Sept. 20, 2011
This past weekend, my brother-in-law and I headed up to the peak of Mt. San Jacinto. At 10,834 feet, this is southern California’s second highest peak (San Gorgonio is #1 at 11,503 ft). I’ve planned several day hikes to this peak but none proved successful—my buddies would cancel, the weather was too fickle, etc. But, like many things in life, good things come to those who wait; and better things come to those who persevere. This was a challenging hike with my backpacking gear despite my best efforts to bring my gear weight down.
Most day hikers take the aerial tramway from Palm Springs to ~8,500feet and hike the remaining six miles to the peak, but we wanted a longer hike and a short backpacking trip instead of just bagging the peak and heading home.
We headed up Deer Springs Trail, near Idyllwild, to Little Round Valley campground. The trail is well maintained and absolutely gorgeous, offering hikers a view of Lilly Rock and an opportunity to head over to Suicide Rock on a side excursion. The trail becomes very challenging with a steep switchback a couple miles from Little Round Valley. After chugging along, and passing many day hikers—some who made it to the peak and others who pulled up short because they were running late on time--we arrived at Little Round Valley and set up camp quickly to complete our mission.
About a mile later, we scrambled about 100 yards up the rocks that mark the final challenge for those who seek the peak. We were rewarded with a spectacular view of the desert floor and the San Bernardino Mountains, with old Greyback (Gorgonio) in the distance.
At camp, my new TTTG SL Switchback was waiting for me. This was its maiden voyage. I have only used a hammock a few times, but consider myself a full convert. I was very comfortable in this work of art. No matter how I tossed and turned, I always felt comfortable. I did get chilly because we were expecting low temps of 45-50 F, but it dropped to about 38 F. Nevertheless, a chilly night out on a mountain doesn’t bring me down after grabbing that peak and swinging in my new mountain home—my Switchback.
Pictures (L to R): Lilly Rock, Peak of Mt. San Jacinto, SB Hammock, View from Peak