The Elusive Jean Peak

(9/12/08) Written by John S.
Photo Credits: Glen O.

The hike was posted a few days prior to taking place and it sounded so interesting I had to go. Having hiked to the peak of San Jacinto a few weeks prior I really wanted to go back and hike in the same area but from the Palm Springs side of the mountain.

We took the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to our starting point. For those of you that have not ridden the Palm Springs tram I highly recommend it. The tram slowly spins 360 degrees as it ascends to 8,500 ft and offers sweeping views of the mountains and valley. Once we were at the top Glen proceeded to lead us to the secret rangers trail that would take us to the elusive Jean Peak. But before we started our hike Glen took us to the beautiful outdoor gathering area where he and Mike will be married on October 25th. Needless to say his excitement was obvious.

This was another great hike and much of it was cross-country without a lot of elevation gain and the topography was very interesting. Unfortunately we did not run into the adorable ranger that had guided us stragglers in the group to the top of San Jacinto a few weeks prior (but I was on a constant lookout for him). It was also fun because not only did we take the secret ranger trail; we had the trail all to ourselves.

When we reached Jean Peak around noon we were the only ones there. The weather was perfect and views were amazing. Not only could we see the surrounding valleys and mountains, we could see fellow hikers on the top of San Jacinto where we had been a few weeks prior.

The beauty of nature in the west and in California continually amazes me. After living in Florida most of my life, where the highest point above sea level in the entire state is roughly 250ft, the places that I have been this year and the hikes I have been on are so breathtaking and they have continually renewed my spirit.

If you are reading this and wondering if you should try hiking I encourage you to go for it. Hiking is new for me, as are all of these beautiful places we explore, but meeting the great people in the group and the communion with nature for me has been a tremendous experience.

When we returned to the tram station we all had a beer and toasted the day and another great hike. We then took the tram to valley floor and headed out to our dinner destination in Palm Springs, Wang's.

So I had never been to Palm Springs in the summer and let me tell you if you don't already know this, it's hot. It was a balmy 106 degrees at 6 pm. They say it's a dry heat but I thought is felt more like an oven outside.

Back to dinner, after the day's hike we were all hungry and we ordered practically everything on the menu. The food was great, the waiter was cute, and a good time was had by all.

I headed back to San Diego after dinner but there was a group that remained in Palm Springs and hit the clubs......their revelations are another chapter.

A final note, a personal thank you to our fearless leaders for all they do in planning these hikes and back packing trips.