Published: May 22nd 2012May 12th 2012
May 12, 2012
Wellman Divide (9,700 ft) from Humber Park (6,100 ft).
Today would mark our first official group training hike. Kyla and I had missed the last two group hikes, and this would not even compare to my first two mini-hikes. Our trail head was Humber Park in Idyllwild, with our intended destination being San Jacinto Peak, or however far we could make it. Kyla and I met the group of experienced hikers, including Scott, the primary organizer, and took off at 7:30am.
Immediately upon taking to the trail I was wheezing for breath. At 6,100 feet in elevation, it was evident that this hike would be a struggle all the way. Scott kept a slow and steady pace for Kyla and me while the remaining group members trekked on ahead. It was incredible how quickly we gained altitude. I used Suicide Rock as a marker, walking past the base at the beginning of the trail, and then suddenly we were looking down from above. Frequently, Scott made many stops along the way, to describe the trail or alternate routes or to point out interesting things. This, I knew, was actually a mercy comfort stop intended to
allow the novice hikers to catch our breaths, and was much appreciated.
We came across a primitive stream and filtered the water to replenish our supply. It was a neat trick. At this point, we were still a good three hours from the summit, based on our slow, slow pace. Instead, Scott, Kyla and I agreed to stop at Wellman Divide, situated at a respectable 9,700 feet. It was slow going to reach our destination, as the altitude was really impacting my progress. But at last, we made it! Kyla and I promptly collapsed on the rocks and took in the views and some much earned rest while we waited the other group members to return from the San Jacinto summit. After a 30 minute rest, the other hikers joined us and we began our decent.
Going up was not very strenuous on my muscles at all, and my feet were not discomforted. In fact, the only thing preventing me from going further was a simple lack of oxygen and energy. I would have otherwise been perfectly comfortable to continue. Going down, however, was clearly a bad decision. There are muscles in my legs which had never worked
so hard. And they made that fact clear. Happily, I was never out of breath going downhill and we did the entire six miles nearly in one four hour trek. By the time we reached the parking lot, the only thought occupying my mind was finding the toilets. I was determined not to have to crouch behind a shrub during this hike, and by the end of the day I was milliseconds away from resorting to that. Our ending time was around 6:30-7:00pm, making the total hike time around 11 hours or thereabouts.
Despite the fact that we did not go all the way to the summit, I am extremely satisfied with our hike. Twelve miles round trip, up to 9,700 feet in elevation with a 3,600 foot gain in altitude. This is the most extreme hike I have ever done - for now, at least!
There are more photos below