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!

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