Hi, my name is Isko Salminen.
I'm an adventure seeker and I love exploring nature with my camera and Australian Shepherd called Fire

Day 25: Mount Baden-Powell

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Date: May 24, 2017
Miles: 8.6 miles (13.8km), from Highway 2 to summit of Mount Baden-Powell. 
Health: After long nights sleep feet feel better and blisters are healing. Still very tired.

We sleep late with Blis. I'm up at 8:30am and he gets up at about the same time. Although I'm well rested, my body feels like it would still need more rest. Sadly that has to wait as we're heading out again today to summit the 9,407 feet (2,867m) Mount Baden-Powell.

Mtn Hardware in Wrightwood. 

Mtn Hardware in Wrightwood. 

After slow morning tasks we head out to the town, I need to still do my entire resupply and Blis needs few more things from the store. As our checkout time is at 11 we still have plenty of time.

We loiter our way towards the grocery store while meeting friends at every step. These trail towns are fun as you get to meet all the hikers who would otherwise be spread out along the trail.

Clif bars for PCT hikers.  

Clif bars for PCT hikers.  

I do my resupply, buy a breakfast burrito and eat that outside the store while sitting in the sun. Members of our trail family come and go and there's constantly someone new to hear from. Everyone is slowly going around the small town, trying to get their town chores done before the sun starts setting.

Group photo before our neighbors head out.  

Group photo before our neighbors head out.  

We get back to our room, collect our stuff and move them out on the yard and do our checkout. Blis stays with our gear and I do a quick new round since I forgot some items. Blis found me a jar of petroleum jelly from the hiker box but Sunshine informs me that they sell a smaller jar at the store so I add that to my list.

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I do a quick round in the grocery store and also buy some fresh fruits to eat before leaving the town. I head back to our motel and Fyre and Sunshine have joined us. I crawl under the yard table for a nap while the others eat, talk, and rest.

Soon it's time to leave. Our plan for today is to make it to the top of the Mount Baden-Powell to watch the sunset. Then camp there, or little way down, and come see the sunrise again in the morning.

Breaking my camera

As I'm getting my stuff from the table, I accidentally pull my fanny pack and without noticing my camera underneath it, drop the camera on the rocky floor. The camera hits the floor with a sinister thud and I fear for the worse. I turn on the camera to see if the drop caused any damage. The lights turns on, yes! Wait, the screen is black? Nothing happens. After about a second the camera turns itself off. Oh no. I remove the battery, maybe it's a software thing. Insert the battery and turn the camera back on. Again no luck. I do this few more times but I know the answer, my camera is broken. Right when I'm heading out to the top of a mountain to see an epic sunset and sunrise.

I curse profusely in my head. And I think few f-words escape my lips. No help, I have to use my iPhone until I figure something out. LA is not that far, but that needs to wait.

 Note: all photos from here on are taken with my iPhone 7 Plus.  

Blis, Fyre, Sunshine, and I headed to the main street to try to get a hitch. As soon as we reach the road a car stops over and they tell us they can fit two. Sadly their old WV Beatle only has room for Fyre. While she is getting in, they call their mom and tell us to wait for a second. Not a minute goes by and their mom arrives and picks the rest of us up. Wow!

Fyre and Blis.  

Fyre and Blis.  

Getting rides in and out of Wrightwood has been super easy. We talk with the lovely lady and she tells me about her trip to Finland few years back. She's super nice and soon we're at the trailhead. We offer her gas money but she refuses. We thank her for everything and head on the trail.

Sunshine starting the trail.  

Sunshine starting the trail.  

I was worried that my hiking would be painful but I feel great. Everyone is in a good mood and the first few miles go by fast. Then we start dropping down. Weren't we supposed to climb up? We drop down few hundred feet until I see a big mountain in front of us. There's a small rest area and me, Fyre, Blü, Blis, and Sunshine gather there and start climbing up the trail.

Heading down to climb a mountain.  

Heading down to climb a mountain.  

Restarea and the side of Mt Baden-Powell.  

Restarea and the side of Mt Baden-Powell.  

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I look at my clock and do some calculations in my head. I think we are out too late and won't make it up to the top before the sun sets. In my head I'm staying at the campsite a mile down from the summit.

As the sun sets the scenery gets more beautiful by every step. Our friends ahead of us must have amazing views from the top.

Hikers gathering at the spring.  

Hikers gathering at the spring.  

About halfway up we stop at a small spring on the mountain side to fill up our water bottles. We need water for the rest of the climb and what ever we consume tomorrow morning before we get to the next source down on the other side.

Blü getting water. 

Blü getting water. 

As we get past 7,000 feet the elevation starts getting to me again. Me breathing gets harder and harder and I have to slow my pace. Blü keeps cheering me up but I can't keep up with his pace.

Sunshine and Fyre resting on a switchback.   

Sunshine and Fyre resting on a switchback.   

It gets darker and darker and by now it's painfully clear for everyone that we won't be making it to the summit to see the sunset. After 8,000 feet we come across some snow that we need to hike over. By now my legs are just screaming for mercy. I keep counting "one - two - one - two ..." in my head to keep my legs moving. I can't wait to get to the campsite before the summit and rest for the night.

Early evening trail up Mt Baden-Powell.  

Early evening trail up Mt Baden-Powell.  

We finally reach the campground and I'm ready to stop. Sunshine, Blü, and an ultralight Australian hiker we met earlier called Baton talk me over to continue all the way to the top. I don't have any energy left but their reasoning is solid so I agree to push to the top.

We continue but soon Blü and Baton push ahead, I'm a bit behind, and I can't see Sunshine behind me anymore. It's getting really dark and I'm getting worried. I look behind on every switchback but no sight of her. She's usually ahead of me on climbs. We cross some questionable spots and snow in the dark.

Finally on one longer switchback I see Sunshine below me. I yell to check that she's okey. She's fine, just going slower. I push up a steep snow face to reach the exposed and narrow ridge line before the actual summit. I can't see a thing except for the city lights down far below. I think that's LA in the distance. The views are amazing but the whirling wind makes me want to get off of the narrow ridge. I throw on my wind jacket and follow the path to where I think the summit is.

Trail in the dark.  

Trail in the dark.  

For a while I can only see dark but then sky appears and I see a shade of a person. That's Blü putting on warmer clothes. We celebrate for a second and then I start putting on my puffy as well. It's cold at the top.

We hear sounds from ahead of us, and see headlamp lights coming from the brushes just down from the summit. I head down there to find everyone else there. I find myself a sheltered spot for the night and then go back to see Sunshine reach the summit.

Almost every single flat spot is used for sleeping as people squeeze between bushes to cowboy camp for the night. The sky is clear and the start are out. I lay in my sleeping bag eating and looking at the sky. I'm happy I pushed all the way to the top.