We set off from the parking area early on Sunday May 7th. The night before a dusting of 2" of new dry snow had fallen and the trail to the hut was a fairy wonderland with trees, manzanita and bayonet cactus covered in a heavy snow blown rehem (German for snow sticking to trees). The trail was bare and dry except for the crunchy powder from the night before. All of the way to the hut we hiked in and out of layers of mist and fog, occasionally catching breath taking glimpses of bright blue skies and brilliant sunshine on the white glistening bowls and peaks above.
At San Antonio Hut we rearranged gear, put on ski boots, and warmed by the wood-burning stove. We then began the long haul up the southern face of the bowl. We did some bushwhacking along the bowl ridge and peered down into several of the rock strewn cornices (Too steep and narrow for my liking) . Then onto the snow-covered Baldy Peak. We had lunch on the peak and watched 5 or 6 hikers with LARGE packs, ice axes and crampons pass by from the ski lift side.
Mark suggested that we ski over to West Baldy Peak and then do a tour along a western ridge before cutting back to Baldy Bowl. The snow conditions had softened into a nice corn crust with a firm base below. We all cut tight turns as we descended through trees with intermittent fog and sunshine.
The downhill run was very challenging and offered us all an opportunity to test our forward and backward skiing skills, tight jump turns, rook skiing and side slipping. After more bushwhacking, several mid-slope traverses, some trail scouting and a final decent into the valley bottom, we found ourselves at a beautiful stream and tumbling waterfall to refresh ourself at. We then caught a snow shoot that took us right to the top of the South Bowl, caught our breaths, and then carved beautiful sweeping turns back down to San Antonio Hut.
Hiking out the wind-blown snow had melted the trail was soggy and a drizzly fog persisted all the way to the cars, It was a beautiful windless day on Baldy day shared by the four skiers.