|Peak Summited||2021 Mount Baldy|
|Type of Hike||Day hike|
|Trailhead||San Antonio Falls Trailhead (Manker Flats)|
|Road Conditions||Road suitable for all vehicles|
|Bug Status||Bugs were not too bad|
|Snow Conditions||Snow free|
|Trail Conditions||Trail in good condition|
It is not an exaggeration to say I have been mentally preparing for this hike for 10 months. What dominated my thoughts about this hike was the Devil's Backbone Trail. As others have pointed out, it is not as bad as the photos make it seem. I just kept my eyes straight and did not look to the right or left.
I started the hike at about 5a at the San Antonio Falls Trailhead, just past Manker Flats Campground. I did the loop counterclockwise, going up the Devil's Backbone Trail and down the Baldy Bowl Trail. It was great weather for the hike. I had specifically looked at wind forecasts because I wanted to make sure I would not be crossing the Devil's Backbone ridge in strong winds. Although I am very scared of heights, there were no points in which I felt scared on the ridge (I think trekking poles also helped me with this). My actual reaction after crossing it was, “Wait, that was it?” I am still not sure I would want to cross it in strong winds (or any kind of bad weather).
The final push to the top was difficult. I stopped a lot as I made that final ascent but the views at the top helped ease the pain of that last stretch.
The trail was not crowded as I went up Devil's Backbone. I ran into more people as I made the final push to the summit and it was definitely more crowded when I made the descent on Baldy Bowl Trail. I can definitely see why a lot of people choose to do the loop clockwise. The steep descent on the Baldy Bowl Trail can be a bit difficult with the loose rock and it is hard on the feet. I may try it clockwise next time, although the hike up the Baldy Bowl Trail will be tough.