About two weeks ago we spent a couple of days in Palm Springs and we took the Palm Springs Aerial Tram up to the top of Mt San Jacinto. Once there I took a couple hours to hike the Desert View Trail – I had thought that I was going on a 15-30 minute quick day hike (which would have been the Nature Loop) but instead took the longer, more difficult loop.
A bit more climbing after leaving Notch One. To show how unprepared I was, I didn’t even know how many “notches” there were. (Five.) I figured there would be spots to view the desert below (thus the “Desert View Trail” nomenclature, DUH!) but didn’t have any details. Ignorance is bliss and I was VERY blissful that day.
Notch Two looks back toward Palm Springs, visible between the trees. (Click to enlarge.)
Right next to Notch Two, just looking off more to the north, is Notch Three.
From here the trail has little ups and downs but is generally level-ish, but still a bit narrow and rocky.
I ran into a few folks doing the loop trail the other direction. (There isn’t a right or wrong way.) A few, particularly those with grade school aged kids, were wondering how much further they had to go to the top. I gave them what information I had. Inevitably, the kids always wanted to go on to the top, having no clue about what I was describing as far as their trail ahead and having endless energy to proceed. The parents were more skeptical, but all pressed on. (Been there – done that!)
Notch Four had the best views, looking north through the haze.
There were also places that weren’t “official” notches, but still had great views.
Along the little ridge tops there were always fallen trees and many that were split, perhaps by lightning. I remember enough of my Boy Scout days to know that if I heard thunder or saw lightning I would be putting it into gear to get off the ridge tops.
I also loved looking at these skeletal remains of these scraggly pines. (Bristlecone pines?) At this elevation, in an area that doesn’t get much rain, trying to grab a spot in the rock cracks, this isn’t a very friendly environment. It did its best, but I think it’s lost this fight.