Picture
Panorama from the summit.
Originally, Labor Day was going to be a summit of White Mt, a California 14er, but due to timing considerations and lack of coverage at work, turned into a summit of Mt. San Jacinto, the high point of the San Jacinto Mountains State Park. Towering at 10,804 and across a valley from Mount San Gorgonio, the two peaks create an impressive display of prominence in the area. San Jacinto Peak is famous for the Cactus-to-Clouds trail, a grueling 20 mile hike minimum from the valley floor, up 8000 feet of elevation gain, and back down via Palm Springs Aerial Tramway (also worth seeing). Needless to say, since this was supposed to be a relatively quick trip, we passed on the long 20 mile hike of death and opted for the 12 mile round trip hike to the summit from Marion Mt, with only 4000 feet of gain. 

Marie and I met up with Abhinav and Rose before carpooling over to the Idyllwild Ranger Station together to get our permit. We got a late start doing this and didn't get to the Marion Mountain trailhead until 11am. We started on the trail, passed by the Marion Mountain campground, and up the continuous incline for 2.8 miles to the junction with the PCT (known locally as the Deer Springs Trail). Less than a half mile north on the trail, we headed east toward San Jacinto Peak on the 2.6 mile trail to the summit rock. Marie and I had broken away a little earlier and practically sprinted up the mountain. At the top, we rested to escape the heat on the nice breeze of the summit, and took a couple fun panoramic photos. After spending a long time at the summit, we started the trail down, took a quick stop to check out the camping shelter/ cabin, and got going down the long trail. Unfortunately, we were racing against sunset and eventually lost. We were prepared with numerous lights, but tried to go as late as possible into dusk with minimal light, and had to do a few doubletakes as we almost went off trail a few times. The way up sure seemed easy, but in low light was very difficult to follow. We made it down without any issues, aside from having to bushwhack a detour around a loud rattlesnake in the middle of the trail. After meeting up at the car, we made the late drive back to LA with another local highpoint notched on our belt.