Climbing Above the Clouds to Santiago Peak

(6/2/06) The off-road drive to get to the Holy Jim trailhead was an adventure in itself. It's definitely not a course for low-riding sedans. It's probably not a great course for wanna-be 4X4 cars like mine either.

As we started our hike up the Holy Jim trail, I was pleasantly surprised by how lush and green many sections of the trail were, especially the first couple miles. The mountain stream was very lively and Holy Jim Falls, where we took a quick side tour to, was still roaring. We ran into a large troup of young boy scouts when we got to the falls. Hopefully we didn't scare them away.

This particular trip was a fast-paced conditioning hike. The other guys set the pace for this hike. I loved it. It was challenging and fast enough to keep my heart rate up, yet not too fast to wind me. The trip normally takes 8 hours to complete. Minus the breaks, we completed it in an amazing 5 οΎ½ hours.

On our last leg to the top we rose above the marine cloud layer. It really makes you feel like you're on top of the world when you are looking down at a blanket of clouds. Mt. Baldy was directly across the LA basin from us and was glistening with cap of snow. The cloud blanket just seemed to emphasize its close proximity to us.

At the end of our trip, we headed over to the nearby Rose Canyon Cantina. Wow, another jewel in the middle of nowhere. We had a fabulous time there. Thanks to Alan for the suggestion.

We had one mishap on the trip, which happened to me. I got stung by a bee right in my armpit. The whole painful incident seemed to happen in slow motion. I won't gross you out with the gory details, but I did have to start on antibiotics and steroids a couple days later. My body does not seem to react well to bee stings. I don't think I would have survived Edie's yellow jacket attack on the season finale of Desperate Housewives.

Special thanks to Jeff for the great pictures. They are labeled JeffC.