Seven Pines Spring Hike, April 24th 2019

Matt came to town for a visit and naturally we wanted to do a hike. Initially we planned to do a nice desert hike, but then temperatures for the available dates were forecast way too high. So we settled on a “classic”, 7 Pines Trail on San Jacinto.

Unfortunately Jack and John had some last minute commitments and had to cancel. Matt and Kevin went out for a day of climbing around Idyllwild and I met them in the evening for a night of camping on Thomas mountain. The next morning we drove to Idyllwild, got our self-issue permit at the Ranger Station and continued to the trailhead.

After Dark Canyon campground the road had sustained quite a bit of damage during the wet winter. It became impassable for Kevin’s car. Rather than squeezing into my truck for the last mile we decided to start our hike right there. The trail up to the crossing of the North Fork San Jacinto River was in very good shape. The river was flowing quite strongly, but we found a convenient spot where we could cross without getting wet feet or having to take the boots off. On the other side the trail continued, but we soon encountered large patches of snow that made finding the route hard. Even in summer it’s tricky up here to find the “trail”. Initially we tried to stick with the actual route with the aide of GPS maps (we had forgotten to bring paper maps), but this led us into the snow. The northern/eastern facing slopes had lots of snow which made progress slow. The west facing slopes had lots of open ground. So we decided to just follow the open ground straight up the steep slope towards the PCT/Fuller Ridge Trail. As we approached the trail we saw our first PCT through hikers of the day. The trail was mostly clear of snow up to the intersection with Deer Springs Trail.

At Deer Springs Trail we put on our Microspikes and followed the main track of foot prints up the slope. This was not the actual trail, but a popular winter route. Eventually we made it to Little Round Valley where we took our customary break at the eastern end. While snacking in the sun we checked the time and realized that we were actually out of time. Kevin had an important meeting to attend and we had set 4pm as our latest time back at the cars. So we headed back down after our snack following the same route we had come up and arrived at the cars with just a few minutes to spare

Balloons: We very often find the remains of party balloons on our hikes. On this hike we ran into the first 3 just along the first mile of hiking. Then we spotted more down in a creek bed. We left those for the return and Kevin scrambled down to retrieve them when we came back. He ended up with a total of 15 balloons, beating our sad, previous record of 13 balloons in one hike.

Another great day on mountain.

(Click on any picture to enlarge/start slide show)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.