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  1. #1

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    Mt. San Jacinto via Deer Springs Trail

    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.

    SoCal Mike

    Pictures (L to R): Lilly Rock, Peak of Mt. San Jacinto, SB Hammock, View from Peak
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  2. #2
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    Those are some awesome pics. I have taken the tram and Day hiked around there. I definitely want to hike San Jacinto in the near future.

  3. #3
    Senior Member mangus7175's Avatar
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    Beautiful view...I need to go and hang with you one of these days. Do you ever backpack around ANF area?

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by mangus7175 View Post
    Beautiful view...I need to go and hang with you one of these days. Do you ever backpack around ANF area?
    I've only done day hiking, but no overnights out there--Mt. Baldy area. But I'll definitely get out there. I saw your pics from out there and added 'em to my "to do" list. As you know, it's tough to get away when you have little ones at home, but there's no reason why I can't get out your way from time to time. My problem is I'll need a warmer UQ soon if I'm going out into some colder areas. I got a 40 deg Phoenix (with the extra down, it's more like a 35 UQ) because I don't usually get out in the cold stuff. But man, my feet were cold when I only used a CCF pad under my feet. They're only good to about 50-60 degrees, but it dipped pretty low out there. I think I'm going to add a 20 deg incubator to my Christmas list.

    You want me to shoot you an email next time we head up to San Jacinto?

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by dichdiggr View Post
    Those are some awesome pics. I have taken the tram and Day hiked around there. I definitely want to hike San Jacinto in the near future.
    I don't know if you're familiar with the other trails up there, but I learned a few things on this trip. Mt. Marion trail is the shortest trail up to the peak, but it is STEEP. It's about 5 miles to the junction and another 2 or so to the peak (I think). We descended Mt. Marion trail and it's pretty killer. Deer Springs is much more manageable but it's 9 miles one way. So, if you're going to day hike, Marion is much shorter, but could be killer on your knees. Deer Spring is longer, but your legs will thank you. Two other trails I know of: Fuller Ridge Trail and 7 Pines. Not sure about the lengths but both are steep.

    SoCal Mike

  6. #6
    Senior Member mangus7175's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoCal Mike View Post
    I've only done day hiking, but no overnights out there--Mt. Baldy area. But I'll definitely get out there. I saw your pics from out there and added 'em to my "to do" list. As you know, it's tough to get away when you have little ones at home, but there's no reason why I can't get out your way from time to time. My problem is I'll need a warmer UQ soon if I'm going out into some colder areas. I got a 40 deg Phoenix (with the extra down, it's more like a 35 UQ) because I don't usually get out in the cold stuff. But man, my feet were cold when I only used a CCF pad under my feet. They're only good to about 50-60 degrees, but it dipped pretty low out there. I think I'm going to add a 20 deg incubator to my Christmas list.

    You want me to shoot you an email next time we head up to San Jacinto?
    Yeah, for sure, just let me know when you're up there. It's also on my list of "to-do's" to head up there as well

  7. #7
    Bruciehi5's Avatar
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    That’s one BIG hill! The photos are great, but what do you think about going back and doing it again. This time, take a video camera and do some videoing. That’s a “real mountain.” We don’t have any real mountains here. Our highest is about one third the height of that. Thanks for the report, SoCal Mike!

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruciehi5 View Post
    That’s one BIG hill! The photos are great, but what do you think about going back and doing it again. This time, take a video camera and do some videoing. That’s a “real mountain.” We don’t have any real mountains here. Our highest is about one third the height of that. Thanks for the report, SoCal Mike!
    Yes, it was quite a hill. I hear Gorgonio is even more difficult. I'll have to consider taking a video next time. My brother-in-law captured a few moments at the peak, recording a panoramic view up there with his iPhone. That's the best I can do for this trip. I'll see if I can get it from him.

    SoCal Mike

  9. #9
    Senior Member Triggerhpy's Avatar
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    Looks like a good time. I've hiked in from Idyllwild as a youth
    and from the tram as a troop leader.

    Along time ago in a troop far far away I climbed San Jac.

    Right now I'm on light duty(sort walks day pack) problems
    with my feet.
    A good to do Peak list I think could be Mt. Baldy,Mt. B-P,Grayback,Mt San Bernardino,San Jac and San G.
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    Tortoise never for a moment stopped, but went on with a slow but steady pace straight to the end of the course.
    Translated by George Fyler Townsend. Aesop's Fables (p. 18). Amazon Digital Services, Inc..

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Triggerhpy View Post
    Looks like a good time. I've hiked in from Idyllwild as a youth
    and from the tram as a troop leader.

    Along time ago in a troop far far away I climbed San Jac.

    Right now I'm on light duty(sort walks day pack) problems
    with my feet.
    A good to do Peak list I think could be Mt. Baldy,Mt. B-P,Grayback,Mt San Bernardino,San Jac and San G.
    That's awesome, Triggerhapy! Good list, too. I've been on some, the rest are on "my list."

    SoCal Mike

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