Mt. Baldy & Hearst Castle

November 2005

Mt. Baldy and Hearst Castle

The day after Thanksgiving Emily threw a raging TEA PARTY at her parents house so I took the opportunity to scurry up Mt. Baldy. The party was still RAGING when I got back and I got TOTALLY WASTED. YEAH DUDE!

Of the many ways to get to the top I took the easiest. It started with a ride in the chair lift rising 1300 vertical feet.

Here is bottom of the lift. This photo was taken after I came down. On the way up the sky was unsettled and it even sprinkled a bit.

At the top of the lift, inside of the lodge, we find a sign indicating our destination is 4.1 miles away. On the way to the summit I had to pass over the Devil's Backbone!

And 1.7 miles later here I am, at the backbone, making a funny picture to hide my mounting fear.

Actually, the backbone part of the trail, seen here from above, is pretty damn cool. It drops off steeply on either side but is so wide that it isn't a big deal. The parallel curves in the background are Interstate 15 as it winds up/down from Cajon Pass south of Victorville.

And here is a view of the trail just beyond the backbone. The trail is cut into a near vertical cliff.

We are getting close, the vast summit is to the left of my head.

Switchbacks on the final push to the top. Note the drastic change in the weather from the previous picture.

And...these people I don't know have made it to the top. I spent 90 minutes going up and 90 minutes going down after relaxing for about an hour on the summit.

A fair number of people made the hike that day, including this group featuring the woman with the oversized Asian visor. When I first saw her I did a double take and wondered what Em's mom was doing up here. Thankfully Em's mom doesn't were humongous visors.

According this plaque and the information at the ski lift the elevation gain from the top of the ski lift is 2264 feet. Based on some people I talked to it was a pretty clear day for Mt. Baldy. In fact, although the Los Angles basin was covered with a layer of smog we could see some of the peaks from Catalina Island sticking out above the clouds, about 73 miles away, as the crow flies.

Hearst Castle

We left Em's parents house Saturday afternoon after eating the best sushi I have ever had in Diamond Bar of all places and camped in San Simeon that night after dining at Windows on the Water in Morro Bay. The next day we went on a tour of Hearst Castle (Em's first, my second), drove up the coast, met my parents at Nepenthe for lunch, and then drove home.

With time to kill before our tour we went down to the beach. Hearst Castle is on top of the hills to the left of Em.

This picture, with four distinct zones, pleases me to no end.

Must pet puppy!

Except for a few Korean tourists we enjoyed the tour and our guide tremendously.

What a nice November day. Sunny and warm enough for a short sleeve shirt. I sure like California.

You just don't see architectural details like this anymore.

Lunching with my parents at Nepenthe I managed to lodge some food in my teeth and Em was not willing to help me dislodge it. This photo and subsequent viewing on the 2"x2" viewfinder was a failed attempt to extract the offending debris.