The Skyline Trail is considered to be one of the steeper trails of its length in the world which is located in Palm Springs, CA. Starts from the Palm Springs Art Museum all the way to Mt. San Jacinto peak. It’s has the greatest elevation gain of any day hike route in the US, considered to be also one of the most dangerous and deadly day hike, and is only recommended for experienced hikers/adventurers.
Dolores Grant and I originally planned on hiking Iron Mountain but I was told that it can be done in 12 hours by my friends. So we decided to do Cactus to Tram where we’re only hiking up to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway because we had family matters to attend to later that day. I started reading articles online about Skyline Trail a day before. Dolores then tells me to stop stressing about it. I’ll be fine. 😀
The trek to the tram is close to 10 miles from the museum. I slightly slept after work on Friday then drove to Dolores home at 10:40pm. She drove all the way to Palm springs at 11:30pm and got to the Palm Springs Art Museum at 1:40am the next day. We parked at the lot in front of the museum which is free. We met the other hikers of the group (Aubrey Nigoza, Pei-Fen Yen, Chris Au, Richard C. Baratta, and Janiece Cordova) led by Paulo Barbosa and Thelma Gonzalez were doing Cactus to Clouds(to San Jacinto Peak) and back to the tram that day which is 22 miles long. We tagged along. 🙂
The trail starts at the back of the museum. Brought our headlamps and gear and we were ready. Took our group photo and off we go at 2:21am. 😀 The weather was perfect as it wasn’t that cold on this early dark morning. Didn’t need a jacket and I only wore a long sleeve thermal shirt. It was already an uphill battle at the start. 😀 Few minutes later, I had to take of my thermal shirt as I was sweating already. Every time we took a rest stop, we felt the cold breeze. Paulo explained to us the difference between altitude sickness and the pain from the elevation gain. Wow what a climb … then Paulo said this is just the 3rd hardest part of the hike. Hmm … I wonder what the 2nd and 1st is. 😀 The sun was about to rise and what an awesome view of Palm Springs. Halfway of the hike, I started to lagged behind the group. I was feeling the pain in my legs. I had to take it slow to avoid cramping which I didn’t throughout this hike. Luckily, the trail was easy to find. Met a friendly Asian group of friends and I tagged and chatted along with them since they’re going to the tram too. Saw Dolores waiting for me and told me to move along. 😀 She pushes me to my limits. 😀 I just told her I should keep my pace. So she moved along and waited for me at the tram area. As I got closer to where the tram is at Long Valley, I just saw another uphill battle and this time it’s longer. The elevation gain from the Desert to Long Valley is more than 8000 ft. climb. Nowhere else to go but straight up. 😀 Met more friendly Asian group hikers. We chatted and they told me that they passed by the other couple in my group who were behind me. They described them to me with their walkie talkies and I told them that’s them. As I continued my accent, there were trails that were hard to find. I had to scramble through rocks to find it. I was almost at the tram area, I got a text from Dolores that she’s at the tram restaurant area with the group that was ahead who are continuing to San Jacinto Peak. I told her I’m having my lunch break as I was hungry and enjoying the view at more than 8,000 ft. The view was amazing while I was eating. There is cell signal near the tram area. The weather around this area had a cool breeze.
As I finally reached the top exhausted, I immediately search where the tram restaurant is. I asked someone in the area where it was and she pointed that way. I saw the railing and I said what … another hike to top. 😀 LoL Dolores saw me and congratulated for finishing the hike even if it took me awhile. Ok 2 hours than hers. 😀 LoL
Bought our tram tickets worth $12 each and sat at the waiting area. There we saw a nice couple, Mario and Marcella, visiting from San Diego. They offered us a ride back near the Palm Springs Art Museum. It was my first time riding the tram as it was amazing. It rotates while it was going down. There were bumps but that was just a thrill. We chatted with the couple as we headed back. We thank them for letting us hitched a ride back to where we parked. We got back to the parking lot at 1:45pm. Before we head back, Dolores placed a plant twig on Aubrey’s car windshield.
Off we go back home. We stopped halfway near gas station and get gas and also do a power nap since we were both drained. It did help by resting a bit. I told Dolores I might not do this hike again. I’m saying that at that moment because I was really tired and I didn’t want to hold up the hiking group. I know my decision will change later. We reached Dolores home and we said our goodbyes. Thanks Dolores for making me do this hike. This was by far the hardest hike that I’ve done.
I was just in time for a family celebration at an Argentinian restaurant. And boy the food was so delicious. Chatted with my cousins and I told them as I get back home, I’m going to sleep. 🙂 Zzzzz