I started the morning in desert chaparral at 4900′ and ended near snowdrifts at 8250′. Add in an extra couple thousand feet up and down, including a bonus two miles down a spur trail to get water, and I ended up hiking 25.7 miles with about five thousand feet of elevation gain today – yikes!
Even if the trail was steep in places, the scenery surpassed anything I’ve seen so far. After 150 miles through the desert, I was psyched to climb up into the San Jacinto Wilderness with its shaded slopes of pine and fir stands, and cliffs so sheer the trail had to be blasted out of solid rock in some sections. As evening approached, I wound up a dramatic ridgeline, leapfrogging with a couple other hikers, looking down on Palm Springs as if from an airplane. Very cool.