Sunday, 15 November 2009

Winter Wonderland in Socal

To start our second trail, we had to drive back up to the Aerial Tramway, from Palm Springs where we were to spend the night. We were to stay at the Holiday Inn Express,which was really good value at about £50 - admittedly it was cheaper because it was mid-week, but it was in a great spot for good value restaurants, had a lovely pool with views up to the Mountains and desert. We'd eaten at a great Chinese complete with plainly-cooked chicken, masses of green veggies, steamed rice and jasmine tea. My stomach was greatly appreciative!!
A short cable car ride up the mountain side and we were back where we'd been about a week earlier with Lizzy. We'd taken fleeces because we knew it could be cold up there, and with the mist down it was quite cold. We set off on the six-hour hike up Mt San Jacinto, 10,800ft, through pine-clad hills on great, well marked tracks. We were the first up there and had the benefit of stumbling across deer near the tracks. This was great. Walking in almost alpine scenery, whilst looking down on the grid-system development of Palm Springs in the Desert below! However there was a strong, cold breeze, as we climbed, and it became progressively colder.
We reached the summit without too much difficulty, but we were very cold, and felt a bit silly in shorts, as we dropped off and passed a couple of guys, clad in duvet jackets and several layers! We rushed to get off as quickly as possible, and couldn't wait to get back to the warm valley floor. On reaching the cable-car station, we discovered that the temperature at the top had been 37deg F, 31f with wind chill, so 0 deg, freezing, in real money!
We'd had a great walk in beautiful surroundings and both said that we'd go back there again. The beauty of it is, if we visit Andrew and Lizzy in May-time, there's more temperate areas to visit, like San Francisco, and the parks of Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite. If we want to get away in our winter, then there's the guaranteed sunshine of Southern California, and the desert areas. What surprises me is that we really liked the desert and especially waking up to warm sunshine and blue skies every day.
Back to Northridge to stay with Andrew and Lizzy for a few days, before setting off back to UK on Monday.

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