Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Mt San Jacinto Peak

I submitted my first big mountain!!
10, 834 ft

I started at 8,850 maybe that doesn't count as a summit ... but it was still a good hike!
My last day with David we took the tram up San Jacinto and while at the tram station I bought myself a season pass. It is officially way too hot for hiking in the desert (at least for me) and the tram offers a serene escape to forests, fresh air and 75 degree weather. I used my season pass Tuesday to accomplish a hike I have been wanting to do all year - the climb from the tram to the peak!
The photo above was taken almost at the peak and looks down on what I have hiked. I started over on the left side where the tram breaches the mountain. I think it is the third little mound from left to right. I then hiked all the way across to the right side for a view called Wellman's Divide (shown below), which is about 3 miles. Can you see that little meadow in the middle? That is Round Valley - a stunning field 2 miles in with a campground adjacent to it.

 From Wellman's Divide I went through a rocky pass  and then over some long switchbacks to where the above photo was taken.

Wellman's Divide - View on the right side

Wellman's Divide - view on the left side - see the mountains turn to desert?
 Round trip this was an 11 mile trek, with a 2,000 foot gain in elevation. Took me a good six hours including all my stops to admire the views. Towards the peak I kept stopping more and more frequently because it was hard to breathe. I'm not sure I have hiked that high before! I also had a bad headache which I attributed to dehydration even though I had downed a couple of bottles of water. It wasn't until I reached the emergency shelter just below the peak and flipped through the logbook where someone else complained of their head hurting that I realized it could be the fact that I went from sea level to 11,000 feet in 3 hours!

This hike was amazing though and I highly recommend it to anyone in so cal. The scenery changed with every mile and it was strenuous, but not extreme. Regardless the hike itself being great, the views from the peak made it well worth it. One side descends to the desert and the other sides into California forests and wine country. This solo six hour journey was just what my soul needed after a 74 hour week at the front desk!

Looking down on desert.

Some friends joined me for desert views!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Temecula Balloon and Wine Festival

Had a little outing last weekend to Temecula, a wine town just over an hour and a half away. It was my first Sunday off in a LONG time and I had seen ads for this hot air balloon and wine festival. Sadly, I didn't actually get to see a hot air balloons. They lit them up and had the balloons "dance" to music Friday and Saturday night, but not Sunday. Sunday morning they flew them at 6 am, but I had worked until 11 pm the night prior and it was going to take a lot more than beautiful balloons to make me get up at 4 am. I did get to taste some lovely wine though and got to keep the wine glass in the photo above.

The festival had plenty of cool vendors including the one above who made wicked crafts out of wine barrels. While I was there I spoke to a Golds Gym Booth and entered a raffle and guess who won?! I got a free 2 week pass along with a free nutrition consultation and personal training session. I also bought this cork crown for my mom, they were so cute I had to text her a pic and she wants to recreate them:

For the first hour of the festival I was really wishing David was there. What could be more romantic than a Wine and Hot Air Balloon Festival right?

So I did what lots of lonely people do; I drank a big ol' glass of Champagne and then took it to another level by watching a motorcross show with a crowd of rednecks (see below). By the end of that glass I was feeling much more optimistic about life and spent another few hours enjoying the festival solo without a care in the world.

The festival had many more treasures than I expected. I got to see the budweiser clydesdales parade and go to an exotic animal festival!

This is a Kookaburra - totally the highlight of my day!
After the festival I went home and hung out at my neighbor/co-worker Shannon's house. Her family is so kind to me and always tells me to come over whenever I want for food, the pool or a family environment. Feels good to have a second home = )