Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Idyllwild’ Category

Being unemployed has its perks.  For one, I can go hiking during the middle of the week and not have to worry about the crowds.  A friend and I took advantage of my current situation and went to Idyllwild last Thursday to hike in the San Jacinto Wilderness.  The area had a fire a couple of months ago and I wanted to see how the trails were affected.  Currently one cannot hike to San Jacinto Peak via Humber Park.  I wondered how they blocked off the trails.  So we left San Diego on a faux-fallish morning and arrived to the ranger station around 9 a.m.  They were closed for the day so I couldn’t talk to anyone about the current trail conditions.  But I did notice on the door that if you go to San Jacinto Peak from Saddle Junction, you will be fined $5000!  Holy smokes!  Our plan was to do an out and back hike to Tahquitz Peak.  Once we had our gear together and layered up we hit the trail.  My friend had just returned from hiking in Peru so she was glad to be back on the trail.  It was windy and cold, but at least the sun was out and occasionally a sea of clouds would roll in, but then quickly roll back out.  I took lots of pictures as I’m fond of sea of clouds images.

View from Devil's Slide Trail

View from Devil’s Slide Trail

While on the trail I did the usual self-reflection and wondered about the many possibilities which lay ahead.  And then I got to Saddle Junction.  The different trails that were currently closed off had yellow caution tape around the trees.  I took lots of pictures for my hiking friends back in San Diego.

$5000 fine if you pass the tape!

$5000 fine if you pass the tape!

We took a break and then continued on to the tower.  We passed a volunteer ranger and got a chance to talk about the current conditions.  He said the trail to San Jacinto Peak might not reopen until next year.  He also mentioned that last Saturday he counted 70 people on the trail to Tahquitz since that was the only one open via Humber Park!  We continued on knowing that we would see him again at the tower.

We are almost there Frodo!

We are almost there Frodo!

And then we were there.  And someone was inside!  To let us in from the cold!  I had been to the tower many times before, but I’ve never actually gone inside!  This was a real treat for me.  There was a desk, a bed, a stove, books, sign-in sheets, cooking supplies, everything a volunteer could need while checking for fires.

A humble adobe

A humble adobe

We talked with the volunteer for half an hour while we ate our lunch and then he gave us each a card saying that we climbed Tahquitz Peak Lookout Tower and thus we were recognized as members of the “Ancient and Honorable Order of Squirrels.”

View from the tower

View from the tower

I suggested to my friend that instead of going back the way we came, that we should take the South Ridge Trail and then hook onto the Ernie Maxwell Trail back to Humber Park.  That would make it a loop hike for us.  She happily agreed and off we went.  Descending down the trail was amazing since there were a lot of rolling clouds over the valley.  Of course I couldn’t stop taking pictures.

Sea of clouds

Sea of clouds

And before we knew it we were back at the quiet parking lot taking a break before the drive back to San Diego.  I thought of all the hikes I could do during the week and I thanked someone/something that despite not having work I can go hiking.

Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »

We spent the long holiday hiking in the Laguna Mountains and the San Jacinto Mountains.  It was very windy in the Laguna Mountains, but the wildflowers were beautiful.  In San Jacinto, we took the South Ridge Trail to Tahquitz Tower for the first time.  It was extremely cold, windy, and wet.  Here are some pictures.  I hope you were able to get out too.

Laguna Meadows

Wildflowers

On the South Ridge Trail

Read Full Post »

We had friends visiting from London early this month.  With just a week on our hands it was difficult deciding where to take them and what to see.  Fortunately, we managed to explore the trails of Torrey Pines State Park, we scrambled over boulders in Joshua Tree National Park, we had amazing views while in the San Jacinto mountains, and we hiked up to Mt. Woodson.  Oh, and I took them to their first baseball game!  Overall, it was a great trip with wonderful friends.

Torrey Pines State Park

On the Maze Trail at Joshua Tree National Park

Near Split Rock Trail

Looking south towards Lilly Rock in the San Jacinto Mountains

Taking pictures of pretty flowers on Mt. Woodson

At Petco Park for Padres vs. Dodgers game!

Read Full Post »

View east towards San Gabriels

My hiking partner and I spent Christmas weekend in Idyllwild.  Christmas Day was spent hiking towards Tahquitz Peak.  And on Sunday we tried a new trail, the Black Mountain Trail.  Yes, it is steep and strenuous in some sections, but well worth the views of San Gorgonio. 

San Gorgonio from the Black Mountain Trail

Read Full Post »

I am thankful for being able to hike in such a beautiful place on Thanksgiving Day.

San Jacinto Wilderness

 

Winter Wonderland

Read Full Post »

San Gorgonio. That’s where we want to be on Thanksgiving Day. So to prep for that hike I wanted to do something strenuous. I had never approached San Jacinto from the Marion Mountain Trail and a couple of friends told me that it was steep and more strenuous than the approach from Humber Park. We left San Diego a little after 6:30am on Saturday and reached Idyllwild around 8:30am. We picked up a permit at the ranger station and drove to the trail head. There were only about 4 other cars at the parking lot which lead me to believe that this trail probably doesn’t get much use. We started are ascent around 9:00am. My thermostat read 50, but we warmed up quickly. The description I read of this trail is true; it’s shaded with pine trees and steep.

View looking west

 We spotted ice in a few areas and even took pictures of ice formations on the stream. Thankfully, no crampons were necessary.

Icy stream

When we reached the junction to the peak, my mom decided that she did not want to go to the top as it was usually crowded. So we took a break just below the hut and then headed back down. And we made it back for a beautiful sunset! Yes, this trail gives you a good workout, as my muscles were feeling it the next day. I strongly advise stretching after this hike. If you want to avoid crowds when going to San Jacinto, then this trail fits the bill.

Sunset

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »