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Mt. Baden-Powell Attempt, and the Mormon Rocks – July 13, 2008

Sunday, August 1st, 2010 by

So, it was a warm day, and I had wanted to go hiking the weekend, so I sent out email to the normal suspects, and Erin, Ben, and Tucker expressed an interest in heading out to Baden-Powell. I don’t recall precisely why I picked this one, but it seemed like a reasonable idea at the time. None of us wanted to get up *that* early, so we didn’t really get started on the trail until about noon. Unfortunately, our hike was cut short by rain, but it did give us the opportunity to stop at the Mormon Rocks, one of those places I always Mean To Stop At, but never quite make it to, since we’re always tired coming home, and they’d never been enough of a destination in their own right. Anyway, onwards!



We drove up to Baden-Powell from the east side, as the road was still closed then, and parked, and began up the trail. We knew the weather was potentially a little iffy, but decided to risk it anyway. The first 3+ miles of the hike are all under good tree cover, so we weren’t overly worried. We set out, and headed up the trail. It was humid and wet smelling, but really pleasant under the trees. Along the way we ran into a lot of other people heading back down, who hadn’t been anywhere near as lazy as we had early in the morning. However, as we progressed past the first few of the switchbacks, the weather was definitely taking a turn for the ominous.

oh, such fun

We kept going, and it started to rain a bit. No worries, we thought, it was still plenty warm, and in July, none of us had seen rain for long enough that we actually were enjoying it. There was still a good bit of time before we got up to the exposed ridge + summit. However, as we kept moving, suddenly what had been mild rain turned into some pretty crazy thunder and lightning. Now, I like a good thunderstorm as much as the next kid, and really have experience very few of them since moving away from New England, but you really don’t want to be out on exposed stony ridges near the top of mountains during them. Doesn’t really help with the longevity. So, sadly, we turned around. (we might maybe might have thought about it, but there was a lightning flash followed by some thunder less than a second later, and that was just a bit too close for comfort).

You can see that the lot got a bit wet.

Anyway, we went back down the road a few miles, where it was hot and clear (ah. mountains, with their localized weather patterns!) and took the opportunity to play for a bit on the Mormon Rocks. These are heaping piles of cemented sandstone that are (I just now read) much more resistant to erosion than everything else around them, so there they stay, while the alluvial wash around it keeps going down. They have all sorts of crazy layers and holes and whatnot in them, and are always fascinating to look at.

One of the structures.

Erin, Tucker and I meandered out across the wash, valiantly trying to avoid spiky and otherwise ornery desert plants, and made our way over to the base of the structures. From further away, they look like they would be really easy to climb, and in some ways they are, but they are fairly rounded, but more to the point they are super gritty and could wreck your hands pretty quickly (not to mention your clothes!), so we were looking for sections we could more or less walk up, with just a bit of handwork. So, the long and the short is that we didn’t make it up particularly far (and to be fair/whiny, it was also rather hot out) so we just took what we could reasonably easily get, and sat there a bit and surveyed what we could see. Which involved some random cars in the wash, the not far off road, and then a train coming through! For some reason, trains always bring out the little kid in all of us. Moreover, we could see the stormclouds way over on one side of the horizon, though it was almost entirely clear where we were.

Tucker staring off

After scrambling back down, we checked out the base a bit more, then scooted back to the cars, having had an all around good, if slightly unexpected, day.

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