Deep Creek to Peak

So last weekend I was supposed to go to this hyped up 3 day pool party. As I was getting myself syked up for the weekend, Thursday evening, getting together swimwear, camping gear and making a shopping list……..I see on Facebook the invite is no longer on my event page. Hmmm, after clicking and some reading between the lines i figure out it is cancelled. I was bummed I really had my little heart set on soaking up some sun chilling by the pool……but no.

Then it hit me….free weekend…..whatever shall I do. Well, I’ve been talking about going to Deep Creek for five months and as luck would have it it’s pretty close to Mt Baldy a place I needed to get back to. All of a sudden I couldn’t wait for the weekend again. I spent most of Friday printing directions and reading reviews.

Saturday morning I headed out to Apple Valley, it’s about a 2 hour drive that goes fast til you get to the dirt road that leads to Bowen Ranch. That road, while only 6 miles, seems to go on forever. I was anxious too since I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into (some of the online reviews weren’t all that favorable to parking at the ranch.) I was parking at the Ranch because it was only a 2 mile hike from there, the alternative was to park for free and hike 3 mile sketchy trail or a longer 6 mile.

Reviews should be taken with a grain of salt. The crazy man I read about at the Ranch was nowhere to be found, just a nice lady who called me adventurous for going alone! She was quite nice, collected my parking fee (5.00 for day 10.00 overnight which is weird since there is a sign half way there that says no camping), warned me of rattle snakes, asked if I had enough water, gave and explain the “souvenir” map then sent me on through the gate. Easy peasy.

After parking I jumped in my swimsuit (nudity is accepted at the springs but I tend save that for more familiar settings) through some snacks and drinks in by pack and I was off. The trail is pretty easy to follow and all downhill to the springs. There are some pretty nice views walking along the ridge before you descend to the hot springs.

It was not packed as the review suggested weekends would be, I got there about 11 (after the hour hike. There was a small gathering, but spread around the different springs. The springs were described to me as magical that is about spot on. There are a number of springs (I forget the names) some warm, some very hot, even a pipe that spills warm water right on you. There are beachy areas on both sides of the cool water creek and plenty of shade.

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 Yes, there were some nakkid older men and like 2 topless girls, besides that everyone was clothed. After dipping in the hot and cold I parked myself on the beach and chilled next to some friendly people from Santa Monica. They were funny, had music and wine! They too called me brave and adventurous for coming alone….hmmm.

I enjoyed the experience and would like to go back, maybe drag some friends along and camp illegally! There were a lot of people heading down there (with beers and guitars) as I hiked out in the evening.

After dinner and a good nights sleep I headed over to tackle Mt. Baldy, the mountain that shut me down about a month ago. This time I was ready for it, rested, shades, snacks, tunes, mountain dew and a map to the elusive steep side trail. Somehow last time we missed this (not well marked) turn off.  (hint hint its by the yucca plant just past the falls)

But the time I made it to the Ski Hut I felt so great and full of energy, maybe it was the mountain dew, or because last time I was well hung-over, slightly. Either way this time I was moving very steadily with my tunes, just crushing it, on the steep part no less.

I began the climb towards the summit the trail crossed a small stream and I stopped and dipped my bandana in the cool water. I felt so outdoorsy. There was quite a few people on the trail but we tended to be pretty spread out, leap frogging when anyone stopped for a breaks

. Unreal view caused me to stop in my tracks i felt good until I got up to around 10,000 feet elevation. The temperature had dropped and the summit did not seem to be getting closer. That’s when it hit me all the people on the switchbacks above me we gone! Hallelujah!! I made it! The air had became cold and very breezy but the views from up there are outrageously beautiful. I quickly put on jacket and snapped some photos before settling into one of the stone forts for some gotta get down snacks!

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As always what goes up, must come down.  This elevation gain was transferred to a similarly steep descent complete with uneven gravel loads of scary fun.  By the end of the day my knees are shot but I was so happy I practically skipped back to the car!

So of the six pack of peaks……..1 down 5 to go!!!

  • Mt. San Antonio — aka Mt. Baldy —It’s the first peak in the list over 10,000 feet.
  1. Mt. Wilson –a top elevation of 5,710 feet.
  2. Cucamonga Peak 8,859feet summit.
  3. San Bernardino Peak tops out at 10,649 feet,
  4. Mt. San JacintoPeak, 10,834 feet
  5. San Gorgonio — the highest peak in Southern California 11,503 feet

Really , really?

So I dubbed last weekend bad ‘decision weekend’. The decisions weren’t even that bad (I’ve made worse) but they certainly rather ridiculous. Sometimes I just get overly excited and don’t think things through, you know logically. So here’s what happened….

