It’s a beautiful sunny day atop Mt. Baden-Powell, one of the crowns of the San Gabriels and named after the founder of the Boy Scout movement, Lord Baden-Powell. The summit is sandy rock dotted with ancient limber pines. To the north, the Mojave Desert stretches out as a vast, flat, tan-colored blanket striped with roads cut as perfectly straight lines. To the south, a fluffy cover of clouds obscures the view towards Los Angeles and the ocean. All around the immediate base of the summit are a number of lesser peaks covered in sandy gravel and freckles of evergreens.
I’ve been pretty much on my own over the past several days. I encountered only Billy Goat and Captain America yesterday and so far today have not seen thru-hikers. Last night, seeking the company of people to camp with, I finished my day at a group campsite. There with me were a large group of Vietnamese boy scouts and a smaller group of Nepalese folks. The campsite supervisors invited me to their campfire and the three of us talked until 10 p.m. over hot coffee and yogurt with granola, fruit and chocolate. Such kindness from strangers is common along the trail.