Saddleback and Saddleback Horn
6.8 miles (47.4 total hiked)
2,752’ elevation gain (16,424’ total gained)
This hike was a blast. Had a friend join which levels up the fun right off the bat usually. We opted to take the quick but strenuous route up the ski resort rather than the longer approach on the AT. I’d have preferred the latter because there’s some cool features on that trail, but the mountain is nearly a 3 hour drive from home and I needed to save time somewhere. Would definitely come back for a summer trip at some point.
We meandered quite a bit in the beginning trying to find the proper trail. You could choose any of the ski trails and they all ultimately lead to the summit, but we wanted to stick as close as possible to the pre-determined route online. We mostly stuck to the uphill skinning trail with some short bouts on the ski trails themselves. Snowshoes the whole way which made life easier and harder simultaneously. Really cool trail to the top though.
The ridge is incredible, but the conditions were brutal. Very slick, very slushy, very wet, and very cold feet. Once again it got to the point where our shoes couldn’t get any more wet so we just started wading through slush and puddles rather than trying to get around them. It was some of the coldest water I’ve ever experienced and each dunk elicited a comment. All laughs though.
This trail being an out-and-back called for the majority of the hard work on that ridge as there was a fair bit of steepness on either side of the col. We made pretty quick workout of it though and rewarded ourselves by “skating” down the ski trails in our boots. Snow was a little too tacky to butt slide but we had some good speed sliding on our heels. Got blasted by the sun and am rocking a serious neck/face tan already this year.