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mini location map2013-11-16
14 by photographer avatarsbkelley
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Cactus to CloudsBig Bear - Jacinto, CA
Big Bear - Jacinto, CA
Hiking avatar Nov 16 2013
Hiking28.00 Miles 11,230 AEG
Hiking28.00 Miles   14 Hrs   40 Mns   1.91 mph
11,230 ft AEG
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This was the fourth - and likely final - time up the Skyline Trail, but what a way to finish! Ken had concocted the idea of eschewing the tram on the descent and just returning to the car the old-fashioned way: hiking back down the Skyline instead of riding the tram. Now that was a new twist, and I couldn't resist the challenge.

My friend Eric joined us, and the three of us left the Museum around 4:00 a.m. Plenty of other groups heading up ahead of us, which was a little surprising given the forecast (40% chance of snow up high with 40 mph winds...that never appeared). I set a steady pace as we made our way up. Made it to the tram in 5 hrs, had a quick break at the ranger station, and then Ken led us on his promised Short Cut. This route left the main trail right where the Tamarack Valley drainage and just follows this up to the forested plateau above. It's steeper than the trail to Long Valley, but saves some distance and avoids the longs switchbacks to and past Wellsmans Divide. Very nice in here, too, with scattered campsites, nice meadows, and plenty of deer browsing. Soon enough, we met the main trail again on the oak-covered slope right beneath the summit, and 7 hours after leaving Palm Springs, we stood on top and enjoyed some brews out of the wind.

The descent took a toll, but was actually a nice way to end the day. Watching the moon rise over the Coachella Valley as we descended through the desert was great, and soon after, we could hear the parties and club music from as high up as 3000': a funny juxtaposition with our haggardness in the last hour. Off to Village Pub we went for food and brews!
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Named place
San Jacinto Peak
Sun Sunrise
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