Tag Archives: Hiking

Winter Hike Up Mount Baden-Powell

Our goal was to head up to Highway 2 and park along the road and take a snow chute up to the Little Jimmy Campground and then move onto the summit of Mt. Islip, however when we got to Vincent Gap we found the road closed there despite what the CalTrans website reported on our drive up.  It was a semi-overcast morning and there were signs of fresh snow that had dusted the area overnight.

Vincent Gap

We debated our options now that we were parked at Vincent Gap, where the trailheads to the Big Horn Mine, Miner Vincent’s Cabin, and Mt. Baden-Powell are all located.  We decided on the more challenging hike which was up Mt. Baden-Powell.  There was ice in the parking lot and snow all around, but we were prepared for this, so we geared up and headed out.

Hiking Baden-Powell

We made our way up the first few switchbacks fairly easily; the snow was not that deep yet and the trail was still easy to follow.  It was actually turning out to be a beautiful day with sun peaking though snow covered trees and casting shadows on the snow covered trail.

Baden-Powell Trail covered with snow

As we trudged further up the mountain the snow started getting deeper and the trail became less apparent.  Eventually we just started cutting upwards through the snow.

Climbing Baden-Powell

Before we got to the beginning of the summit ridge a group of snowboarders and skiers passed us on their way up. I was impressed at how they charged up the mountain but then also realized that they are probably more accustom to the high altitude than our group was.

Snowboarder going up Baden-Powell

At the beginning of the summit ridge my hands started getting extra cold, and I debated on turning back.  It was cold and windy with small amounts of snow coming down.  I was worried that maybe the two pairs of gloves I was wearing just weren’t enough, but the more I kept moving the better my hands felt.  In the end I was glad I didn’t turn back, but I couldn’t help but to be cautious.

Baden-Powell Summit Ridge

When we made it to the summit the group of skiers that had passed us earlier were about to head down and we watched them quickly slide away down the mountain.  Were we jealous?  Yeah, maybe a little.

Skiing off the Summit

The views at the top weren’t as impressive as compared to a clear day, but when the clouds would part for a minute we could get a glimpse out towards the Lancaster area, but that was it.

Summit View

As we made our way off the summit we got a light dusting of snow which was kind of cool now that we were on our way down.  We shot straight down the snow which cut a lot of distance off the descent, but even if we wanted to take the trail we couldn’t see half of it.  When we got lower down the mountain and the snow was less deep we were able to get back on the trail and follow it out for the last mile or so.

Descending

This was my first real winter hike, and by that I mean hiking in real winter conditions which included being snowed on and traversing all through snow.  I was glad I had the proper gear for this hike but I don’t think I’ve ever been that cold on a hike before.  After the incident with my fingers getting painfully cold I am definitely in the market for some better snow gloves.

Visiting Deep Creek Hot Springs

My friends and I have been wanting to visit some natural hot springs for a while now, and finally we got around to doing it.  I don’t really hear about many hot springs in Southern California that often (although I’m sure there are plenty), but somehow we found out about the ones in Deep Creek.

We tried to head out somewhat early Saturday morning, but actually hit the road around 9am.  It took us about 2 hours to get to Bowen Ranch where the trailhead to the hot springs is.  To enter the ranch each person is supposed to pay $5 and put it in an envelope with your cars license plate number on it.

After the entry to Bowen Ranch there is still a little bit of a drive down a dirt road until you finally reach the parking area for the trail to the hot springs.  The road is kind of crappy in some points but I managed to make it out there in my station wagon.

The trail is pretty clearly marked and offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and hills.  It winds 2.5 miles down into the hills towards Deep Creek which is actually in the San Bernardino National Forest.

When we finally arrived down at the creek we were surprised to see how many people were down there.  There weren’t that many cars in the parking lot, but apparently there is another “secret” trail that you can take to the creek which is shorter and where you don’t have to pay.  We were told it just takes some Google mapping skills to figure it out.

The trail ends at a kind of beach area and from there you have to cross the freezing creek to get to the actual hot springs on the other side.  We carried our cooler over so we could enjoy some beers while chilling in the hot springs.

The natural phenomenon of the hot springs was not as impressive as I thought it would be, it’s just kind of like being in a dirty jacuzzi with a bunch of slimy algae and strangers.  So I decided not to spend too much time in the hot springs, instead I found a high perch on top of the rocks which was perfect for people watching.  It was great seeing all the different walks of life gather around these hot pools of water.  Young and old, naked and clothed…  everyone was just hanging out and enjoying themselves.

The hike back out of the creek area can be a little intense if you are not prepared for it.  Luckily for us we consumed plenty of libations down at the creek which helped us  power through the hike back to the cars and completely forget about how bad it was.