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Hiking Through Cloud 9

Peak Summited2022 Mount San Jacinto
Type of HikeDay hike
TrailheadMarion Mountain
Road ConditionsRoad suitable for all vehicles
Bug StatusBugs were an annoyance
Snow ConditionsSnow free
Trail ConditionsMinor obstacles posing few problems

John Muir once proclaimed the view from the peak of Mt San Jacinto to be the most sublime around. Well… I’ll have to take his word for it, because by the time I reached the summit this morning, the entire peak (and surrounding view) had been enveloped in thick clouds. (Luckily I’ve hiked this trail once before — on a far more clear day, so I know what Mr. Muir was referring to.)

Arriving at the Marion Mountain trailhead by 7:15am, I made it my mission to summit San Jac before noon. The views from the trail until about halfway up were astounding, but a dense fog had soon amassed due to increasing cloud cover. After almost six miles and 4,500 feet of ever-winding ascent, I finally reached the iconic stone cabin (where many a PCT hiker has occupied), but could only see it from no more than 15 feet away. That is not an exaggeration, the fog was that thick. The eeriness of rock scrambling to the peak with almost zero visibility was something that I had never experienced before.

After snapping a photo of the survey marker as proof that I had indeed summited this behemoth, I quickly made my way back down as there was little sense in staying up there with no view.

Fortunately the sun began to reappear as I continued my descent, allowing me to enjoy the downward trek, which might be even more strenuous than the climb due to constantly being on high alert in regards to foot placement.

I always seem to catch this trail amid a vast range of climate changes. At least there was no thunder or lightning this time.

 

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