12/10/17 Another chance to explore a remote trail on San Jacinto. This time a totally different type of terrain, one that really resonated with me for some reason. Just under 11 miles and 3,000' of gain.
1 That trailhead is tough to find. It's a couple miles up a little service road from the highway. The road ends in a bunch of private property with foreboding "No Trespassing" signs. I was having trouble finding the trailhead until a redneck in Cabela gear pointed me in the right direction. You definitely get the impression you don't want to stray on to the wrong property out there. The trailhead has no sign other than this one, and the trail itself is far enough off the road that you can't see it driving by.
2 Defintiely very different terrain than my last several San Jacinto hikes. Much more of a high desert feel. But I found it to be beautiful.
3 This trail is an emergency detour for the PCT since a section of the PCT has been closed for the last few years due to fire damage.
4 Starting to climb up off the valley floor with nice views of Lake Hemet.
5 Nice rugged single track with expansive views.
6 This area was wiped out by the fire in 2013. The chapparal has all grown back, but the oaks have not. And there was quite a bit of treefall from the recent winds.
7 There was probably some great tree cover before the fire.
8 Another look at the singletrack winding through what used to be oak forest.
9 Amazingly, there was actually still a stream flowing here.
13 Almost to the ridge.
15 What remains of the Spitler Peak trail sign.
16 Pictures don't do it justice, but the views over the other side of the ridge are just awesome. Because of the winds, the air was crystal clear with great visibility.
17 Great view of the Salton Sea. That canyon is almost 7,000' down.
18 Heading up the PCT towards Spitler Peak.
19 This is an awesome, hardly used, section of the PCT. I haven't seen a single human so far.
20 Starting to head down the PCT on the other side. I've passed the little use trail to the Spitler Peak summit, so I have to backtrack. This area must really be green in the Spring.
21 The last bit to the top is a steep scramble up faint use trails.
22 Nice Lake Hemet view from just below the summit.
23 Made it to the top! Someone added a brand new summit sign-in box. The good old fashioned kind, made out of a coffee can and peanut butter jar.
24 The trail just re-opened within the last month or so after being closed for over 4 years. I'm only the 4th party in the new book.
25 The view towards San Jacinto from Spitler Peak. The wind is howling and it's freezing. Probably low 40s or high 30s. It's been so warm lately, that I forgot December at 7,500' can get cold!
26 The view the other direction towards the Salton Sea.
27 Santiago in the distance.
28 360 summit video.
29 Heading back down, the sky started to show some amazing colors as the sun got low.
30 The early sunset oranges kept getting nicer until finally...
31 Bam! One of the nicer sunsets I've seen. End to another great day, not a single human. I will definitely be back here again.