Thanks for the info. I'll have a look at the Mt. San Jacinto forum.
Ideally, I'd like to get into the mountains (the higher and/or more scenic the better). However, I guess my real constraints are cold/wintry conditions. I'll be with non-winter-loving folks and/or solo. (I wouldn't hike solo in northeast winter weather.) Also, I figure it'd be a pain to pack my snowshoes, bulky winter sleeping bag, and white-gas stove for the flight over.
If I could get by at lower elevations with microspikes (or just boots/trail runners), a 15F (or lighter) bag, and an esbit/alky stove, I'd be happy. If that means staying out of the mountains, I wouldn't mind trying something new; I've never been to any deserts.