Friday 3 February 2012

Palm Springs: desert to snow in 20 minutes

Palm springs has an amazing aerial tramway that takes you from the desert floor at 805 m (2,643 ft) to the mountain station in Mt. San Jacinto State Park/Wilderness at 2,596 m (8,516 ft) in about 10 minutes. The $480,000 tram car has a rotating floor so you don't get stuck with the same view and is surprisingly smooth and virtually sway-free due to an impressive counterweight system, which you can see at the mountain station.

The day I went up it was about 20°C on the valley floor and about 1°C at the top, with patches of snow and ice on the ground.

Sadly we had a sick child on our hands when we got to palm springs and decided it was a bad idea to take her through the pressure changes and cold involved in a visit to the top. So Em took one for the team and stayed in the carpark with E while I dashed to the top, did a quick walk and took some photos. I'd love to come back and do an overnight trip into the wilderness - there were a few people coming back with overnight packs and crampons. There are a bunch of campgrounds available.

From the top you get amazing views of the desert and the impressive array of wind turbines, which look particularly cool at night with aircraft warning lights blinking in time.

1 comment:

Lydia said...

Spectacular sunset. I do miss the amazing natural beauty of North America.