A hike on the way to Mesa, AZ. After three days in the van with just a few pit stops and one short hike on the Pacific Crest Trail where it crosses I-5 at CA exit 726, Blue and Sly were ready for a real hike.
The trail head is located about twelve miles south of Banning CA on Hwy 243. The highway winds its way up into the San Jacinto Wilderness area. The terrain quickly changes from desert to pine forest. Several campgrounds are past the trail head on Hwy 243 but they were all closed except for one in "downtown" Idyllwild. So, after driving the windy road for well over an hour, it was back to the trail head. The trail head is on a short spur of off 243 and I decided to just camp there. We walked a short distance up the trail and watched the sunset.
In the morning, after shooing away a coyote from our camp, we hit the trail at 7:10. It was a nice change of pace to be on a dry trail. The mountain could have been named Granite, with only a few exceptions, the entire trail is crushed granite with many large granite boulders along the way and the peak is solid granite.
We hit big patches of snow at about 7,200 feet of elevation. Arrived at the lookout on top of Black Mt at 10:00 and were back at the trail head at 12:20. We beat most of the heat.
From the trail head we continued on Hwy 243 to the Pines to Palms highway 74 into Palm Desert and then on to Mesa AZ arriving at 10:00 PM. Sly must have have found something "delicious" on the hike, shortly after we stopped in Mesa, Sly got sick (both ends) all over the inside of the camper when I was visiting my sister. I got to sleep at about 4:00 AM. Sly was fine by noon the next day.
Sunset at the Black Mt trail head.
The Bluesmobile at the trail head.
On the trail
Galena Peak in the San Bernardino National Forest
No final scramble to the peak, just a nice payed walkway with a handrail.
And a garage for the rangers to park their vehicle out of the sun.
In the summer, the tower is open to the public during the day.
Making big rocks into small rocks. It looks like the top of this boulder and the two pieces on the right side just fractured this year, the fractures were very clean and didn't have any signs of weathering.
I've never seen pine cones with sharp claws. These cones are very large, the ones I saw were 8-10" long. After some research I found out that these are from Coulter Pines. The cones are 8-16" and weight 4-10 pounds! People working in Coulter Pine groves are advised to ware hardhats.