Sometimes your favorite passion has to make you hate it just a little bit.
As in when you are scaling a ravine in three feet of snow, post holing like crazy. Your waterproof hiking boots are soaked and your feet are wrinkled and cold and disgusting from being wet for so many hours. Its hour six of hiking up a damn mountain and you begin to wonder where is the summit already?!
We had gone off trail, well quite a while ago. The trail was simple and familiar for the first five miles. I had hiked San Bernardino Peak half a dozen times before this one. It seemed like we always ran out of time or we didn’t bring proper snow gear or something always came in the way of making it to the summit.
My boyfriend decided yes, we would summit on February 23, and yes we would make time to do it right. We packed snow gear and sandwiches and left the doggies behind for this hike. It was time to summit San Bernardino Peak; our second peak starting with a B inside a month. ( We had summited Mt Baldy at the beginning of the month)We are making our way through the rest of the alphabet of local peaks the next few months, before the ultimate goal, Mt Whitney in July.
The first few miles up were relatively easy, switch backs and little snow. It wasn’t until we hit the eight thousand foot level that the scenery got extremely pretty and the snow started showing up every where.
We enjoyed our lunch above nine thousand feet and had to switch to cat trax and crampons right after that. This is why we didn’t bring the doggie; the trail hugged the side of the mountain and a bad step could mean sliding down an icy crevice.
Six miles up San Bernardino Peak we reached Limber Pines Camp and the trail stopped. I had hiked this far once before and could have sworn the trail continued to the east but there was no sign of a trail any where. There was also at least a foot of snow. Hikers who had come before us had turned around here, faced with one to three feet of snow in places.
We guessed that the peak above us had to be the top. It looked like the biggest peak in the area anyways. We didn’t even consider turning around. We had come this far; today would be the day we would summit for sure!
We than proceeded to hike straight up a mountain for the next hour and a half. It was extremely hard going.
“We are going to have amazing calves tomorrow!” I proclaimed as my calves and butt were burning with every step I was taking uphill.
We were post holing this whole time, the snow was up to my waist in places where it had drifted. I felt like we were walking in place, it took us so long to summit! Finally we crested the mountain and low and behold we crossed the trail! I don’t know how we picked just the perfect mountain, just the perfect spot but we did.
After an excruciating climb uphill we were at the Washington Monument and the summit was just over the hill and up the trail. The view of Big Bear to the north was amazing and the views all around us of the thick clouds down in the valley were so beautiful.
This is why I love hiking in the winter months. The higher elevations are so gorgeous with the snow cover and the partly cloudy days make the air so crisp and clean. I talked to some other hikers on the trail (Who were from Los Angeles) and they wee hating the snow and completely did not agree with my love of all things winter.
All in all completely amazing day hiking in the San Gorgonio Wilderness and I cant wait for our next hike two weeks from now… the letter G for Mt San Gorgonio!