12 miles (Miles 374.2 – 386.2)
Vincent Gap – Islip Saddle
The climb to Mt. Baden-Powell wasn’t nearly as difficult as I’d feared – and it turned out to be a beautiful, clear and sunny day! It was a lot of climbing up, but I worried that it was going to be really steep… it was actually very well-graded with a lot of switchbacks. And I enjoyed the sweaty climb the whole way. Every switchback gave us a little wider view of the desert valley beyond the trees. Our small break at the Lamel Spring helped. It was a quarter-mile off-trail, but the water was clear, cold, right from the mountain and tasted great. We really love the fresh springs.
A crazy thing that we had to deal with was Rachel tweaking her ankle on some suck-you-in soft trail sand yesterday afternoon, which left her with a little swelling and a pretty-colored bruise. I’ll tell you what, though – she climbed that mountain like a freakin’ rockstar… we are hoping the ankle has a quick, awesome recovery!
Since it was a Saturday we were able to meet lots of happy, friendly day-hikers too! We met a big group of kick-butt ladies wearing pink, and a family group of guys that we leapfrogged with all the way to the summit. One of them is 79 years old! How awesome! We had a lot of fun chatting with these guys along the way.
At the summit we met up with the group we camped with last night for a little bit. They are a really fun group of people, and we look forward to hopefully catch back up with them in a week or two.
The hike all day was along nice ridges with great views on all directions. We got to see a glider plane a few times, too. I couldn’t get a photo of it, but at one point he swooped along the treetops just above us. I was so surprised how silently he went past – if you weren’t looking, you’d have no idea he was there! I guess a plane with an engine pulls it up with some sort of tether, then cuts it loose and it just glides with the wind, needing no engine power. Cool stuff!
After a sort of stressful run-in with a LOT of young boy scouts with about 8 bazillion times more energy than us, we cruised on through to Islip Saddle. We were only there for about an hour when we saw the pickle jar come on down the road – I literally jumped up and down. Seeing Adam… I mean Aloha… after a few days on the trail never gets old! I love that guy! But what made it doubly exciting and awesome, was that he had Jon with him – Tears’ boyfriend! Aloha got him from the LA airport earlier and they both came out to pick us up from the trail!
First thing on our agenda (well, for me and Tears, anyway) was a shower. Then food. We walked to the Grizzly Cafe and I finally fulfilled my promise to myself of a salad. It was huge, delicious and full of greens, grilled chicken, tomato, bacon, egg, cheese, and ranch. Yum!
Back at the hotel we talked a bit about our hiking plans for the next week and now I’m writing this. And soon I’ll be in bed. Sooo tired!
A fun trail tid-bit – sometimes people say things while we’re on the trail that make me hungry. For example:
“Do you have the tent stakes?”
“Dude, you’re baking in that sun.”
“This is a trail full of rolling rocks.”
Mmmm, Rolling Rock…
“Brr, it’s really chilly out here tonight.”
This is sure a tough, rocky road.”
Mmmm, rocky road ice cream…
Doesn’t take much at all to think about food on the trail!
A few other photos from today: