I am training for an ascent and traverse of four Fourteeners in a day and I decided on some local suffering to help get into shape for the trip. I have been on San Jacinto in every season and via four different routes. I feel comfortable on the mountain and in the backcountry around it. After looking over my map some I decided to summit San Jacinto, Jean Peak, Marion Mountain and Drury Peak in a day via the Marion Mountain Trail. It is a fairly steep route to 10,000’ and has some great scenery along the way
I did the hike on Saturday (9/2/06) - going from Marion Mtn Trailhead to San Jac in three hours. I jotted my name in the register in the rock-house and traversed to Jean Mtn. I could see grey skies coming in from the Palm Desert, but figured I would beat and rain to the top of Marion. I dropped down and to the right of a rock outcrop in the saddle between the two, seeing a big doe mule dear in the saddle’s low point. Just as I was starting up the slope of Marion, I found a medium tree with bear sign on it. It wasn’t from that specific day, but it was fresh enough to give me the willies as I was doing this trip solo. The weather rolled in just as I could see the summit block of Marion and my hands got a buzz through the rock from a nearby lightning strike about 20 -25 yards shy of the top (I signed the log book on SP, but didn't check the summited box. It still show on my page though... hmmm...). That was a little too close for me and I hauled ass down the mountain.
I decided to stay low on the slope and go to the left of Drury to pick up the trail back down. By the time I got almost to Drury, the sun popped out and I scrambled up, signed the log and ran down to Little Round Valley after seeing from its summit (my favorite of the day) that the sun was shining through a hole in a dark curtain of weather. I ran most of the trail down, but the rain caught me a mile from my truck. I wasn’t to disgruntled about getting wet as it was a welcome relief from all the bugs that were swarming down low.
From car to car the trip took me 8 hours. I could have done it a little faster if I would have left my 35mm camera at home and if I would have read an e-mail about a proposed route from Wingding before I left. Just for the record the proper way to do this traverse is to hit Drury from Little Round Valley, head toward Marion -stay low until you are even with the saddle’s low point, go left into the saddle, up Marion, then onto Jean – skirting a rock outcrop between the two, and finally to the summit of San Jacinto before heading back down the trail. This was Wingding’s advice and as I did it in reverse, I can tell you her way would have been better.