i've been spending every moment of my free time reading hiking blogs and trail reviews. saturday i was tempted to drive down to palm springs and hike up to san jacinto peak. i thought it would be a good test for my hiking skills. plus i've always wanted to experience the tram ride.
but i didn't go. the weather forecast for palm springs was 118 degrees. i decided to test myself on a local peak instead.
i don't think that's gaviota peak in the distance but that's the sign to the trail head. it's right off the 101 and highway 1 junction.
the first thing i did after i parked was helping an old hippie couple getting their tattered honda started by pushing it. they didn't ask. i just just couldn't bear seeing them struggle in the sun.
first time i had to pay for parking at a local trailhead
looks like dogs and mountain lions are allowed
i packed four 750 ml bottles of water, two bananas, and two packets of ritz crackers. i also packed a sweater, a rain jacket, and a book just for the fun of it. along with the standard junk in my back pack, everything weighed 15 pounds. even though it's about 13 pounds more than what i usually tote on a casual hike, it didn't feel at all heavy.
the trail began nice and easy, not too steep and fairly shady. there were quite a few people heading for the hot springs. it was very curious to see hikers with bath towels over their shoulders.
the springs appear to run through three tiers of pools. they all looked pretty dry except for the top one, where the people are sitting in the picture. the water was lukewarm, stagnant, and a bit stinky. i normally don't mind the smell of sulfur but here, even though very faint, it really bothered me.
stream lined with gray deposit
not very inviting, these springs. i was glad to backtrack to the main trail and continue my hike. except...
...there was no shade!
i pushed ahead in full sun. thank goodness for the widebrim and the intermittent breeze. the trail got progressively steep but i trucked along. i only stopped to check out the views. and to pee. what can i say; it was very hot and i was drinking lots of water. i did it right on the side the wide open trail. brazen.
trail happened to lead straight to an oak tree with a bench size rock under it. i had never been so happy to see a rock. i sat there to cool off. and to take pictures.
the white ribbon you see to the left most of the picture is highway 1. i wish i knew how high i was above sea level. anyway, when i got up (from sitting) to take pictures, i felt a bit queasy in the stomach. i thought may be i was hungry. i ate a banana.
when i got up to continue hiking, i felt even queasier. i thought i was going to throw up.
it was nice to hike in the shade again. past the gate i kept hearing noises in the bushes. i was hoping it was hikers coming down the trail but there wasn't any. i did not see one person past the hot springs.
the shade stopped at about a quarter mile past the gate. there was no breeze so it got miserable quick. i was queasy, sweating like a pig, and spooked. all i could think of was mountain lions roaming around.
believe it or not, i pushed ahead for another quarter mile. i got so tired that i had to stop every ten yards to catch my breath. i kept hoping to see shade at the next switchback but it just didn't happen. so, with much reluctance, i turned around.
i was bummed the entire way down. i need to get back up there and push harder. hopefully with a hiking buddy or at least a whistle. i have three weeks to shape up for the sierra club hike. i gotta get it right if i want to look stylish on that trail.
those are paintings i bought on ebay way back in 2001. they're the only real pieces of art i own. i don't remember how i stumbled on the listing. but when i saw it, i knew i had to win the bidding.
they're quite typical images of vietnam, the cone hats, the shoulder carriages, the power lines. everything is very familiar to me although where i grew up, the streets weren't that narrow.
the thing i like best about these paintings is the style. looks like the oil was smeared on with a spatula. i can imagine that it was a class assignment: create a scene using twenty or less strokes.
anyway, i wish i knew more about the person who painted them. there's a simple signature that looks to be a male vietnamese name. there were some numbers scribbled on the back of one of the original frames (which were so garish that i had to remove promptly) said 6/68. i am not sure if that's a date or not. hard to believe that these paintings have been around longer than i have.
that's me and my snazzy new marmot garmsal bag. i took it for a spin in the san gabriel mountains this past saturday, an unofficial sierra club hike organized by...
...my friend dt.
some stats on the hike:
destination: strawberry peak
distance planned: 6.5 miles
distance hiked: 10 miles
elevation: 2,500 gain and 1,500 loss
start: colby canyon at 8:40 am
end: red box junction at 3:30 pm
temperatures: very hot
approaching trail head on angeles crest highway
we never quite made it to the top of strawberry peak. we got a little lost and we ran low on water but that was not important. all i cared about was not having to quit half way. in fact, even though i was chastised by the sierra club members for wearing cotton socks, i actually had a pretty good time.
schmee with the chastisers
i was the only person with the camera (what a surprise!) so i took millions of pictures. i posted the decent ones on flickr, where you can see again and again how i lagged behind the group. it's the last time i hike with marathon runners.
jg took that picture of me while i blazed a new route up saddle rock this past saturday. i wouldn't have bothered posting that picture if it wasn't for the skirt.
i don't quite know what they call this part of the trail but it's about half mile past saddle rock. it's the highest point on my hike, where i catch my breath before turning around and hike back. if it wasn't so flat, i'd call it a peak. i wonder if it might have served as a helicopter pad. anyway, i've been to this spot over a dozen times, sometimes as often as two days in a row, and the rocks never say the same thing twice.
peace sign doubles as south arrow
whale's tale, may be?
i still spend every moment of my free time researching trails. surprisingly, the sb main library has a huge section on california hiking trails. i was so taken with the sierra north and south series that i ran out and bought both. i hope to be fit enough to backpack into the sierras by next spring.
as for day hiking, i would like to try san gorgonio peak. if i don't die on that trail, then i'd try mount whitney. i would need to hit up my doctor for diamox before i do either of those hikes. wilderness fun with drugs.
jg is trying to talk me into going back up to half dome. funny how it was me who talked him into hiking it back in 2000. the trip took usme 13 hours and cost me three toe nails. pretty mild considering a man died right in front of us on that trail. sure i'd go back up. as soon as they install an elevator.
that is the price i pay for hiking ten miles in broken boots. i didn't notice the bruised little piggy until this past saturday, exactly one week after the fact. i promptly got online and ordered new boots (after months of hemming and hawing). i was tempted to add a pair of wool socks to my order but i thought better. i'll spend the $18 after i get a couple of blisters.
april 2006 issue of backpacker
that's from a magazine i found at the thrift store. option f is one of the correct answers but it's a falacy; where do they suggest storing the contaminated clothing? option e is more to my liking. thanks to the seven hours i spent in the angeles wilderness, i no longer have qualms about peeing in the open.