San Jacinto Wilderness

 

After last year’s disappointing experience in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, I decided it would be a good idea to practice some winter backpacking skills in the local mountains. Having hiked the San Jacinto Wilderness on numerous occasions (but never in winter) I figured this would be a great place to get my feet wet. I waited for a fresh snowfall and then headed out to Palm Springs, where I rode the aerial tram up to Long Valley. Six feet of fresh powder made for some slow going. I only had one trekking pole (sans snow basket) and it took some practice getting used to my snowshoes. Shortly after starting up the trail, I fell over sideways and it took about 10 minutes to extricate myself from the deep snow. That was exhausting, and I was still in sight of the trailhead.

I hiked up towards Round Valley with the intention of summitting the following morning, but I underestimated how difficult this hike would be. With a 50 lb. pack and no useful poles, I had a hell of a time keeping my balance in the fresh powder. I ended up camping in Round Valley, and didn’t really get an opportunity to take many pictures. I am anxious to get back here next year, though. Backpacking in winter conditions is a completely new and challenging experience.

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