A throbbing head was the first thing that welcomed me in the morning. I crawled out of my tent and made a huge pot of coffee. Snapdragon tried to pull me true it and after a while I did start to feel more alive but I knew this was going to bite me in the ass during Baden-Powell. Lipstick, Pedro and Dan took a head start but I needed a little more time to get myself together. Snapdragon would hitch until Little Jimmy Campground and wait for us there. Her achilles tendon was still hurting too much and she was afraid of making it worse by hiking up the mountain. An hour later than the others I made myself get moving. Barely a mile in I suddenly found cell reception and sat down to call my family. After losing another hour I got up again and just as I wanted to put on my backpack I met an older man hiking down the trail. We got to talking for half an hour and then he offered to walk me down to Vincent’s Gap, the parking lot where the climb to Baden-Powell starts. As we started walking I suddenly heard the sound of hoofs behind me. I turned around and finally got to see my first horses on the trail. I was so excited.
We headed on our way again and I found out that this man was a marine and volunteers for rescue missions on Mount Baldy and Mount Baden-Powell. In fact he got hurt really bad not long ago on Mount Baden-Powell during one of those rescues and was going through physical therapy for it. He had hiked it many times and gave me some excellent tips. It’s a mountain people use to train for Mount Whitney which sounded pretty good. We got to the parking lot and said our goodbyes at the trailhead. Interesting I would meet this man today, since he had also told me that once he got better, the first thing he would do was climb Baden-Powell again. Because he got hurt on there, he wanted to face his fear as soon as possible. And their I was, standing at the beginning of this beast of a mountain. 3000 feat up in barely 4 miles and something between 36 and 42 switchbacks.
It was absolutely brutal. It took me four hours getting to the top. I took a break at every single switchback, grasping for air and water. One mile away from the top I had only half a liter water left. I scooped up some snow and stuffed it in my water bottle. At the top, near the big tree that marks it, I passed out for a while.
I felt exhausted and empowered at the same time. I got back down and since it was already 5 PM I hurried down the pct. The Little Jimmy Campground was still six miles away and if I still wanted to reach it I had to plan on some nighthiking. I really wanted to because my friends were there and it was also the closest water source. I had barely a quarter of a liter left and the snow in my other bottle hadn’t melted yet. The trail went down very steep at first only to ofcourse go back up 800 feet. I was dying, my body was done for but I had to keep moving. This water issue had me worried big time. Halfway there I sat down and ate my dinner. I needed the energy. By that time all my water was gone but luckily a man passed me and offered me the last of his water since he was going down to a parking lot. It wasn’t much so I kept it in my pack for just in case I didn’t make it to the campground.
I did. Stopped at the Little Jimmy Spring right before it. Stocked up on water and ran towards Snapdragon. She and Lipstick babied me and helped me pitch my tent. I wasn’t feeling too bad though, probably because of the adrenaline, and happy to not have to worry about water anymore. I got there around 9 PM I think so I got in my tent and fell asleep instantly.