My original plan was to do Cactus to Clouds. Wednesday night, all ready to go, parked at lot across the street from the Palm Springs art museum, set to crash for the night and wake up early to get started up the Skyline trail. I decided to double check the Tram schedule, and..."CLOSED for annual maintenance", "Tentative" opening on Saturday.
With that bit of bad news, I needed a plan B. I was not going to hike 10,000 AEG and then back down into the heat. A quick internet search of alternate trails up to Mt. San Jacinto peak and I was driving around the mountain to Idyllwild. I parked at the trail head and slept in the back of the truck and got started at 7am. Great trail and perfect weather! I came across a Conservation Corps crew building a new trail about 3/4 the way up, chainsaws and jackhammers were not the sounds I expected to hear on my way to the top. Then around Little Round valley I ran into a very nice couple from Australia on their way back down after summiting. I got to the top at 2:30 pm after 7:30 hours
. Cool and breezy up top with views to die for. Simply amazing 360 degree views of Palm Springs, Banning, San Bernardino, Idyllwild, Salton Sea etc. I had the summit to myself for about 15 minutes then I was joined by a gentleman who was doing the day hike thing. After numerous photos and standing on top of the world, I went back down to Little Round Valley and set up camp. I forgot my thermometer, but based on internet weather search I'd agree it got down into the low 40's. With nice down top and bottom quilts, I was warm in my hammock. Despite my warmth, I didn't sleep well, I am assuming due to not acclimatizing to the altitude. Kept waking up feeling short of breath. Anyway, woke up and got started back down around 9am and made it back to the truck by 12:30. A lot of folks heading up, met some nice people whom I might hike with soon. Over all a great hike with awesome views! Highly recommend it!