Archive for May, 2012

I didn’t expect to hike on Sunday after my 14.5 mile hike in the San Gorgonio Wilderness on Saturday with Shana.  But when I heard that my mom was planning on doing the Dripping Springs Trail in the Agua Tibia Wilderness which I’ve always wanted to do, I asked her if I could come along.  When she said sure, I quickly reorganized my hiking gear on Saturday night for my early Sunday morning departure.  The trailhead is in the Dripping Springs campground, off of Highway 79 in Temecula.  We started around 9 a.m. in a canyon dotted with Sycamore trees.  But the vegetation quickly changed to chaparral.  At the fork one could make a left and take the Wild Horse trail.  We stayed to our right to take the Dripping Springs trail.

Wildflowers along the trail

It was a beautiful day and I enjoyed the Mediterranean-like weather and views of the wineries and lush, green canyons.  As we gained elevation, we could see San Jacinto and San Gorgonio to the north.  My mom’s original plan was to do a 14-mile out and back hike, but when she mentioned that one can also combine trails to make a 20-mile loop hike, I suggested that we do that instead.   Once we got onto the Palomar Magee trail, the vegetation got dense.  My friend did this hike a few years ago and he returned with a lot of ticks.  Sure enough, my mom and I were taking ticks off our hiking pants and stopping every once in a while for a tick check.  At this point, my enjoyment level plummeted.

Looking towards Palomar Mountain range

When we finally reached an open dirt road, we made a right and continued until we got to a gate with a No Trespassing sign.  But we didn’t see the main trail.  My mom and I thought about what to do and if we went back, our hike would definitely be more than 20 miles.  I decided to just trespass and find the main road back to the highway.  Well, that was one of three No Trespassing signs we saw/crawled under.  I don’t know how many private properties we hiked into and I don’t have any pictures to post because I was too scared to take pictures.  We did pass some vineyards and trailer homes but we didn’t want to disturb the residents and dogs for fear of prosecution.

Private property winery

We kept wondering how and where we missed the Wild Horse trail, but at that point there was no use in wasting our energy thinking about that.  We had to focus on finding the highway.  Eventually we saw the road.  It was a long walk back to the campground on pavement and I’m sure we were the talk of many drivers.

Along Highway 79

I think my mom and I learned a few things from this experience:

1)      We obviously didn’t pay attention during the

Land Navigation course

2)      Always have a copy of the map

3)      I should be an expert with my GPS

4)      Stick to the original plan

I’m glad we returned safely to the car.  Surprisingly after our 9.5 hour hike I still had enough energy to make a stop at Trader Joe’s for Stockyard Oatmeal Stout and Lindeman’s Peche Lambic Belgian beer.  By the way, I prefer the Framboise.

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He did it!  Byron Cook, my coworker and hiking buddy, completed the infamous Cactus to Clouds hike on Saturday, May 19, 2012.  But here is the twist.  Instead of going back down to the tram he went back to the Humber Park trailhead in Idyllwild.  The plan was for me to meet him and his friends at San Jacinto Peak and then he and I would go back to Humber Park together.  That was the plan, but it didn’t happen that way.  Byron started at 4 a.m. while I picked up my friend Shana at 5:30 a.m. in San Diego.  By 8:11, Shana and I were on the Devil’s Slide Trail.  I calculated that we would reach the peak around 12:30 pm and Byron would get there around 1 pm.  We took our time getting to the peak knowing that we would get there before him.  The trails were crowded that day as the weather conditions were perfect.  And in the second time of my hiking career we were stopped at Saddle Junction by a volunteer who was checking for permits.  Luckily, we had ours.  We took a short break at the junction and then continued on.  I was carrying a lot of weight this time as I had lots of water and a special treat for Byron and Co. (Starbucks espresso shots).  The hike, as always, was gorgeous.  I never tire of coming here, as it has a special place in my heart.  We took another break at Wellman’s Saddle.  One meets a lot more hikers here as this is the approach from the tram station.  After our break, we continued on.  Shana took her time as she had a few nasty blisters on her feet.  Finally, I got to the peak around 12:30 p.m.  The place was packed!  I had never seen so many people at the top in my life!  I searched for Byron and Starla, but I didn’t see them.  Shana and I were there for quite a while until finally we saw Starla approaching the peak a little after 2:15 pm.  She made it!  She informed me that Byron was at least an hour behind her.  After taking the obligatory pictures, Shana and I decided to hike back down with Starla and we would eventually meet Byron.  Sure enough, we saw him.  He looked tired but determined to make it to the peak.  I told him that we would wait for him back at Humber Park.  As he continued on to his destination, we hiked back down with Starla.  At Wellman’s Divide we said our goodbyes and I gave her another espresso shot for her drive to San Diego.  Shana and I and another group of hikers continued on to Humber Park.  Well, later that Saturday evening we saw Byron coming down the trail into the Humber Park parking lot.  Yes, he did it.  I was hoping to do an interview with him but he declined and used the word “miserable.”  Saturday evening at dinner and Sunday morning he was still walking and carrying on great conversations.  Congratulations, Byron.

One of my favorite views in southern California

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