Verbum Dei High School freshmen and their intrepid leaders pose atop 9,399′ Mount Baden Powell in the Angeles National Forest near Wrightwood. (from left to right) Victor Apolinar, Adrian Pasillas, Joshua Lozano, Kenneth Reyes, John Stradley, Ana de Castro, Anthony Aguirre, and Jose Gutierrez climbed the rugged peak Saturday, May 17. Image by Mercedes Castro.
By John Stradley, Moderator, The Present Dei
Eight freshmen students and two teachers, some of whom had never experienced a wilderness hike, scaled the heights of Mt. Baden Powell, the fourth highest peak in the San Gabriel range of the Angeles National Forest on Saturday, May 17. The eight-mile hike traverses the northern facing slope of the rugged mountain through a series of lengthy switchbacks. All but two students hiked to the summit; one student strained his ankle within a mile and a half of the summit while yielding the right of way to hikers going uphill. He was aided in his descent by Alexis Maldonado, one of his classmates.
The hike rewarded the students and their leaders with inspiring views of the vast deserts to the north and northeast. Upon reaching the exposed ridgeline, hikers were treated to a dramatic vista of wilderness: the watershed formed by Mount Baldy (Mt. San Antonio) and other high ridgelines. Unfortunately, a haze covered much of the Los Angeles basin, so the urban sprawl and distant Catalina Island were obscured from view.
The view eastward from the exposed 9,000′ ridge of Mt. Baden Powell. Limber pines, which are estimated to be 1,500 years old, cling to existence at this windswept location. Students encountered a remnant of winter nearby with the discovery of a sliver of snow just off the main trail. Image by John Stradley, Moderator, The Present Dei