|Trailhead||Round Valley Trailhead|
Before I get into the log, just a quick note that I made an error on my San Bernardino Peak hike being my Peak Number Three hike, and it was actually Peak Number Four. There’s a bit of history that goes along with my hike up to Mount San Jacinto. It’s bittersweet with an ending that was all submlime as can be. My first attempt this year was via The Devil’s Slide Trail. I did one too many conditioning hikes during the week leading up to the hike, and my legs didn’t get enough recovery time. I also thought I was completely over a cold, but discovered that there was still a trace left in me, which gave me some respiratory problems when I did the hike. Not having my full leg strength, along with respiratory problems while hiking at altitude was a recipe for disaster. As a result, I had to abort the mission around the 2-mile mark. It struck a blow with my hiking achievements this year. I was majorly disappointed. I spent 90 bucks on a room for Friday night in Idyllwild, and did a lot of preparation to get into what I thought was great physical shape to do this hike, and it all fell through. It took a while to get over the failure and I kept telling myself what my hiking friends kept telling me: The mountain ain’t going nowhere.
Eventually I did get over it and lined up another date to do the hike. This time it would be via what’s called ‘The Tram Route’, or the Round Valley Trailhead. It was going to be on a Friday, a workday for me which I took time off for. I work in IT and my team is basically me and one other guy. The other guy gets fired the Wednesday before my Friday hike. So, being the stand-up guy that I am, I asked my boss if it would create a big impact to still have the Friday off. In a nutshell, he said he would appreciate it if I could work that Friday which I wound up doing. BOOM! Down goes my second attempt to do San J, and out the window goes a non-refundable 70 bucks for a Thursday night room in Palm Springs. That old saying pops into my head once again: The mountain ain’t going nowhere. Yeah but this was August 25th, and I only have about a month left to do San J and also San G. HELP!
The third time’s the charm as they say, and Friday, September 1, 2017, the beginning of Labor Day weekend, was the day that I summited Mount San Jacinto Peak. It was via the Round Valley Trailhead, it was only an 11-mile hike (only??), but I finally bagged this peak! I guess some of the hiking purists might take issue with the Tram Route but for me, taking the tram was part of the whole great experience. It’s a beautiful ride, especially when you’re going back down at night and in a full moon. You also get a bar, and great food to celebrate your hike at the end of an awesome day. And…you also get clean, flushing toilets. I’ll take it!
This was also by far the most beautiful hike in the challenge. San B was also beautiful, but San J is just gorgeous. I was also blown away by the drastic temperature change between Palm Springs (114 degrees) and Mountain Station (72 degrees). Even more so at the suummit. There was even a wind chill of about 65 degrees at the saddle! I can see now why it’s not that big of a deal to do this hike in the middle of summer. The amount of oxygen in the air must be different here than in the San Gorgonio Wilderness. I got light headed a couple of times on this hike and dizzy just before I did the scramble to the summit. I did not feel any altitude symptoms like this when I did San B, other than the heavier breathing. The difference in altitude between the two peaks is only about 185 feet. I’m hoping to not feel any of these symptoms when we do San G this coming Saturday. Below are the hiking stats:
Total Length: 16.5 Miles
Elevation Gain: 3,000 ft
Start Time: 11:40am
Hiking Time: 6 hours
Total (Elapsed) Time: 7 hours, 20 minutes
Ascent Time: 3.5 hours
Descent Time: 2.5 hours
Temperatures: Begin – 72 degrees, Summit – 77 degrees, End – 77 degrees