Acorn Trail and Sheep Mountain Wilderness, 9,468 Elevation, 11 miles and 3,000 ft elevation gain. The day started with hiking up, up, and up a private road to get to the trailhead which was almost a mile which means that adds almost 2 more miles to the posted 11 mile hike. Acorn Trail was 2.7 mi and an elevation gain of 1,500 ft. It was pretty steep and a little narrow in a few places but not any more difficult than what I have done in the past.
The group.We get to the top of Acorn Trail at the PCT intersection, take a break and then head out onto a fire road for a short while. I am sporting my new backpack, it’s bigger than the one I usually use. I am hoping this will be big enough for Mt.Whitney and I am carrying a heavier load in preparation for that trip.
We stop to take a look at the views and then I am told we are going to be hiking up the ridge of this huge mountain. I think he is kidding. He asks me if I read the Meetup description and of course I did but I didn’t remember exactly what it said and certainly didn’t see that this was an advanced hike as I would soon find out.So as I feel I am an optimist, most of the time, I continue and look forward to the challenge as an opportunity to once again get out of my comfort zone as that is why I am here. But before we reach the next trail head, Sheep Mountain Wilderness area, we stop to take a look over the edge and we are greeted with a nice surprise, a Big Horn Sheep in the distance.And a beautiful view of the High Desert.
Back on the trail we start up the trail to the top, we have another two miles to go and another 1,500 ft. The next mile was down a steep trail and then up again. I will let the pictures tell story.
So back to my decision to stop and head back down. Two hikers out of the 11 had already decided they were done, I figured I could catch up to them as they were not to far ahead of me. The way down was just as tough as the way up and a very slow go. When I stopped to take my last photo my mind had already decided it was done. I sat there for a minute trying to get myself together as my adrenaline was at a high. I had reached the edge of my circle of move closer, stay longer. I decided to go with my gut feeling of I am done. So I headed down the hill. I stopped at one point and noticed Kira also heading back down the hill so I decided to wait for her as we should always stay together. So we head down the hill and we catch up to Mark and Veronica who found a nice place to have some lunch. Kira and I decided to hike down a little further to a warmer place and wait for them. The four of us hiked down to the PCT/Acorn junction to wait for the others to come down. It was a two hour wait. So we chatted about hikes and life and kids and had snacks.
The others get back and I notice Angel is missing. She had turned back about 10 minutes after Kira. We never saw her. She had been seen by a man and his son and they had pointed her in the right direction. We made a plan and headed back down the hill and called 911 on our way down, lucky to have cell phone and a signal. By the time we got down the hill Mark had received a phone call and she had been found by two hikers. I don’t know the whole story yet, but I am glad she was found. I am not sure how she got lost. With my horseback riding experience I am always aware of my surroundings, landmarks so that I don’t get lost. This was a close call. A helicopter was about ready to fuel up and take off to go look for her.
Even though I didn’t get to the top I was super happy with what I did accomplish on this hike. My first advanced hike and I didn’t even know it. I met some knew hikers and we all took some great pictures. A few of my favorites.