6/22/16 21 miles, 6,000' gain I decided to make the Challenge a little harder by not using the tram for San Jacinto and instead trying South Ridge, one of the longest routes to the top, and a new one for me.
1 I decided to take the South Ridge Trail for the San Jacinto portion of the 3-day Challenge. It was the only route up San Jacinto that I hadn't tried yet. My legs were still a little fatigued from Mt. Baden-Powell two days prior, so I was starting the challenge already handicapped. But, I was on the trail and ready to go at 10:27am.
2 A quick climb with great views of the valley and Lake Hemet below.
3 An interesting rock frame.
4 Fantastic singletrack.
5 Made it to the top of Tahquitz Peak at 8,846', one of the more interesting little summits I've been on recently. There are great views and an old fire watchtower.
6 Here is the 89 year old watchman that hikes up to the tower with his wife every Monday, stays all week, and then hikes down on Friday. Aside from actually watching for fires, they give everyone a little tour of the tower, help with trail questions, etc.
7 The map and sighting tool used to triangulate the exact position of any fire that's spotted. Note their cooking stove in the background.
8 Tahquitz Peak summit marker.
9 View of San Jacinto from the watchtower.
10 View of Mt. Baldy and Santiago in the distance.
11 360 video taken while walking around the watchtower catwalk.
12 Heading on now, here's a view of the ridgeline leading to the San Jacinto summit.
13 Hiking up the ridge looking back at a great view of Tahquitz Peak.
14 On to the PCT now and some of the best singletrack in SoCal.
15 Lots of trails merging in this area. The South Ridge trail is now merged with the Devil's Slide trail from Humber Park.
16 Wellman's Cienga. Still one of my favorite spots in all of SoCal. The ferns aren't nearly as big as when I was here in a wet year, but at least they're still vibrant green.
17 Tough to beat the singletrack here, even in a dry year.
18 Wellman's Divide. I never knew previously that was Tahquitz Peak on the right. I've also wondered what that black peak is in the distance. I definitely want to add that to my to-do list whatever it is.
19 Looking down at Round Valley with Cornell Peak on the left and the Long Valley tram station in the middle along the ridge. The traffic on the trail is starting to pick up now that I'm on the popular tram route.
20 Another view of the mysterious black mountain in the distance.
21 Jean Peak just below the San Jacinto summit. I mistankely thought that was the SJ summit once when I was semi-lost in a snowstorm. This is the first time I've been up here in dry conditions in quite a while.
22 Made it to the cabin.
23 First successful summit of the three at 3:42pm. Someone took the picture for me just before they headed down. I had the summit to myself for the next 20min or so after that.
24 Summit views. It was a pretty clear day considering fires were still burning in the Mt. Baldy area.
25 Hazier in that direction.
26 That black mountain again.
27 360 video from the summit.
28 Heading back down now through Wellman's Cienga. I love ferns.
29 Late afternoon shadows across Tahquitz Peak.
30 Great early evening lighting on the ridgeline just below the Tahquitz Peak summit. I was worried about making it down before dark, particularly since there's almost 1,000' of uphill on the way back to Tahquitz Peak, but I made pretty good time.
31 An eery evening mist floating up the valley below the San Jacinto summit as seen from Tahquitz Peak.
32 Early evening view of Lake Hemet. I made it back to the trailhead at 8:02pm for a successful end to Day 1 of the Challenge.