Follow me on Twitter

Friday, January 27, 2012

San Jacinto State Park Palm Springs CA

The first hike of my "12 in 2012"  hiking adventure is at the San Jacinto State Park in Palm Springs, CA.

When we asked residents of Palm Springs the best place to go, they responded San Jacinto Aerial Tramway.  So, that's where we decided to go.  This wasn't a strenuous hike since we used the tram to get to the trail.  You can choose to do the 4 mile round trip hike to Round Valley or the 11 mile round trip to San Jacinto Peak. We chose the 4 miler with an elevation gain of only 600ft.

Once you get to the parking lot, you will enter the tram terminal where you will pay $23.95 per adult and $16.95 per child.  Ouch, that's a bit steep, but this was our plan for the day, so we continued.

After you pay you will get in line to enter the tram (didn't take too long) and you are off.  The one thing that really threw me off was the fact that the inside of the tram was spinning the entire ride.  Very slowly, but in order for everyone to get a great view, the floor of the tram spun.  This was a bit off-putting especially if you were afraid of heights as you had to continue to change your grip on the handrails in order to hold on.  Also, if you are like me, this can cause a bit of motion sickness.  I actually took a half of a Dramamine just in case.

The aerial tram takes you up 2 1/2 miles to the Mount San Jacinto State Wilderness Park.  At the top there is a building with souvenirs, bathrooms and even a restaurant.  We decided to eat at the restaurant first to beat the lunch crowd.

Then we were finally off on our hiking adventure.  It was extremely hot while we were in Palm Springs, but by the time we got off the tram, the temperature dropped about 20 degrees due to the elevation.  So, we had to put our coats on.

The hike is fairly flat except for the steep cement walkway you encounter the first and last 1000 or so feet at the beginning and end of the hiking path.

The views were beautiful and the path was well maintained.  We came across a tiny stream and some huge and amazing rocks to climb on and see some beautiful mountain and valley views.  We completed the loop in about an hour and 15 minutes and had a great time.  We even saw a gray squirrel with the biggest, fluffiest tail you have ever seen.  We found out it was a gray squirrel because they had a tiny museum of stuffed native animals on display.  Pretty neat.

All in all a fun hike with great views.  The boys loved the tram and both got something fun in the souvenir shop.  The price tag was a bit steep for my blood, but it was a great experience so I guess it was worth it.

Our ride back down.
To get here from Interstate 10, exit on California Hwy 111 (the road to Palm Springs). Proceed nine miles to Tramway Road, turn right, and follow the road 3.5 miles to its end at Valley Station.

There are bathrooms at the parking lot station and at the top.  Bring a jacket since the temperature decreases quite a bit when you get to the top.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Walking and Hiking Groups for 50+

I just read about this in the Seattle Times.  The article says that they have created a website to help people 50+ stay healthy in the New Year.  They have created this website about Seattle-area hiking and walking programs, including maps and links to the area's best walking areas!  This is such a great idea!  Go here to check it out.

As I said in my post about "Hiking Safety", it is important to have a hiking partner to stay safe on your hike.  This is a perfect opportunity to find active, like minded people to enjoy the outdoors with. 

I hope you can take advantage of some of this info and enjoy all the Pacific Northwest has to offer!

Happy Hiking!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Hiking Safety

After the recent murder of park ranger Margaret Anderson, in Mount Ranier National Park, I wanted to re-post my hiking safety tips.  Ladies especially, please don't go hiking alone.  I know it is often hard to find a hiking partner.  I have wanted to go on many hikes but was unable to because I didn't feel safe going alone.  I know it's not fair, but safety should be your #1 priority.

I recently found this really cool pepper spray holder on a couple of running blogs I follow and I think it would work well for hiking too.  You wear it on your hand and it is readily accessible in an emergency.  Go here to check it out!  I am going to buy the purple one:)

Before I go on a hike I make sure to:

1.  Have a hiking partner.  Going hiking with a partner or group is my #1 safety precaution.

2. Check trail reports to make sure the trail is accessible and to get an idea of what the the trail route is like.

3.  Check my pack to make sure it is complete. Go here to see what I bring in my pack.

4.  Give someone my itinerary.  Go here for more information.

5.  Make sure my gas tank is full.  You don't want to run out of gas 20 miles from a gas station.

6.  Know how to get to my destination. 

7.  Make sure my phone is charged in case of emergency on the trail.

8.  Have my photo ID, insurance card, road id on hand.

9.  Once I get to my destination I fill out the log book at the trailhead so if I were to get lost, the park ranger would know I was still out there.

10.  Especially when hiking with children, don't lose sight of your hiking partners.  My kids know that they must be in my view at all times and they have to be able to see me as well.  They can go up ahead as long as they are still in my sight.

I hope these tips will ensure you have a safe and fun hiking experience.  Happy Hiking!