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Mount Baden-Powell

25 May 1968

By: Miriam Romero

Leaders: Ben and Miriam Romero

Seldom does a beginning hiker have the opportunity to hike with other people who are as inexperienced as he, or whose pace is as slow. However, on the HPS hike to Mt. Baden-Powell for beginners and newcomers on Saturday, May 25, 40 hikers were able to do just that. They were able for the first time to reach a mountain summit with a group. All but one made the summit.

The group met at Vincent Gap. The day's activities began with a discussion by Miriam Romero on the philosophy of the Sierra Club and the purpose of the HPS with stress being placed on the HPS as a group interested in exploring and enjoying the southern California mountains (as indicated in the by-laws and purposes of the group) rather than being solely a peak-bagging group. Then, Miriam demonstrated and explained the use and need for each of the ten essentials. There was a question and answer period regarding equipment.

Following this, Ben gave a fascinating historical discussion of the mountain. Perhaps not many HPS-ers realize that $200,000 in gold was removed from the Big Horn mine at the foot of the mountain. The Boy Scouts first came into the picture on May 30, 1931 when the mountain was renamed from North Baldy to Mt. Baden-Powell to honor the founder of the Boy Scouts. In 1942 the Silver Moccasin Trail was built, extending 53 miles from Chantry Flats to Mt. Baden-Powell. It is also of interest to note that the first plaque placed by the Scouts disappeared. The Boy Scouts raised $2,000 for a new plaque. Over a period of nine week-ends the Scouts carried 30-pound sacks of cement and 68 five-gallon water cans up the four-mile trail. All in all, 18,400 pounds of material and equipment were carried by hand and back to the summit. The final dedication was held on Sept. 28, 1957 at 2 p.m.

The trek up the trail to the summit was leisurely so all could enjoy the warm sunny day enhanced by blue skies. There was time for visiting, picture-taking, snacks, some bird-watching, and time to observe the plant and animal life in the Canadian Life Zone. The importance of Ecology as the WHY of conservation was discussed by the leaders. The summit was reached around noon. An hour's enjoyment of the view was allowed and all were back to the car by 3:30 p.m. All enjoyed the hike and many commented on the pleasure they felt in reaching a peak. Again it was stressed at the end of the trail that that hikes are only a means to an end and by becoming primarily a peak-bagger, one short-changes himself in true enjoyment of the outdoors.

The outing seemed to be needed and popular and perhaps the HPS could run an easy hike for beginners and newcomers in each schedule.

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