Now That Deserves a Merit Badge!

October 1, 2012

Saturday's hike was a Boy Scout's dream. The goal was to reach the summit of Mount Baden Powell. From the trailhead it is a 4 mile climb to the summit with 40 switchbacks along the way and an elevation gain of 2,800 feet. Not your average stroll through the park!

A view of Mount Baden-Powell before we made it to the trailhead

It is a steep but well maintained trail (thanks to the Boy Scouts) but It is a strenuous climb up and coming down hill is not much easier due to the stress the steep incline puts on your knees! I was grateful for the shade all the pine trees afforded us as we hiked because the heat of the sun would have made it a lot harder.

The hiking blogs say it takes about 5 hours to do this 8 mile round trip but it took me longer than that. We took time to have a picnic lunch at the summit near the memorial to Lord Baden-Powell, the British born Lieutenant General who was the founder of the International Scouting Movement. The views from the 9,407 foot summit are quite breathtaking. Mt. Baden Powell is the 4th highest peak in the San Gabriel mountains with Mt Baldy being the highest at 10, 064 feet.

A view from the Summit of Mount Baden-Powell

I remember the first time I hiked this trail a few years ago. It was the first time I decided to join my husband and a friend from church in what had become a regular outing for them. They had planned to do this trail, and without asking a single question about it - I told them I wanted to go along. Well - I quickly discovered it was not a beginner's hike at all! Sheer determination not to quit before reaching the summit and a lot of prayer is the only thing that got me to the top - legs aching and more than winded! I wanted to lay my body across Lord Baden-Powell's memorial marker and call for a helicopter to take me down! Yikes! It was a grueling experience.

Happily I can report that Saturday's hike did not have the same effect on me as it did that very first time, but it seemed longer going down than up for some reason. Makes me grateful for the invention of digital devices and the accompanying earphones - I definitely needed the encouragement of my music and podcasts on this hike.

Perhaps the Boy Scouts could consider handing out merit badges after someone completes this 8 mile hike-or at least stand at the summit high-fiving those that make it to the top!

Standing at the summit in front of the Memorial plaque to Lord Baden-Powell - founder of the Boy Scouts