We Give Thanks

image In Mt. San Jacinto State Park

Happy 🦃 Turkey Day, 2016! I am grateful to my family and friends for embracing my love and showering it back again. Thank you for giving my life a purpose and filling my ❤️ heart with loving memories and lots of laughter.

But there’s someone else I am so thankful for, and that is my husband, Jeff, who I so often take for granted. He is my best friend, my confidant, my sounding board, my cheerleader, and my yin to my yang.

Since family and friends are scattered in Ireland, Colorado, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Ohio, we aren’t gobbling turkey today. Instead we are headed for Palm Springs and the Aerial Tramway to spend the day together enjoying nature on a mountain. Sorry, Casey and Murph, only service dogs are allowed on this adventure.

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Palm Springs is 70 miles from Lake Elsinore, our winter home, a little more than an hour away. Oh, but we’re in California so let’s add another 45 minutes!

We take Highway 74 northeast to D Street in Perris and

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pick up the 215 North. Just outside of Riverside we take Highway 60 East through the Moreno Valley.

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Highway 60 merges into the 10 and we exit onto Highway 111 where we follow the sign to 1 Tram Way.

We pay for parking in Lot F but once we find a space, we are discouraged by the long line of “parkees” waiting for the shuttle to transport them to the Valley Station to buy tickets and board the tram. So we decide to walk. A traffic attendant advises us that it is a 25 minute steep uphill route. Ten minutes later we arrive. Yes, we are out of breath. No, we did not hurry.  It’s 11:00 and we purchase tickets for the 11:20 tram.

We go upstairs and wait on the Tramview Patio. I get a glimpse of the first cable tower.

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The 11:10 tram arrives for boarding.

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And then it’s our turn to board a rotating tram car for a 10-minute, 2 1/2 mile trip up from 2,643 feet to an elevation of 8,516 feet, passing through 5 unique life zones, from Sonoran Desert to Alpine. (Tramway brochure)

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It’s a long way down.

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It’s a long, long way down!

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When we enter the tram, the temperature outside is 75 degrees. When we depart the tram, it is 50 degrees, and, to the delight of kids around us, there is snow on the ground.

To get from the Mountain Station to the alpine trails and snow-patched play land below, there is a steep, downhill, switch-back paved pathway. (What goes down, must go back up, later…)

Jeff and I enjoy a scenic hike 8,400 feet above sea level surrounded by desert.

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But before we encounter the desert views, we meet Jeff,

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the butterscotch-smelling pine tree with reddish-brown bark.

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Meanwhile this snowy, sandy, and rocky trail does not disappoint.

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Back down in the desert again, we take a spin through the main drag of Palm Springs

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and head back to Lake Elsinore where we raid the refrigerator for dinner. Somehow pb and j doesn’t quite substitute for pumpkin pie.

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