Spitler Peak

Fobes Trail to PCT Halfmile 168.6 and back
(9 miles, +3,000/-3,000 feet).

I’ve been itching to get into the Sierra with the low snow year we’ve had but May has turned out to be surprisingly cool and a little snowy — just enough for me to cancel a couple of trips.

But not to fear — there is still lots of beautiful stuff to see in SoCal!

MixMaster and I got a leisurely 5:15am start from San Diego and were at the Fobes Trailhead by 7:30am.  The last 3 miles are a little rough, and we could have made it in my little Honda, but I was glad to have MixMaster’s Subaru all wheel drive!

The trailhead is not really marked — it’s just a fork in the road with a Road Closed sign and enough room for a couple of cars to park.

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Fobes Trailhead

It was a nice climb from about 5200 feet to 6000 feet at Fobes Saddle.   The Yucca and other wildflowers were in full bloom!

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Yucca Yucca
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Pretty Purple

At the saddle we joined the PCT and headed towards Apache Spring.  This part of the PCT was just reopened this year as the Forest Service continues rebuilding the trail from the Mountain Fire in 2013.

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PCT!
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Trailside lupines
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Entering the wilderness

The trail winds around Spitler Peak up the east side of the ridge with a lot more switchbacks than I was expecting, taking us up to 7200 feet before descending to the new closure at the intersection with the Spitler Peak trail.

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Slowly recovering from the Mountain Fire
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Sorry, folks.  Park’s closed!

MixMaster and I lingered at the closure for a bit admiring the views on both sides of the knife-edged saddle.

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Paintbrushes
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View down towards Coachella
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Looking back towards Spitler Peak
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A gorgeous succulent

On the way back I decided Spitler Peak was too close to pass up, so I climbed up the last 200 feet to get some great views all around.

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North towards Apache Peak (front right) and San Jacinto (back center)
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South towards Pyramid Peak
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West towards Lake Henshaw
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JimmyJam and St. Jack

The way back was peaceful and easy as we descended the switchbacks and headed back to the Subaru.

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Fobes Ranch below from Fobes Saddle
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One more Yucca

As it turns out, the biggest adventure of the day was on the drive back.  The Subaru’s transmission died just as we were passing through Temecula.  We were pretty lucky it happened there and not at the remote Fobes Trailhead, where we didn’t even have much of a cell signal.  We waited for the tow truck under some nice trees on the side of the road after raiding a nearby 7-11, and soon we were headed back home.

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