Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tahquitz

I love hiking and being in the great outdoors. There's something about being out in nature that refreshes my mind, body, and soul. Now that the weather is improving, we're trying to get out more regularly to explore.

Our adventure for this last Sunday was a hike to Tahquitz Peak in Idyllwild, California. We loaded our day packs with provisions and drove up to Idyllwild. We stopped at the ranger station to get our permit to hike the South Ridge Trail and took our 4x4 up a short but rutty dirt road to the trailhead.

We saw this sign on the way to Idyllwild...the Sasquatch is actually made of fake fur. I thought it was so funny that we had to stop and get a picture of it later that day...


The weather was warm and sunny...Ahhhhh! There were flowers along the bottom portions of the trail. Many of them were very small...






We saw several of these. I'm not sure what they are but I'm thinking they're some kind of fungus like mushrooms. They're amazingly strong too as we saw one that had pushed it's way up through a crumbling piece of granite. The color definitely stands out in the forest...


The manzanita are always so pretty with their smooth, reddish trunks but right now they are in full bloom and loaded with tiny pink blossoms. Some are a pretty pale pink...


And, some are darker pink. So cute!...


I haven't found the name of these yet but they're blooming like crazy in the hills and mountains around Southern California right now. I love the periwinkle blue color...


This golden yellow always catches my eye. I love it!...


This was surprising to see in our normally dry mountains...moss...and lots of it! Evidence of our long winter and all the rain we've gotten this year...


The sky was so blue and the scenery was gorgeous...


There were a lot of things to see along the way...like this huge rock jutting out of the side of the mountain...


Tahquitz Peak is located on the San Jacinto Mountain as is Lily Rock, a huge white granite rock that can be seen from many miles away. I thought Tahquitz and Lily Rock were one and the same. After seeing Lily Rock all these years, I was excited about hiking up and touching it. It's amazing! Well, it turns out that they are two totally different things. Lily Rock is located below Tahquitz Peak. So, touching Lily Rock will be a totally different hike. But, I think we passed by it on this hike and this might be part of it...


We passed this much smaller rock along the trail. Look...I can hold it up...lol...


The rocks formed a picture frame for a tree and a view to the North...


This was not an easy hike! It took us about three and a half hours to get to the top and that included over 2,000 feet of climbing. It was quite steep in some sections. We definitely felt that in our legs and it was very evident in how quickly the view would change. At one point, we looked up at a rocky, jagged ridge and a couple of switchbacks later, we were looking over the top of it and could see the valley below on the other side of it. Whew! We kept thinking that we were getting close to the top but the trail kept going and going as it got steeper and steeper. It was quite a workout but we made it. The peak elevation is 8,828 feet and there's a fire lookout at the top...


The lookout was built in 1937. I can't imagine carrying all the materials up that steep trail to build this. Not to mention, the bed, stove, etc. that they carried up. And, all the water and supplies each time someone comes up to work there. Wow! Here's a peek of what's inside that I shot through the windows...




The views were amazing! To the North was San Jacinto Peak at 10,834 feet. To the East and Northeast we could see over the Palm Springs area and 29 Palms. To the Southeast we could see part of the Salton Sea, Coachella Valley, and the 10 freeway that heads East to Arizona. To the South we could see into San Diego County, And, to the West we could see the whole valley that surrounds where we live. It was pretty clear that morning but a storm was moving in and it became hazy as the day went on. Otherwise, I bet we could have seen the ocean!

Here's hubby soaking in the views...


He caught me doing the same...


We hiked almost eight miles that day. The steepness of the trail took us three and a half hours to reach the top, with a short lunch break. But, it only took us about an hour and 40 minutes to get down. Our legs were so 'done' when we got back to the car and so sore the next day that it was hard to walk. It was so worth it though.

Now that I'm able to walk again...lol...I'm looking forward to our next outdoor adventure! :-)

4 comments:

KarenB said...

I'm seriously impressed! And I live a few yards from a trailhead and have yet to explore it! Shame on me! I think the bush in question is Ceonothus, or commonly known as "California Lilac".

DEEP END OF THE LOOM said...

All I can say is WOW! really amazing view, and the flowers are gorgeous. If I hiked that much at that elevation I'd probably just die in the process. You guys are amazing.

Sandra said...

that's just beautiful! What glorious country! Our hiking and wildflowers tends to be a bit different, as we don't have the desert climate. Please keep sharing...

Erin said...

Great photos! I love that pic of you "holding" up the rock. lol It looks so beautiful up there!