Feeling confident after purchasing some Merrill hiking boots from the REI garage sale we figured the best way to get good use out of them was to hike the biggest mountain we could get to. Little did we know that Mt San Jacinto had recently received a unusally snow fall that would mean we had to hike through tough conditions that we were unprepared for once again. We got to the mountain base, the sign read 5 1/4 miles one way, we didnt know how many feet we would be climbing in elevation either. At the bottom of the hike it seemed that there was only minimal snow, yet as we hiked higher and higher the snow got deeper and deeper. After 3 hours hiking we decided we should find a place to camp, once we set up tent the sun began to go down rapidly. There was a japanese tourist who was shouting out to us as he couldnt see where the trail was going, cam ran down the trail to give him a headlamp so he wouldnt get lost on his way back. This was the coldest night cam and I have ever camped in, not sure of the exact temperature but trying to adjust to the altitude and sleep was proving to be very difficult. Watching the sun rise was a magnificant experience as we had camped on a boulder looking out to catalina island. Assuming we didnt have much further to climb we slowly set off to get to the summit, the hike to the base camp was beautiful the trails through the snow and small creeks were just eye opening. We didnt see anyone coming down the mountain so we were always guessing how far to the top. To be honest this was one of the hardest things I have done, I knew I had to get to the summit but my body was in so much pain I wanted to give up so many times. The thing about this hike was that there were quiet a few flat areas that allowed you to regain strength and adjust to the altitude. We might not have struggled so much if we didnt have our backpacks. Once we got close to the summit there were a few other hikers, that we soon found out had caught the trolly half way and hiked the rest, while we had climbed up the otherside from the bottom. The view from the top was incredible and we were lucky that it was such a clear day as we got a 360 degree view. I would suggest next time possibly doing this over two full days as the hike back in one go was so strenuous. We had climbed 7,000 feet in elevation to reach the summit of 10,834 feet so going back down in one go did have a severe affect on our bodies.