get our water and head out we come across a sign. Only 2,277 miles to go!
The next 4 miles were relatively easy. Although we did drop quite a bit in elevation which was frustrating. We drop down to about 6,600 feet at the base of Baden Powell. At the base was a parking lot and a couple benches. We sit on the benches and eat in preparation for the next 4 miles. The summit is about 9,250 feet. 2,650 feet of elevation gain in 4 miles. Brutal.
At 10 am we get up and start the climb. It is steep. So very steep. My speed drops almost in half. I’m having to take breaks every 20 minutes. It’s hot, I’m sweating, and my sun glasses keep fogging up. 5 Star makes a Montana hat liner to help cool him off.
As we start getting above 8,000 feet we see more and more snow. The mountain is pretty steep and the trail fairly narrow. If you slipped you would slide for quite awhile. Trying to summit Baden Powell earlier than May would be stupid. There are certain parts where the trail is covered by a few feet of ice packed snow. So we have to climb straight up the mountain to get to the next switchback.
Finally, around 12:15 we reach the top. Well almost the top. The trail doesn’t go to the tip top of Baden Powell. That is another 0.2 miles and 100 feet. We came all this way we might as well get to the top. At the top is a monument dedicated to Lord Baden Powell who formed the Boy Scouts.
We stay up there for a few minutes and then start making our way down. We rest for a bit before continuing on. It should be all down hill now, right?
Not a chance. The trail skirts around the mountain and descends but every half mile there is a quarter mile of elevation gain. Very tiring.
As I’m coming down the side of a mountain after coming up and over another one I hear a helicopter. I look out across the valley to the mountain I just crossed and see a helicopter circling around. Seems like they are looking for someone. The trail wasn’t near the helicopter so we didn’t think it was a hiker but there was a windy mountain road.
At this point I’m exhausted and seeing a lot of hikers and hoping the campground isn’t going to be packed. I pick up the pace to try and beat the gaggle of hikers. I get to the side trail for water that is about a quarter mile before the campground and see 15 people crammed into this tiny space to get water. Great…
I walk down and no one is doing anything. Not getting water, just sitting there doing nothing. I walk up to the piped spring and fill up my bottles without taking off my pack. I fill up and start to leave just as 5 Star walks up looking just as overwhelmed as me. I told him I filled up all my bottles and I would figure out how much we need later.
I start back the way I came and then notice I could have taken a trail that connected on the other side of the spring instead of back tracking.
The campground was around the next bend and didn’t have many people in it. I walked all the way to the back to some tables hoping to stay away from the gaggle of hikers. 5 Star and I start setting up when we see the Hobbit and we wave to him. We finish setting up our tents and then sit down to eat. My feet hurt and itch really bad and I don’t feel good. Nothing sounds appetizing. I eat some food and finish the cookies my mom sent a couple days ago. I couple other hikers set up next to us.
A girl named Scabs and an older guy named Stretch. Stretch talks a lot. I just sat at the table staring off into space. The last two days have been exhausting. I think it’s finally catching up to me on how tired and sore I am. I just want a burger. And a soft bed to eat it in.
We work out how much water we need to carry for tomorrow and 5 star and I walk back to fill up another liter since we didn’t have enough for tonight. I must have been visibly out of it since 5 Star asked if I drank enough today. I drank close to 6 liters so it wasn’t that. My stomach felt weird and I couldn’t tell if I was hungry or not. Well not hungry enough for my food.
We get back to our tents and we all crawl inside. It’s only 6:30 and the Hobbit and 5 Star are sound asleep. I stay up as usual to tap away on my phone for a couple hours. More people come into camp and a few loud hikers set up right next to us. They stand right next to our tents and talk very loudly.
Today was weird. I felt crappy slogging up Baden Powell and questioning why I’m doing this and if want to go the extra 0.2 miles to the top. After I reached the top I felt like I accomplished something and the feel good chemicals were flowing. However, by the time we were in camp I just felt defeated and terrible. It’s still another 70 miles to Hiker Heaven, a trail angel house. We are definitely planning a zero there. No bed to sleep in though. The next one will be either Mojave or Tehachapi. That’s not for close to 200 miles though.
Tomorrow there is a road walk detour due to a closure to protect an endangered species, the mountain yellow-legged frog.