Palm Springs tram to San Jacinto peak (11 miles + 2,300’ gain, all above 8,500 feet)

[caption id="attachment_1668" align="aligncenter" width="252"]San Jacinto Tram Tram Over San Jacinto[/caption] Palm Springs Tram - Photo by Don Graham Flickr When I hike I don’t stop to pick any buttercups. Hiking up I don’t get passed very often. I was really surprised when two charming young girls caught me. I usually hike alone so having companions would have been fun. But the taller gal, the frequent marathoner, motored away right away. Dutifully; the young gal stayed with me for a mile before sprinting to the peak. On the summit we shared the view and chatted a few minutes; but then it was TIME! Running down I less often get passed. To reduce the chance, I bolted while the ladies were fussing with their gear. Halfway down the hill I was still fresh and making really good time but I hadn’t seen a person or a sign in thirty minutes and the trail had flattened out then disappeared. A trail in the forest is not hard to follow if you’ve already hiked it, but not if you are going the opposite way and you didn’t take the time to look back or read the signs. When I tried to retrace my steps I saw many trails, most of which I tried; some twice. None were helpful. My orientation was completely scrambled. An overnight stay was looming large. An hour later the shadows were shouting, “This is feeding time for cougars.” I wondered if the one who got me would consider me special or just food. And what would he or she do with my new state-of-the-art cell phone and running shoes, or the T-shirt and shorts I would otherwise need for warmth during the night.