Whew, another tough one! I revisited the steep Marion Mountain Trail for the first time in many years: a 5.6 mile (official, my elevation map shows 11 total, which is a bit low, but some people claim 11.4+?) one way trek to the summit of San Jacinto (a rare peak that is a pile of large boulders, usually they are small rocks or just dirt – everyone, regardless of trail, has to do a bit of scrambling / hopping to get up there). The trailhead is off a road that leads to campsites and is at 6480′ elevation (official, my map showed 6300′) and is a mostly relentless ~4500′ gain to the summit at 10834′ (new GPS has proven consistently incorrect elevation when high up) – 2300′ of it is in the first 2.5 miles with a few knee-bustingly steep bits care of tree roots and rocks for big steps. GPS: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/7230042871
San Jacinto is a lovely mountain. It’s covered with often dense pine forest, a couple creeks were still running and full of flowers (yellow deerweed, grayswamp whiteheads with monarch butterflies, red columbine, purple lupine, and seemingly endless fields of California corn lily topped with large bunches of white flowers – which I’d never seen the plants do – amongst a lot of other finds) and birds (small ones playing in water, tweeting adorably), the small valleys offered not just a slightly more flat trail but also fields of lush greenery (ferns and more corn lilies), the views are outstanding in all directions and not just from the summit but often from some open switchbacks in thorny or flowered brush buzzing with all kinds of bees and giant flies.’
It was warm, but higher up the breeze was cool in the morning and lots of trees for shade. My knees complained, still sore from last weekend, and the drive home showed 104F – yikes! Not very many people, did have some nice conversations – just a lovely day despite over 7 hours for just over 11miles! Whew!
Oh, and I touched a few caterpillars because of a savior complex (wanted to move off trail so they wouldn’t get stepped on) and they weren’t friendly so very sore fingertips for hours (first hour stung like hell). 🤦♀️