A huge amount of gratitude and big thanks to my friends Michael and Lindsey A. from PA. They bought the peak, food for the trip, and the burrito and horchata at La Casita. Thank you both for keeping me outdoors!
As per usual, the mountains were calling. Well actually it was my friend texting me to see about hiking to the summit of San Jacinto, so of course I answered. We planned an over night trip with the summit included in the first day. We started our trip from the Idyllwild side opting to park at the Humber Park trailhead. We got a good start at 0900 and stayed in the shade until after we reached Sadd
The climb up Devil's Slide Trail is always a great warm up. A few small patches of snow hiding in the north shadows but all in all clear. Saddle Junction was patchy but the parting trees gave us warm sunshine in between the towering old growth pines. The Willow Creek Trail leads to its namesake, which was flowing with clear, delicious water. This side of the trail is warmer and more exposed from f
Hidden Lake is one of the gems of the San Jacinto Mountains. The lake is a montane vernal pool which forms when runoff from rain and snow accumulate in an impermeable granitic basin. Soils and sediments have blocked all avenues for water to escape underground so it pools at the surface. This is very rare to find at lower latitudes. On the far side is a desert view point that shows the expanse of t
Once we started heading northwest towards Long Valley the snow started covering the trail again. The trail follows a gentle contour for the next couple of miles through thick trees along open meadowland. The only thing cramping our style was the slushy snow on the path. Along the way are trail junctions tback to the tramway and other campsites. Oddly enough there are even random pitted toilets in
Our first stop was Wellman Divide where we arrived to the junction with the Wellman Cienega connector trail. This section was also well covered in patches of snow but well consolidated. As we started reaching portions of the trail that get more sunlight the more dirt would appear under our feet. This really helped as by this point we were over 9,700' and already feeling the effects of the altitude
The spring day offered sunlight without the direct sun later in the afternoon as we carved the last few switchbacks to the summit junction. During the morning and early afternoon the portion of the route get really hot and exposed. Most shrubs and very little trees along this stretch but it allows for some big wide open views. This is also where we started to feel the altitude squeeze so we starte
If this photo looks a lot like the last that because this is how slow we were going. Seriously, we were snails. I could hear my heart in my head and would stop every few minutes. My friend was in the same boat, we were unimpressed with our output but laughing about it all the while. We finally reached the junction to the summit and took a quick break and took our packs off. Then we were off to the
On our way up we even stopped in to see the inside of the snow shelter. The trail was still mainly under snow but well worn. We made it to the top with ease. I had brought microspikes but didn't find them necessary. We hung out for just a few minutes before heading back down. Surprisingly there was just a lght breeze on the summit, probably a steady 5 mph with no gusts. This, if you've ever been o
After a mostly all uphill day and reaching to almost 11,000', we were spent. A mile an a third of downhill switchbacks and we would be to our tenting area. We were worked. I was feeling a little more spry from the high of just summiting the peak, but my partner was a little banged up. On a break I grabbed the tent poles and put them in my pack along with the tent body and footprint I was already c
We didn't sleep much. She was cold all night and I needed more oxygen. I rested at best. The temperature dropped considerably but I had stayed pretty warm and snug. One thing about living near the beach is it's a lot harder to acclimate quickly to high altitude. So that night my body kept me awake so that my heart rate would be fast enough for me to breathe more air. We are strange little machines
It was our intent to join the PCT and take it back to Saddle Junction so we could go down Devil's Slide Trail back to the car. What really happened was we terrain drifted and were thinking of hot food so we inadvertently stayed on the Deer Springs Trail downhill to its trailhead on Highway 243 on the north side of Idyllwild. Neither one of us had been on this trail either but it was quicker and sh
Soon the wooshing of cars and the barking of dogs could be heard, in fact they drowned out my growling stomach. I made it to the road just a couple of minutes before my friend and took a 5 minute break to talk over our plan to get back to the car and which restaurant we wanted to put out of business. We settled on walking into town and going to La Casita for lunch. One of my hiker family was nice
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