I've hiked San Jacinto before and I believe I blogged about it but for those who might not remember, we get to cheat when it comes to San Jacinto. They built a tram that takes you from Palm Springs at around 2,000 feet up to the 8,000 foot line on the mountain side. The best part is that we went from about 110°F to about 85°F. That was a life saver. The peak is nearly 11,000 feet so we still have 3,000 feet we need to climb. The toughest part is that going from sea level to 11,000 feet is pretty hard on the respiratory system. There just isn't enough red blood cells in our bodies to get us the oxygen we need. You get winded walking across the campsite. The best part about how we did this hike is that we went up the night before and hiked two miles in and camped at Round Valley. This gave us a chance to acclimatize. Even just staying overnight can make a huge difference.
In the center of Round Valley is a beautiful meadow. Sarah liked to call it the garden of Eden. I do have to admit that it is a beautiful sight to come across this meadow when you've been hiking in trees for an hour or two. It makes me want to just build myself a cabin and be a hermit. The meadow is fed by a natural spring so there is a source of good drinking water right there. The next day we threw some snacks and a light lunch into day packs and we headed for the peak. I was worried about Lisa's back so all she had in her backpack was a change of clothes and her sleeping bag. I took all of the of gear, food and water. I did make Sarah carry her fair share of stuff as well because I know she is in better shape than all of us. When we hiked to the summit Lisa didn't have any pack at all and I carried all the water and snacks in my Camel Back.
There is some very beautiful scenery going up to the peak and I'm telling you, it is so different hiking with girls than it is hiking with boys. They actually stop and enjoy the view while the boys just put their heads down and see how fast they can get to the top. The girls also spontaneously start singing. You won't ever have that happen with scouts.
As it turned out I didn't really have to worry about Lisa. She wasn't the fastest person on the trail but There were several girls and even a leader or two who was more than happy to set a slower pace and not push things. In the end we did have one girl who was affected by the altitude and decided not to go to the top. Unfortunately that meant that two leaders had to stay back with her and I really felt bad for them. On the other hand there was one girl who was diabetic and had to keep checking her blood sugar levels and pace herself carefully but she did make it to the top. What an accomplishment for her. I think it is great. Anyway, I'm hurting a little bit but what a great feeling it is to sleep under the stars and to stand on top of such a majestic peak.
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