Mountainside Camp (375.8) to Buckhorn Campground (394.0)

18.2 miles

The last night had been as expected. Gusts of wind were shaking my tent all night while I stayed in one single position afraid of sliding down the mountain. I probably could sleep about two hours at once before the heavy winds woke me up again. I was very proud of my tent though – my castle that withstood just about anything!

As I wanted to summit a mountain I was aiming for an early start and got up with the birds. I felt very noisy when I unpacked all my food to have breakfast in the tent. Whatever! I couldn’t change it. After breakfast I packed up and disappeared into the bushes for a while. Then it was time to go. I had packed my microspikes handy for the climb but didn’t need them for the first snowcrossings. As soon as there seemed to be snow all around I put them on. The additional traction gave me security. I was hiking up the mountain all by myself and from last nights campsite it was about three miles to the summit. Baden-Powell seemed to be a lot steeper than San Jacinto. Thankfully the steepest part was the beginning without snow. As soon as the snow appeared I had an eye on the potential runout of a fall and it wasn’t too bad. At least at the beginning. The trail went up in endless switchbacks but once there was only snow there was just one way left: straight up the mountain. I followed a group of three other hikers in the distance so I had no trouble navigating and could concentrate on my steps. With the microspikes I had a good foothold on the still frozen snow and was never close to sliding. Not even while going up the steep face of the mountain.

Strange enough the last part of the ridge to the summit wasn’t covered in snow. But I kept my microspikes in all the time. The last part up was extremely steep again and I breathed heavily in the thin air. Then it was done! The four of us quickly shooted to the summit flag to get a photo. And then another one from the monument. Other than that it was way too windy and cold up there to feel comfortable and stay longer.

We picked the ridge for the way down which would eventually join the PCT. Again the snowy patches were no problem for me. It was a lot of downhill and along the mountain until the snow finally disappeared. It was warm and I stored my puffy as well as my microspikes in my pack. Time to get down to the spring!

Eight miles into the day I arrived as Little Jimmy Springs – a nice place with water and some logs to sit on. I met the Czech couple from last night again and we decided to stay for an extended lunch break. But my plans for the day were big. I wanted to get the mountainous section done as there might be some rain tomorrow. Maybe the heavy winds throughout the day were a sign of the weather change.

However, as I had done more miles the day before I could do some more miles today, right? So I aimed at least at a campsite past the roadwalk. At the end of today I had to hike 2.7 miles along the Angeles Crest Highway – a detour off trail to protect the Mountain yellow-legged frog which was endangered.

But before that roadwalk I had to climb up and down another mountain and so it’s no wonder my knees and feet started aching during the day. I have to give them a massage tonight! What a big day! Finally I arrived at Buckhorn Campground and joined Roselyn and Robert – an older couple from Australia – at their campsite. Our food is savely stored in a bear box for tonight. Hopefully I don’t get hungry!

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