Day 33: Near climb to Mt. Baden-Powell (Mile 373)-Kratka Ridge (Mile 389.5); 16.5 miles
After a short morning descent, we climbed 2800 feet in 3.6 miles to reach the summit of Mt Baden-Powell. Mountains surrounded us on all sides, except to the north where the Mojave Desert stretched flat to the horizon. It was an amazing view of what lay ahead for us on the Pacific Crest Trail.
Near the summit we found gnarled, slow-growing limber pine trees. This species can survive in very harsh conditions for up to 2000 years.
A few miles later, tired from the climb and with our bellies growling for lunch, we passed a hiker resting at a trail junction next to a sign. We were focused on finding a good shady lunch spot, so we glanced briefly at the sign and continued walking. About a mile farther down the trail, things didn’t feel right. The trail was dropping faster than it should and the highway had become visible too soon. Sure enough, the GPS on our phones showed we were off the PCT.