Saturday, December 13, 2008

Intimidating storm clouds prevented ALL of the Mission Hills CC Hiking Group hikers from hiking today.

We knew it was supposed to be in the 50's at the start of the hike. But gale force winds, black clouds and potential rain here in the desert foothills? When six of us showed up at our meeting place at Bob Hope and Gerald Ford at 7:30am this morning, none of us expected the quick weather change we experienced during the 20 minute drive to the Art Smith Trailhead.

The six of us drove to the trailhead in two cars. After parking my car at the Art Smith trailhead, I climbed up a small embankment looking to see if Ernie and Carol's car was approaching. I was nearly blown over from the 40+ mile an hour gusting winds.

Peggy, Carol, Ernie, another Carol, Heidi and I stood outside our cars, fighting the wind while discussing whether we'd venture up into the San Jacinto foothills with the rapidly growing storm clouds darkening more and more of the sky.

Some of our group didn't have rain jackets. The temperature in the car had read 49 degrees. With the high winds and most likely rain, I didn't feel comfortable with hikers heading out without rain jackets. So sadly but smartly, Peggy, Carol and Carol decided not to go on the hike.

Heidi, Ernie and I actually had a great time leaning into the wind and kind of excitedly looking forward to what the weather was going to do. The black clouds coming in from the West over the top of the San Jacinto Mountains seemed to indicate we very likely would be drenched with rain.

Hiking the steep trail kept us warm as we climbed all the way to our rest stop about 1 hour and 40 minutes after we started. The rain didn't come. During our 20 minute break in a gully, the winds stopped.

We retraced our steps and descended the trail as the sky filled with even more black storm clouds. But all we ever felt was an occasional drop of rain and no more wind.

The sun was out on the valley floor, and we started taking off some of our warm clothing as we talked and enjoyed the remainder of our hike.

I felt sad the others hadn't been on the hike.

A quick video of the noisy wind and black clouds as we hiked.

Here's a link to a few photos from the day:

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