This was my first trip back into the mountains after taking much of the summer off. Not going to lie to you, my legs did not appreciate hiking up the ski trails at Saddleback.
This was also my first time hiking up a mountain via ski trails. I won’t say I prefer ski trails over regular trails but it was a nice change. If I had the choice between the two I think I’d stick with regular trails.
Ski trails are nice as you can see exactly where you are going and there is a large swath cut out of the mountain showing you the way. Since you’re not in tree cover there’s generally some pretty spectacular views to be had while climbing.
However, there is no respite from the constant elevation grade. This is brutal on the ankles and calves on the way up and equally as brutal on the knees and toes on the way down. Regular trails aren’t always easy on the joints, but hiking a regular trail is more akin to climbing a very long staircase whereas climbing up ski trails is more akin to walking up a very steep (and long) street. The two work the legs differently.
This trip was a lot of fun and as much as I complain about the grade it wasn’t all that bad. This would actually be a great way to introduce new hikers to hiking a proper mountain with 360 views from the summit.
Speaking of 360 views from the summit, we’ve got another this time around. I took one from both Saddleback and The Horn but the Saddleback photo set didn’t stitch right and we’ve got a multi-dimension plane of existence thing going on.