Saturday, January 3, 2009

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
2643' to 8516'
12,780' of cable (5873' elevation change)
15 min Tram ride

I've been having troubles with breathing/oxygen lately, so I decided to take my lungs up to some altitude and give them a workout. A perfect opportunity presented itself when Christmas found us in Palm Springs. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway deposits riders at an elevation of ~8500 ft at its Mountain Station! We decided we'd take a ride up it and walk around in the higher altitude.

Here's how NOT to go up the Tram: show up after 3:00 pm on Christmas Day wanting to do the ride and dine. Two terms came to DH's mind: "sheeple" and "Tower of Babel."

Here's how to go up on the Tram: Get online. Purchase and print out your ticket no later than the morning you want to go. Bypass all the crowd and present your printed ticket to take the next tram!

We had fun traipsing around in the snow up there. I use the term "fun" loosely, as it was quite a grueling struggle to get around. We never knew whether our next footstep would hold, sink an inch, sink 6 inches, or sink past the knees! The ice was so crusty, it was scraping my legs as I sank in past my knees.

The day was so sunny that all the pines were raining icicle pieces down around us. It was amazing that we never got smacked by any.

And "be careful what you wish for" is right! My lungs got such a workout that they were burning! The cold, clean, pine-scented air was just what they needed, though. They felt better for the workout afterwards.

Click on any photograph to see larger version.

One of the old tramway cars graces the exterior of the Valley station.

View of the remnant fall colors from the Valley station.

Two of the towers visible from the Valley station.

One of the new round cars nears arrival at the Valley station.

A granite column rises up.

A look back at the valley from the Mountain station.

Palm Springs stretches below.

Afternoon temperature at the Mountain complex.

We decided to hike the Desert View Trail.

I love the smell of the pine trees.

Icicle rain.

Just a little hike in the snow to work my lungs.


How deep will we sink?

Desert view.

Cross-country skiers.

Ice scrapes...a badge of honor.

Someday soon...the peak of San Jacinto.

The tramway uses a counterweight system to operate. It's cool to watch it rise and fall.

Getting ready to head back to the Valley station.

Someday...San Gorgonio, the highest peak in SoCal.

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