Palms to Pines & Rare Desert Storm~

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway has the world’s largest rotating tram cars.

The two and a half mile trip up the mountain from the desert floor takes ten minutes.

It brings you from a desert floor elevation of 479 feet to 8, 516 feet. That’s a big climb in ten minutes!

The ride up moves through five different life zones, from the Sonoran Desert floor to the Arctic/Alpine Zone, where the highest peak, Mt. San Jacinto, is 10, 834 feet.

You leave the stark, baking desert, and hike in the mountains where the temperatures are 30 degrees cooler than below.

During our trip, a summer storm was moving in, causing it to rain on the mountain, and dropping the temperatures even more.

By the time we returned to the desert, we could watch the rain clouds move in over the mountains accompanied by lots of thunder. This is a rare summer occurrence and one I have never seen before. Despite the rain, the temperature remained a steady 112 degrees fahrenheit, and the drops evaporated quickly after contact with the superheated desert.

After the passage of the brief storm, the light was lovely.

Cheers to you from the scorching, but beautiful, summer desert~

184 thoughts on “Palms to Pines & Rare Desert Storm~

  1. Beautiful landscape! What a treat to leave that heat in 10 minutes. Years ago in the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico, I watched a storm come like that. It’s amazing to see the rain moving across terrain–coming right at you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have seen rain in other deserts that was more dramatic, and heavy, but this was remarkable in that this desert so rarely gets rain in mid-summer. I have never seen it and I have been coming regularly to the desert all my life.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. That’s a fast climb at almost 14 mph. Our Sandia Peak Tramway runs at 12 mph, so it takes 15 minutes to climb 4,000 feet on 2.7 miles of cable. I’ve driven through storms like that where I had to pull over, stop and wait for it to pass because I had zero visibility.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yep, I have too. I don’t enjoy driving in storms. I had never seen a summer storm in this desert before and there was lots of thunder so it was exciting. I wonder if they closed the tram later due to thunder and lightning…..

      Liked by 2 people

      • I would be surprised if they ran that tram in a storm. They close our tram in inclement weather, and stop the cars it the winds come up all of a sudden. I’ve been on it when winds came up and they stopped cars. It feels a little strange swaying in the wind 1000 feet above the canyon floor.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Laughing….I bet it did feel strange. The one thing I did notice is they did not stop the tram as we descended despite the thunderstorm, but they may have needed to get us off the mountain. Trams were still going up though……Maybe they have done probability statistical analysis on the relative risk of the tram being struck by lightning during winter storms. Maybe they hadn’t calculated for summer thunder and lightning. Or maybe they did, and the occurrence of both together, the tram being struck by lightning, and a summer thunderstorm, were so rare, why bother. It was just fun being there then. My husband, though, the professor of statistics, did not accompany me on this trip. Laughing more…. I loved every bit of it.

          Liked by 2 people

  3. Beautiful pictures as usual. I think I could see your house from one of them. Remarkable rock striations, some verticals. How many miles of cable are used in that system? If you don’t know, let it go. Those interested, ask Google, Alexa, or Siri.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Laughing…… I don’t know how much cable. I do know the tramway is considered an engineering “wonder of the world,” and they used helicopters to build the stations. I can’t even imagine building this thing. It was a dream of some engineer, who thought it would be nice to go from the hot desert to the cool mountains in a matter of minutes. He was right!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I understand. Smart of you to opt out. ❤ It is not good for people who don't like heights and fast and jarring movement, all at once, or for folks who have trouble with fast ascents in elevation.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Must be some hard truth ‘bout the dry heat 🙂 We hit 112 here in Austin early Sept 2000 & I wasn’t happy, lol! Love your descriptions with the pics, the differing zones and terrains – two miles up! Loved your thunderstorm pic but esp liked the last pic, the beautiful desert in bloom. Much to like about that 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  5. What an amazing experience – I remember it raining briefly in the Kalahari Desert; so out of the blue, quick and the lovely damp smell afterwards that barely lingered.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Cindy, I couldn’t begin to tell you how many times I drove right past this… Palm Springs, Indio and other places east of where I was born and lived for too many years. There were more than three years when I drove up to Yucca Valley to care for the second wife of a great-uncle, believe me, he was anything but great. Yet, I always liked Vern and she had Alzheimer’s so I drove up three times a week and cooked, cleaned and distracted her and tried to keep a distance between myself and my great-uncle. Thanks for showing me what I missed. But the smiles on Vern’s face when I took her for an ice cream cone melted my heart. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  7. This reminds me of Big Bear City where we lived off and on in our early lives when Bill was building park roads in wilderness areas of California. From the desert floor to the high mountain forests we loved it all.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I cannot fathom what 112 degrees feels like! Thank you for showing us the storm — this is one post I’m glad to be reading and not participating in — rotating tram cars would NOT be my thing, ha!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Laughing. It is truly good to know what you want to do, and what you don’t, and honor it.
      This reminds me of what my mother said to me when I told her we were going up The Amazon.
      “Oh,” said, “Better you than me.”

      Liked by 2 people

      • Where about in Northern Manitoba? That is my old haunts. Lived there for most of my childhood. Most people head to Churchill, but there is so much to that rich wilderness. Even got lost in the bush and was saved by a loon…but that is another story….

        Liked by 1 person

        • We are going to Churchill to see the polar bears and the belugas, but then we are heading to Riding Mountain National Park, and renting a cabin to explore all over. I had no idea you grew up in such a remote and gorgeous wild area Rebecca. Have you heard about the two Canadian serial killers from Vancouver Island who are holed up there. Last seen in York Landing in Northern Manitoba. I hope they catch them quickly. All the military and mounties looking for them will scare away the polar bears, plus I have no desire to meet them.

          Liked by 2 people

  9. LOL…I spent the first 23 years of my life in that county of California; where I grew up. I’ve only been on that tram once just before I moved to the The coast of Central California…or just slightly north of that. I remember it was late spring, it was hot in the desert, but up atop that mountain, it was cold (or very very cool). It was shocking to come back down into heat. Alpine to desert in just a quick little trip. LOL

    STUNNING images! And thanks for the return of a great memory (sigh).

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I do not think I will ever get on a lift like that even if it took me to heaven. Those sky lifts absolutely terrify me and everyone else loves them. I love the scenic views you get but I’ll settle for your perfect photos instead. Thanks for saving me the terror. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Reminds me of the tram at Squaw Valley, Cindy. I normally use it when I am backpacking into the Granite Chief Wilderness because it saves hiking up the mountain. 🙂 Thunderstorms in the desert can be quite dramatic. –Curt

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, it is a strange experience, going from such a surreal summer desert environment, to the relative coolness of the alpine environment. I hope you are doing well and it is good to hear from you ❤

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.