Hike Log

I fought the Devil…it was a draw!


Manker Flat

Trail Conditions:




I wrestled with the Devil for 12 hours. No TKO's or winners. I consider this battle to be a draw. I signed up for the California six pack of peaks to train for my trek on the John Muir Trail. My journey starts in 6 days but this past Monday I attempted to complete another peak…which would make it my 4th out of 6. I attempted this peak a few weeks ago with Rachel (my daughter) but had to stop do to an injury and she is mending. That alone should have been a clue that I was tempting fate. This past Monday, I took to my quest to conquer and defeat my fears. Mt. Baldy has what is called the “Devil's backbone” and a “Devil's Bowl.” The backbone, being a couple of miles of a foot path of about 2 feet wide and 100 + foot drop on both sides. The bowl being a 3 mile curvature and a drastically down hill excruciating toe jamming jaunt. The whole 11 miles should on average be 7-8 hours. Again, I have already mentioned I wrestled with the Devil for 12 hours. It by far will go down as my worst hiking trip. It is my first time with my full backpack weight of 31 pounds. It was hot. It was dusty. I allotted for the appropriate amount of water not taking into consideration that I would spend about 3 of those 12 hours sitting on the Devil's backbone contemplating what have I gotten myself into all the while freely sipping my water. When I near the top of the peak, the last mile would be, in my humble opinion, equivalent to climbing telephones poles with trekking sticks and a 31 pound bag attached to your back. No lie…I selected the path that climbed straight up (by mistake of course). I made it to the top. There was no jubilation, celebration, or momentous moments of relishing my overcoming fear. It was “take my freaking picture and get off this mountain ASAP!” That is when the toe jamming started. About a mile down it was realized I could possibly die due to a low water supply. This made me trek harder and faster. Thankfully, God showed compassion because being consumed in the pits of Hell I didn't realize I had crossed over into the Garden of Eden. In a distance a babbling brook could be heard. After thinking I was on a bad episode of Gilligan's Island I made it to that stream of water and I dunked my head in to cool down and then I quickly stole 4 liters of water, filtered it, and put it in my bag to quickly finish my nightmare of a hike. I made it to the car and while i kept thinking, I can not do this. I can not possibly hike the JMT. I discovered I was tested. I was not defeated. I became aware there will be stumbling blocks, but they didn't keep me down (just for 3 hours). I contemplated giving up, but I did not. I made it out and I have a picture to show that I was there, but there will never be a rematch between that Devil and me (at least not any time soon 😉 ). Dana (my husband) is not smiling because he said in all the years we have been together, this was his least favorite thing we have done together and that he hated me at the moment. Yesterday, he thought maybe he contracted “Valley Fever,” but today he said he is over hating me. 🙂 I also got revenge of the Devil when I peed in his bowl. (All the while thinking I should somehow gather my urine in case I needed to…well you know. I am so thankful for that babbling brook and Dana (even though he said he hated me. )


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  1. I can only laugh about it now. It truly was a humbling experience and it made me rethink how I need to prepare for the unexpected. I will hopefully report back in a month that my task of completing the JMT was a success and get the last two peaks in before the deadline.

  2. Great job, and perfect descriptions! We hiked Baldy yesterday too! You forgot about the crazy wind! I think people often say how easy Baldy is, but it is hard! I like that you peed in the bowl! Haha! Mind over matter, get that trail, girl!

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