Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ramona Epic #24: San Jacinto Mountain (To Wellman's Divide)

(GPS: N33 48.780 W116 38.320)

"'To San Jacinto,' he said. 'San Jacinto Mountain. Do not look
back, Majella! Do not look back!' he cried, as he saw Ramona,
with streaming eyes, gazing back towards San Pasquale. 'Do not
look back! It is gone! Pray to the saints now, Majella! Pray! Pray!'"

In chapter 20 of Ramona, Alessandro and Ramona are driven off their land and retreat to Mt. San Jacinto. I thought I would put up N.C. Wyeth's artwork here:

From what I can tell, Helen Hunt Jackson never stepped on Mt. San Jacinto. Alessandro mentions Saboba at the foot of Mt. San Jacinto which is the way it really is. They decide not to go there since it too is a poor village and they would probably be kicked out of there too. So, he decides to go up higher onto Mt. San Jacinto which means freedom to him, but it is also a sign of desperation.

Since these are fictional characters, and Helen Hunt Jackson really did not go into detail about where they were on this mountain, I will be referring to this mountain in very broad terms. Normally, on a mountain hike, I refer to the high peak as the main mountain peak and the sub-peaks as something else, However, for this hike when I refer to Mt. San Jacinto I am talking about the whole hike and everything you see. The point of this hike is not to point to some place and say that this is what Ms. Jackson was referring to, but to let you use your imagination with the pictures and see where Alessandro and Ramona would have lived in the fictional world of the book based on the real mountain. So, for the next few entries you will see the type of terrain they would have lived in whether Ms. Jackson completely knew about it or not. She could have experienced some of the lower levels of the mountain on the western side, or could have talked to people that had been on it.

This is from HWY 10:

In the last few blogs I covered the tram that gets you to around 8,500+ feet level. That morning I knew I was to get out of the tram as quick as possible, walk 1/4 of a mile to the ranger station, and get a hiking permit. There were a few people ahead of me, but I signed the permit at roughly 8:15am that morning. It was a quick process, and I was glad that all the tasks of the morning, like driving to the station, getting a ticket for the tram, and finally the permit were done so I could really start doing what I was there for.

I was now in a forested area. The desert floor was nowhere to be seen. Not too far off one encounters a few streams along the trail.

One thing this hike reminded me of is walking through Yosemite. Lots of trees blocking the sun, and huge boulders off the sides of the trail. At this point, early on, there was little elevation.My pace was pretty good and I was rather relaxed taking in the air. There were, from what it looked like, Conservation Corps type of members coming in the opposite direction toward the tram that I saw at several points. For most of this hike on the way to the top I had very brief interactions with people. On the way down it was a different story which I will get to.

Eventually, I got past the meadows of Round Valley. There was some wildlife out, but when I got to Round Valley that is where I saw a bunch of campers since that is where they usually go to camp here overnight. Not too far after that is where I started to hit some short switchbacks and the elevation started to pick up. After some leg work, I saw the trees open up a little and realized I was about half-way done with the hike.I had reached Wellman's Divide. I finally got to see some of the area from up high.

I have read that you can see Palomar Observatory from here on a good day. It is off somewhere to the right. The day I went it was rather hazy, and there was another factor I will get to eventually that made the views a little more hazy that I would have liked, but I was enjoying this hike.

The trail does split here into other trails. One trail goes off and around the right side of the above picture. My trail to the top of the mountain was just behind me. I briefly talked to a few men here and off I went. The hike from the station to the top is about six miles, and it is around three miles to get to this point. However, most of the uphill was from this point on.

Ramona Epic #24: Mt. San Jacinto (Youtube Version)

Ramona Epic #24: Mt. San Jacinto (Vimeo Version)