Cactus to Clouds

While I slept peacefully in the back of my car, my husband and dear friend started out on this amazing hike. This 

Skyline Trail: Cactus to Clouds is a 18.7 mile, 

from Palm Springs to San Jacinto Peak has the greatest elevation gain of any trail in the United States. Also known as the Skyline Trail, it climbs 8000 feet from the desert to Long Valley, then joins with the main trail to gain another 2600 feet to the summit. 

Around 9:00am, while my friends had been hiking around 4 hours, I caught the awesome Aerial Tramway to our designated meeting spot. The air was hot and dry in Palm Springs that morning, already hitting close to 85 degrees, but as soon as we started gaining ground in the tram car, the temperature steadily dropped. I'm going to guess to about 55 degrees. Needless to say, I had a huge grin on my face from the moment I woke up because I knew my friends were living in the moment, putting foot in front of foot and heading upwards to where I'd meet them.

Once at the end of the tram way I hiked my way to the ranger station to learn where my friends would come from. I admit it, I was impatient so instead of waiting between 15 minutes to 2 hours for them to arrive, I took off on a short 5 mile trail run. It was amazing and I didn't feel bad when I saw my husband's impatient and angry face when I returned and learned that they had been waiting 45 minutes for me.  Ooops!

We then began the hike to the summit, 5 miles and some change. Due to impeccable timing and chance, we happened upon some friends who had been doing a weekend backpacking trip in the same mountain range! It was so nice to get into nature!

Headstand at the peak of San Jacinto

Nicole Wright
Nicole Wright