Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cactus to the Clouds

Yesterday at twilight Steven and I set out on the Cactus to the Clouds hike to the peak of Mt. San Jacinto. The climb starts in downtown Palm Springs on the desert floor.

The first 3 hours consisted of climbing while watching the sunrise and an array of cacti and shrubs for scenery.

Behind me in the background you can see the top of the tram (overpriced gondolla). From the base to that point is 12 miles and 8,000 feet of climbing. It took us six hours to reach the tram. Ironically the tram ride takes 11 minutes.

The final climb before the top of the tram is pretty steep. The best part was that we were so far away from anything the only sounds were those from nature. No cars, lawn mowers, people, etc.

At the tram we refilled water bottles and climbed another 5.5 miles to the summit. The entire day we were fighting the clock to beat the sun. We did not want to get caught on the mountain before sunset.

At 7,000 feet we hit our first snow.

Peanut-butter-jelly-time at about 9,000 feet.

The summit: 10,834 feet.

The trees were plastered on one side with snow. At the top the wind chill was probably in the 20s. I had on 4 shirts, a vest, hat, gloves, etc. We spent about 5 minutes at the top and when my fingers went numb we started moving fast again. Steven even humored me and trail-ran with me on the way down. This was my favorite part of the day.

At the end of the day we spent just under 11 hours covering 23 miles of trails. And let me tell you, my tram ride down the mountain at 5pm was worth every penny!

14 comments:

Running and living said...

Wow, such a beautiful trip! Awesome!

Alaskan Assassin said...

Sweet trip!!

I love when you wrote- The final climb before the top of the tram is pretty steep. The best part was that we were so far away from anything the only sounds were those from nature. No cars, lawn mowers, people, etc.

I guess I take where I live for granted sometimes because I never have to worry about hearing those noises.

Meg Runs said...

I like the way your clothing changes throughout the photos, it looked a fun hike!

ONEHOURIRONMAN said...

Great fun.
I miss my snow!!
Back to summer here in florida!

Trishie said...

Wow, beautiful.

Nicole said...

I miss hiking!! If you ever make it out to NM, La Luz trail is almost exactly like that! ;) It looks like you had an awesome day!

ADC said...

Oh that is so much fun.

Ordinarylife said...

wow, that looks awesome. I love hiking. But I am much better going up than down. My legs don't do down for some reason. I would have also splashed out and taken the tram down.

Beth said...

What an awesome adventure!! Hard to believe the difference in temperature. I guess you were carrying lots of clothes up the mountain too! :) Congrats!!

t-odd said...

What fun hike. When you said, "sounds of nature" all I could think of was burping and farting - those are the "sounds of nature" I get around my house.

Windchill in the 20's - pah! That's an average summer day here. (Not really but it seems like it.)

Mike said...

Looks like an awesome day! Eleven-minute tram ride up, huh? Think about all those people on the tram missed out on taking the "easy" way up. Their loss. That's why I love biking so much; in this ever-increasingly fast-pace world, it's nice to have something to slow us down and let us take a look around. Keep it up Charisa.

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Love them!!! The first pics remind me of the trails in AZ

D10 said...

Awesome pictures. Glad you guys had a beautiful time.

MM said...

i miss long hikes like that. But not the cold at the top of the mountains.