Day 30 – Vincent’s Cabin to Bighorn Campground, 21 kms

We awoke early by cute lil Vincent’s cabin and packed up quickly partly because it was cold and partly because we wanted to get up ol snowy Mt Baden Powell before it gets too warm. We headed up the trail to Vincent’s Gap in dribs and drabs, Tamika urgently needed to contact her mum who had flown in from Australia overnight and I (Quiz) needed the dunny.
We reconvened and started our long 800m climb to the top of Mt Baden Powell by about 50 million switchbacks. 1/3 of the way up we stopped at a bearly flowing spring for breakfast and to collect water. There has been plenty of snow on the ground but no freshly running water. At about the half way mark the trail started to become covered in snow and by the last 1/3 we had given up on the switchbacks all together and just started following all the other footprints straight up the mountain. Even with nice firm snow and microspikes we were all feeling the climb in our legs (they are not Sierra trained yet). At the PCT intersection with the peak trail we ran into Dave by a 1500 year old tree . It was gnarled and wizened half in snow with chipmunks running around in it sending snow and ice cascading to the ground/on our heads.

We quickly dumped our packs and made one last short push to the summit. There was an American flag there, we made appropriate America fuck yeah jokes and poses. There was also a memorial to Baden Powell who started the scouts movement, and lots of quotes about how scouts makes boys into men. I wonder if girls are allowed to join now? The view was mainly of dense clouds in the LA basin and mountains rising above them. Harry was sure she could see the observatory above downtown LA. 

Our descent was far less snowy and we bearly beaded our microspikes. After solitary walking this morning we ran into heaps of people on the way down, mostly flaked out in patch of sunlight tired from the slog. We walked and talked with Papa Rich for a while about how he and his wife help raise service dogs, he has a stuffed toy pup on his backpack. Joe sped past us and told us he was not walking with us anymore. He was pissed off, Meg saw him later and tried to clear things up somewhat successfully. 

We followed the ridge from the summit through excellent scenery and steep drop offs to Little Jimmy Spring where we had lunch. The sun was shining strong overhead but the cloud from the basin was slowly creeping up the mountains. By the time we had descended to Islip Saddle it was moving in thick and we were plunged into wet fog. Just as we had all finished in the bathroom a car pulled up asking for directions. Dave used to live around here and knew how to answer, we Australians had no idea! Stacy and Rae told us a thunder storm was due at 4.30, we were about to climb another steep mountain, and the weather looked dicey. A delema presented itself, camp here in the saddle and wait out the storm or walk along the highway around the mountain. Just as we were talking our options over Stacy said let us give you a lift, so we all piled in (Dave in the boot) and ‘walked 6miles with our thumbs’ to Bighorn Campground.

The campground is freezing but very pretty with a stream right by our tents. The fog lifted at about 6 and low and behold no thunderstorms today, but the fact that we were all happy to hitch meant we were dreading another climb after such a big one this morning. We have lit a campfire and are busy cooking our fuel consuming lentil burritos. What a topsy Turvey day. Xx

PS. Tamika has been waiting for her mum all day sitting by the road at the entrance to the campground. She stayed till 7.10 and was sad when she returned to camp. Just as we had all gone to bed Dawn (Tamika’s mum) and her friend Gillian arrived! Apparently they made it to the entrance of the campground at 7.20, 10min after Tamika had left. She even managed to find our campsite in the dark.

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