Saturday, August 16, 2014
Hike 2014.045 -- San Antonio Falls Road to Baldy Notch
Hike on up around the gated entry to San Antonio Falls Road. On the day I went, there were two porta-potties right near the gate. No other facilities (except for the trees, themselves) until you reach the Notch.
At the base of the falls is a whole lot of gravel and rock shards. Last week, the water would have come gushing over the falls, and there was no greenery immediately at the base. But there were bushes not all that far down. They handled the deluge, I guess.
By this time, I had already pretty much determined that I wasn't going to try for the summit this day, so I took my time at the falls, shooting plenty of pictures. It's a short spur (maybe 1/10th of a mile?) from the road to the base of the falls.
The trail here is now a dirt road, wide enough for the SUVs and occasional truck that services the ski lift and structures up at the Notch to drive on up here.
After a total of 9/10ths of a mile from the gate, there's a non-obvious trail that takes off from the road and heads up on the left. That's the most direct trail to the Baldy summit. I chose NOT to take that turnoff, and, instead, continued on the Notch.
When you cross over from the west side of the canyon to the east side, you cross right under the ski lift that provides an alternate route up to the Notch. I think I've only ridden the lift once, and that's when I hiked with friends back in college.
During the summer months, the lifts run Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes, the operators have "moonlight hikes" and dinner/show combo tickets. I've also seen them offered on Groupon, although the one time I bought that, I never managed to navigate their website successfully to use the coupons, and ended up requesting a refund.
Near the end, you pass a road that provides an alternate (and longer) route up to the top. I also saw a small man-made lake in the pocket down below, which I assume they maintain to power their snowmaking equipment in the winter time.
I then returned to the top of the lift, where the Notch restaurant is located. Because I was going to use their facilities and sit on their table, I felt an obligation to buy a drink here.
Decent workout, and the cap to a very active week. In addition to wrapping up my jury duty on a very long trial, I also squeezed in three other hikes that week. It's the most hiking in a week I have managed in a long time. I am now even further behind in my hike blogging, so I'll try to fit some time to blog those earlier hikes over the next week or two.