Sunday, November 16, 2014

San Jacinto Peak - Palm Springs Vacation Day 1

My game plan was to set the tone for this vacation right from the get-go.  I bought my ticket for the first Tram ride up at 8:00am a week ago to help up the anticipation.  I also wanted to make sure I could get on that one, to give myself enough time to complete the hike in daylight hours. To reach San Jacinto Peak, the second highest Peak in Southern California and the highest Peak in the San Jacinto Mountains, you first have to drive up 7.5 kms along the winding, steep, narrow road then ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway up 4 kms, then cover about 800 meters of elevation gain over 8.7 kms with the majority of the gain coming over the last few kms.  The final 15-20 minutes involved route-finding, scrambling/scrabbling through a gigantic boulder field then you pop out on top! Are you with me?

There were only 14 of us on the 8:00am Tram, I was happy about that, this thing can hold up to 80.  After hiking for 15 minutes, I arrived at the Ranger Station where I obtained a permit to access San Jacinto Wilderness State Park.  What a beautiful area!  The trail was mostly well signed and mostly obvious.  It was lined with large trees and gigantic boulders. Even the pine cones were humongous.  After awhile openness happened and I could see forever.  I had no idea what I was seeing but I liked it a lot.  I also liked that the 14 of us were spread out so I felt like I owned the trail. 

I shared the last route finding section with four young guys and an elderly gentleman.  We summit together with hoots & hollers.  We took turns securing our summit shots then moved aside to admire the beauty, snap shots and of course dine.  They all packed up and left before me. I stayed several more minutes then began the descent.  It paid to go early.  On my way down, I met a multitude of folks ascending.  

What a spectacular day!  It was a nice transition from the cold of Calgary.  The whole day of hiking was cold, not as cold as Calgary but cold enough for pants, gloves, icebreaker and jacket.  I hear the snow will come soon to San Jacinto Peak.  I was pleasantly depleted by the time I arrived back to my suite. After only 30 hours of being in Palm Springs, I was feeling at home!




2 comments:

  1. A very impressive feat from looking at the google maps. Beautiful blue sky and views. Awesome summit shot.

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