Well, it will be my 3rd annual trip. 2009 was solo. Last year Craig Wisner joined me. Trip reports are linked at the bottom of this thread. This hike is unique for the types of terrain and climatic zones we will pass through. I know of know other 3 day hike that is as varied. We will start in the Lower Colorado Desert, and end up in a Alpine zone in one day. No bears in the San Jacintos, so food storage is not an issue. Water is sparse, so we will be carrying quite a bit each morning. Must be purified.
I am going to mail off for permits this weekend. Want to keep it down to 4 people. Already have a friend of mine who may want to go. So, 2-3 slots will be available.
Date: Memorial Day Weekend (May 28-30; Sat-Mon)
Difficulty: Very strenuous. You will need to be in pretty good shape. Probably recommended to do a couple 5,000' elevation gain hikes prior (5k up, and 5k down).
Cactus to Clouds plus. Start on the desert floor. Hike to top of Mt San Jacinto. Then down 1.5 miles to Little Round Valley. Total milage ~ 18 miles. Elevation gain 10,500 feet. Start around 5:30-6:00 AM. Expect temps during the day up to 80F, but a possibility of higher. Night temps usually around 40F, but last year Craig and I hit around freezing at 9,500'. Minimum of 4 liters of water must be carried for first 11 miles, with an 8,000 foot elevation gain.
Hike back to peak, then down to meet the PCT near Saddle Junction. Continue through the Desert Divide country to Cedar Springs. Mileage ~ 25 miles. Cedar Springs elevation ~ 6,400. There a few elevation drops and rises on this section that are fairly strenuous, so it is not all down hill. But you will think you are in the Sierras.
Cedar Springs to Palm Springs. Will require a few miles of hiking through town. Expect triple digit temperatures. Usually around 100-105 this time of year. But could go over 110F. Ground transportation can be had, if temp becomes a problem for anyone in the group. This last leg will drop down along Garnet Ridge, mostly volcanic rock. Then down into desert canyons. Elevation loss ~6,100 feet. Distance around 21 miles. I will treat cold drinks at Starbucks, which is about 3 blocks from our trailhead parking.
In preparation, if anyone would like to do the Desert Skyline Trail a couple weeks ahead of time on a Saturday or Sunday, I will be glad to lead it, if I am available. This is 11 miles, 8,000' gain to the Tram. I can arrange a shuttle back to our cars in town. This is the exact route we will start with on Day 1.
I really don't know how to describe how strenuous it is. I have little experience with other hikers. Maybe Craig will chime in, since he has hiked with other people over the years. Actually it may be an easy hike for all I know.
Please post any questions, and I will try to answer them to the best of my ability.
2009 Trip Report
2010 Trip Report