Exploring Idyllwild

So what do the following represent:

  • 68 to 97?
  • 0 to 6,500?
  • 70 to 19?

Answer: The great diversity of southern California!

In one seven hour trip, I went from sea level to 6,500 feet elevation; 68° F to 97° F; and 70% relative humidity to 19% relative humidity.  If you don’t like the way things are where you’re at in San Diego County, drive an hour and it will be completely different.  (Okay, technically, I left the county on this little trip, but you get the idea.)

For some time now, I’ve wanted to check out the little mountain burg of Idyllwild, so I hopped in my truck and headed north into Riverside County.  I passed through Temecula and its vineyards on my way to Anza and then up the mountain from the south.  (Idyllwild is on the back side of Mt. San Jacinto, which rises to 10,834 feet in elevation, and is the mountain that the famous Palm Springs Aerial Tramway ascends.)

The road up the mountain twists and turns to ease the climb, and my BMW would have been the better vehicle of choice for the drive.  However, the F-150 lumbered around the corners and got me to the 6,000′ elevation level just fine. I wish I could have bottled the fresh pine scent that poured in through my open windows to be able to share it with you through the Internet somehow…  The smell of fresh pine on a gentle breeze always brings me to a happy place.

This was more of a reconnaissance run for me, so I didn’t spend much time in the many shops or eat in one of the numerous restaurants in town.  The next time I go, I’ll leave earlier in the day to allow more time to do just that.  Many of the shops seemed to offer up mountain kitsch for the tourists, but there were several galleries and antique shops to check out, too.  I stopped at a small art show in the park, and there were some interesting pieces (as well as some interesting characters) there

It’s clear that the area has tons of hiking trails, cabins, and camping spots, so it’s probably worth several trips back to check out some of the options available.

Not one to take the same route back, I headed out of town to the north and that put me near Palm Springs, so I popped in there for an hour or so.  Hot.  (When I left home, it was cool so I was in jeans and a long-sleeved cotton shirt–definitely not what the doctor ordered for Palm Springs in July!)  It was interesting, too, because not many people were in Palm Springs, and those that were were likely inside avoiding the heat.  The place was a ghost town late afternoon.

So it was a great little day trip (of 324 miles) that whet my appetite for more.  Being just two hours away, I can see it being a nice little weekend retreat kind of place.


Click to see full-sized photos.

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