Aye Caramba!

(7/14/08) I've been on enough Perfect Pace trips to know what could potentially go wrong, so I don't feel bad any more for leaning on the side of caution. Safety First. The mountains and deserts will always be there tomorrow...

I changed the plans for our backpack to start from Devil's slide trail instead of the tram station. In hindsight, we probably could have stuck with the original plan, but with the reports I had at the time, the change in plans was necessary.

Perfect Pace welcomed a couple new kewl members on this trip, Jim and Chris.

We started our trek up the Devil's Slide trail. Once we reached saddle junction, I got my gaitors ready. The reports I received gave me the impression that lots of snow still covered much of Tahquitz Valley. Well, it was a few spotted mounds of snow at best. Better for us. It made hiking a lot easier and it was a beautiful time to be hiking in the Jacintos. The temperatures we're perfect for hiking and the view of the snow covered peaks just made it seem like we we're way up in the alps or something. We stopped at Willow Creek for lunch and did some catching up with each other. There was even time to throw a few snow balls around.

We then continued our journey down to Caramba Camp where the stream flowed vigorously. It's actually the first time I've seen it flow there the few times I've been to Caramba Point. And although there we're obviously quite a few campers at Law's Camp, we had Caramba Camp all to ourselves. It was heaven. When the water is flowing, I've got to say its got to be one of the prettiest most remote camp sites in Tahquitz Valley.

After setting up camp, we went on our afternoon day-hike to Caramba Point. There wasn't much of a trail when I navigated up to Caramba Point during my scout trip, which made the cross-country trek up to Caramba Point a little challenging. And of course, I probably made it more difficult than necessary when I navigated the group up that afternoon. What can I say... more muscle on these already hot, muscular men ;)

The views at the peak we're fabulous. Many of the guys stripped off their shirts (uhhh, did I say hot muscular men yet...) and enjoyed the warm sun as we took in the views of the Coachella basin below, the desert divide, the snow covered peaks, and of course, each other.

We then headed back down to camp for happy hour. For dinner, I debuted a new entree from the Perfect Pace kitchen -- Paella. We engaged in lots of great conversation that night around the candlelight campfire. I wish the night didn't have to end. A couple of the guys slept under the stars that evening on the party tarp. It was Tony's virgin night under the stars. Jeremy awoke that night suddenly startled to the sound of someone or something rapidly approaching them. Just Erick here - hehe.

The following morning we put together our morning Joe and gathered around our fabulous outdoor kitchen. We we're honored to celebrate Matt's birthday that day. Happy Birthday Matt!

We started our return leg back to the trailhead and on our way took in some of the great views of Tahquitz Meadow. It was a little too early for the flowers and green pastoral setting, but it was still pretty darn gorgeous.

Once we got back to the trailhead we had some drinks and snacks and shortly thereafter, swung over the Goodtimes Pub and Grill. It was all about good times as we we're served by friendly Rosie the Riveter, with great food, and of course, a final Happy Birthday wish for Matt.