Mount Baden-Powell

A long overdue trek to Mount Baden-Powell. When viewed from Angeles Crest Highway, this mountain can be intimidating because it’s just so darn big and tall and the highway it looks nearly straight up and down. The trail to the top with it’s many switchbacks, however, is moderate in incline and quite safe. The elevation did get to me today and I felt tired and dizzy at times. I’m not sure why, as I had no problems when I hiked right across the way to Throop Peak, Mount Hawkins and Mount Islip. The views, especially of Mount Baldy, cannot be beat.

Driving Directions:  From the 210 Fwy. in La Canada, take CA-2/Angeles Crest Hwy. 53 miles to the large Vincent Gap parking lot.  One could come in from the other way on CA-2, by taking the 210 to15 N to 138 E to CA-2.  From the junction with the 138, Vincent Gap is a 14 mile drive.

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I got up really early and drove 2 1/2 hours to make it to Vincent Gap by first light.  There are several trails which start from Vincent Gap. I followed Pacific Crest Trail.

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As I ascended so too did the Sun, bathing the World in a warm, orange glow.

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11       12      13   Photo 1 – There is a bench about a 3/4 of a mile up the trail, but it was too early to rest so I continued on.  Photo 3 – Angeles Crest Highway from above.  Photo 4 – At times desert views opened up. Totally flat except for a few small hills randomly rising from the ground.  Photos 6 and 7 – Vertical and horizontal stripes

14   At 1.5 miles I came to the short spur to Lamel Springs. I wanted the full Mount Baden-Powell experience so I went looking for the springs.

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This little trail was the sketchiest I took all day – soft and narrow in places and the drops were serious.  Still, it’s just a couple hundred yards long.

18     20   Photo 1 – This puddle is Lamel Springs. Photo 2 – Handsome chipmunk

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Photos 2 and 3 – Tall, straight lodgepole pines.  Photo 4 – Owl Eyes

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Letting go now, anger and worry dissolve with each step.

27     29     30   Photo 1 – I read that a few years ago someone spray painted a number at the end of every switchback. Thankfully that has been cleaned up. The only marking left is a “20”, bleached into this poor tree’s bark.

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Desert views

31   Near four miles of hiking, the peak is within my grasp.

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34   Looking over the edge to the east. This is the kind of scary drop I was prepared to see on Mount Baden-Powell.

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I reached a junction in the trail. The PCT ran to the right and the trail to the summit continued straight up the ridge. At this junction is the Wally Waldron Tree, a 1,500 year old limber pine. It’s amazing to touch a living thing born sometime around the year 500.  Storms, fire, erosion and humans, how could it survive so long?  Photos 2 and 3 show the ancient tree from the front and back.  Photo 4 – I noticed a bird sitting on top of another tree. It’s the same kind I saw over at Throop Peak a few months back. Clearly they thrive in this high elevation.

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43   On the top of Mount Baden-Powell is a concrete monument erected by the Boy Scouts.  On one of the plaques is a relief carving of Lord Baden-Powell for whom the mountain is named.  Also on top, an American flag waves proudly in the cool California breeze.

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The real star of the show is the outstanding view to the east and Mount Baldy.

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I’m loving my new telephoto lens.  It can pick-up much more detail than the naked eye.  Photo 4 – Peaks to the left of Mt. Baldy.

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Four shots of the endless slide down the side of the mountain

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I followed a footpath south down from the crest to get a different perspective. Photo 2 – About a forty-five mile drive away is the antennae and observatory atop Mount Wilson – here on extreme zoom.

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To the west is Throop Peak and Mount Hawkins. I toyed with the idea of heading over to Mount Burnham, a little over a mile away on the same ridge.  I didn’t have the energy today but plan on making a special trip, maybe in the spring.

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Photo 1 – I’m pretty certain that the peak on the left is Mount Hawkins and the one on the right is Throop Peak.  Photo 2 – Separating Throop Peak from the next peak east is a long, steep saddle. Here is that next peak, which must be Mount Burnham.

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Mount Baden-Powell also has huge desert views.

62   There were large white patches in the distant desert – salt flats, possibly.

63     64   This young woman’s first trip to the Angeles Forrest was a solo hike to the summit of Mount Baden-Powell, a brave and ambitious excursion. Cheers to her.

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Also in view is the Devil’s Punchbowl – sedimentary rocks tilted at a surreal angle by the San Andreas Fault.

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I headed down and back into the shade. It was so cool today I barely broke a sweat.  Eventually I reached the bench by the side of trail again. This time I stopped to rest, close my eyes and turn down the volume of my mind one last time. Breathe and simply be, nothing more, nothing less.

72   I made it back to the trailhead.  Here is the view from the parking lot, this time with more light.

73   Before heading home I wanted to make one final stop, a viewing area a few miles east of Vincent Gap.

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Mount Baden-Powell from the view point. I was at the very top just a few hours before.  If I can do it, so can you!

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