It was Memorial Day weekend and I really wanted to do something since my trip to the desert was out. Decided that I needed to do some hiking and Mt Baldy had been on my mind for a while. Out of the blue I stumble upon MissyKat having an extra ticket to Myth Masque in LA, something else I had wanted to do. Of course I decided I could do both, bad idea. A friend told me so but I was all whatever. Bad ideas are built on not listening. 

Now Myth Masque is not just any masquerade ball in LA, people go all out with costumes. I, of course did not have a thing to wear. After totally stressing, I ended up buying a corset that was way out of my budget, bad idea. 

Friday night a friend had a housewarming party that I ended up staying way too late at, bad idea. But I was having such a good time, I have great friends, you would have stayed too. So staying out late Friday meant a Saturday morning rush to finish my costume and pack the car. 
Did I mention I hate driving to or around LA. Agh. The traffic is mad crazy and there are just people EVERYWHERE. Plus there is nowhere to park. The stress of me driving and a valet parking situation led the me rewarding myself later that night with……drinks!!! Bad idea.

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But again you would have too. It was a festive atmosphere, the venue was spectacular, the costuming was top notch, the company was good, so …..I got my party on. Bad idea. 

After about 4 hours of sleep I dragged myself up (makeup still on from the night before) and started what was supposed to be a simple one and half hour trek to Mt Baldy. I was meeting Liz and Mark at 8. I had planned on grabbing some food/drinks for the hike on the way……that did not happen. Why…..in my sleepy has I totally took a wrong turn and got lost (sorta) at least went way outta of the way. Didn’t get to the mountain until 9:30 (sorry Mark and Liz).

So in my frazzled state I grabbed my day pack, 2 bananas from the backseat, and Gatorade. And I was off….in the clothes I has slept in! In my mind I thought we could ride the chair lift up and cut off 4 miles, it wasn’t running. (actually it was but my lack of planning I did not realize it didn’t start til 10) So we just set off for the shortest route to the top, seemed like a good idea, but we missed the turn off for that short route, doh! (side note: there is a true lack of signage on this trail, it is a true guessing game which direction to go.)

Now Liz and Mark are in great shape and good hikers so they were ready to take that mountain. I was pleading with my legs not to revolt. That was the weird thing about the whole hike, I was feeling good from the waist up. From the waist down my legs felt like lead, every step not painful, just hard. I managed to drag myself to the lodge after a gazillion breaks.  Then the death march began, for me anyway!  (let it be know if it hadn’t of been for Mark & and Liz I would have turned back, heck I might not have gotten out the car! They are fun to hike with and put up with all my whining.) We went up this stretch of rocks that was steep and seemed to never end. I kept telling the others to go ahead as I was basically pausing every third step.

I finally made it to the top (well that top anyway). From here it leveled out a bit as you cross Devils Backbone. I must say even in my exhausted state, WoW what a view!! You can see clear down to the desert floor and the cool breeze rushing across the peak was refreshing. We rested here before starting across the tiny trail that led to the summit. There were plenty of people coming down from the summit (they obviously did not miss the mystery turn off).

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The thing about hiking is you get plenty of time to think. The one thing on my mind that last sections was ‘holy carp next year I’ll be doing this with 25 pounds on my back, dear goodness’. The other thing about hiking is the distance between utter misery and euphoria is very short. As I trudged along I reflected on all the bad decisions I had made recently made and came to two conclusions, I can’t change them and don’t have to make anymore.

A term used frequently on the PCT is HYOY (hike your own hike). When we turn that last corner and I saw that 700′ vertical climb to the summit was when I stopped. Hiking my own hike meant letting the others go on and my turning back. Sure I could have limped up there just to say I did, but that most likely would have meant me being rescued or spending the night on the summit.

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Long story short (after all that lol) I went back down, Mark and Liz made it to the summit then we all took the chair lift back to the parking lot!

All in all it lessons were learned and memories were made. I’ll go back and bag that summit, everything in it’s time!

 Quitting something is hard. But it’s also valuable. ~Anish

A Change Will Do You Good

You never have a friend all figured out. Just when you think you know what makes them tick, they tock. ~Robert Brault,

It’s funny how you never really know people and kinda unnerving. You may think you know someone, but you probably don’t. Some of it, I think, has to do with change. Things change and with time so do people. Even if the change is good for the person, if you are used to the person they used to be it can be hard to except.  The other part, I think, is that most people never really put all their cards on the table. Even the most open share everything type people tend to keep a few cards up their sleeves.

People always say change is good. Well sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s hard to get used to so therefore, annoying. I routinely shake up the snow globe that is my life. Sometimes the pieces land nicely, sometimes they are all jumbled up. It usually works itself out.

Right now there is a lot of change going on around me, some good and some, well I’m just gonna have to breathe through it. It will all work out, the way it should, it always does.