Sunday, August 7, 2011

#111 Bald Mountain

One of the stellar views from hiking Baldy

Bald Mountain Trail
I must have had a pretty stupefied look on my face when she asked, “Margo, do you want to do a hike up on Baldy (i.e., Bald Mountain) with me in the morning”?  Not hours before I had just returned from my solo ascent of Grays Peak in the Pioneer Mountain Range of Idaho. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all up for mountains...the number in the title attests to that fact. And Grays was a respectable near 4,000 ft gain over 7 miles, so I am no slouch. But, frankly, I am of a certain age, where any summit is something to celebrate…just after a few days, not hours, of recovery. So two in a row...ahhhh, I don't know. “We don’t have to go to the top, we’ll just go to the gondola and ride down,” she added. “Well, how long will it take?” I asked. “About 2 hours,” she stated. Well, I don’t have any blisters, no cuts, no injuries from Grays…just really, really sore muscles. Okay, well this might help with recovery. “Ok, sure.”  So at 8:00 a.m. we are off to Baldy or Sun Valley Ski Area, as most folks know it, to head off on a 2.5 mile hike of less than 1.5K vertical. According to SummitPost,

"Bald home not only to North America's first ski resort, but also includes exciting hiking terrain along with unbelievable scenery."
I've been skiing here for years, but really hadn't considering hiking it before. So we are off on our beautiful, leisurely hike, and then something happens to me.  
Carol leads
When we reach the “decision” point, it’s only a mere 2.5 more miles to the top…3,000 ft vertical total. And I can’t help myself…how can I be this close and not go to the summit? “I think we should go to the summit,” I announce. Well alright then. And we continue on. Past wildflowers, ski towers, memorials to loved ones ('s a great idea), and beautiful healthy trees.  We climb gently ever higher and make the summit 10 minutes ahead of pace.   
An example view.

But then I notice...we're at the "ski" top...not the summit. "I need to keep going, I will only be a few minutes." Neither Carol nor I had brought anything other than water. After all, we were hiking for 2 hours...that's it. "I really need to get something to eat, and I've been to the top oodles of times," the former Sun Valley ski patroller says. "Absolutely." So we decide that she will go down and I will go up and we'll rendezvous for coffee at the lodge. 

So I head up a fraction of a mile and a few feet more. From the top where there is an old lookout, I get views of yesterday's peaks from the west and can see my yesterday, Grays Peak, summit.  I photograph a few peaks of possible future interest and head down.

The Pioneers famous threesome
So this is the best part. If you hike up, you can ride down for free. First the chair lift and then the gondola. It was great. No stress on the knees...wonderful!! ...And it still counts as a peak. For now, I have been down numerous times, strapped to boards, and up the mountain once. It counts. Yeh, and it's all good.

No GPS, no stats. It was only supposed to be a little hike...What I do know is that turned out to be 5 miles, 3,000 ft, another bagged peak, and a fun time with one of my favorite friends. What an awesome weekend!!    
If you haven't considered it before, add hiking (or mountain biking) on Bald Mountain and a latte at the lodge to your bucket list.  
Chairlift Down
Gondola Down


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