This continues the summit views from the top. I am looking toward the north, and San Gorgonio is in the background. There were people that went beyond the rocks you see to look down below. I had thought of doing that, but decided just to stay where I was and get ready to head back down when done with these pictures.
The next two are to the west:As you can see there was a lot of cloudy haze. The smoke was eventually coming too.One picture I had hoped to get was something to indicate where Hemet was since I have a picture of me from the Ramona Bowl looking up to here. All I can tell you is it is down there somewhere to the southwest:
Looking toward the south.More to the south where the smoke was coming from in San Diego County.
Let me give you some concluding thoughts on this one as I wrap this up:
This was not a really difficult hike compared to what I normally do. It is about a 2,500 ft. elevation gain in about 5.8 miles (11+ miles roundtrip). Getting there, getting my tickets, the permit, etc. was something I was just glad to be done with so I could relax on the hike. I did relax on the hike and my pace was not as fast as I could go since I purposely stopped for pictures and video on the way to the summit. I was just glad to be taking in the air. With that said, it only took me two hours to get to the top from the tram.
Much like any other touristy type of hike, and some of the same issues one faces on Mt. Whitney, most of the people I encountered was when I was on the way down. I knew this would probably be the case and is the reason I was only at the summit long enough to take pictures, video, and hydrate with a few drinks. Not that I have anything against people on this hike, but as the day goes on more and more people end up on a popular trail like this. What usually happens is I pull off the narrow trails to allow people through that are coming up. If I have to keep doing that it wears me down more and more from the constant stopping and starting. There is usually someone that tries to "interview" or "interrogate" me about how far they have to go, or if I saw someone ahead of them with a blue hat that they know. Most people keep these sorts of things brief, but sometimes I get people that want more details out of me, and that is when my brain starts to fade. The closer I got back to the tram the more people were starting their hikes and backpacking that afternoon. So, I ended up making really bad time getting back to the tram compared to going up. It was VERY SLOW moving on the way down!
To get back to the tram that last 500 ft. or so is going up a cement ramp. Lots of people were coming down here as I headed up it. I finally reached the point where I began the video, rested, did the beginning part of the video, took the tram down, did the video parts for the station below, and then had a relatively easy drive home.
This is a hike I had wanted to do for some years. It reminded me a lot of being in Yosemite. I can understand why people would want to come up the tram to just be up there. I have thought of going back just for that some other time. Most of my elevation hikes in So. Cal. do not give me that feeling. The forest and rocks do feel like being in a forest and not near the desert.
Finally, when I was reading the Ramona book I was very excited to see that this mountain was where Ms. Jackson sent Alessandro and Ramona. So, I knew I had to do it, and this hike was the final thing I had to do for this series. Unfortunately, due to the way schedules work, I was not able to get up here in 2010. I was a bit stressed over that because I would have been disappointed not to have been able to include this as part of the series. Also, as I write this, the tram is usually down for maintence in September, and then one faces winter conditions. There are other factors involved, but I was glad to get this done in July, 2011. When I was at the summit I was truly relieved not only to have the hike "done", but also that I had completed all I needed done for the Ramona project at that point.