I went on my 2nd backpacking trip last weekend, and hiked up Palomar mountain again. I went a little stronger, more prepared, and lighter on weight. I was able to stay 2 nights at my favorite campsite on the mountain before completing the climb back down from an intimidating 6,000 feet (total elevation gain of about 5,000). Better believe I brought a pair of knee braces for that one . The hike up and down was a 90+ F scorcher, leaving me battling with heat exhaustion for a good portion of the trip. But unlike last time, this path up actually had significant spots of shade, which makes such a huuuuge difference. Thanks to that, I was able to complete the 13 mile climb up in 8 hours, and down in 6 hours.
My downhill speed was also aided by a party of hikers I ran into, who had all kinds of stories about their own backpacking adventures. There was one 80 year old woman who looked like she was about 50, and more fit than a vast majority of 20 somethings. She makes the hike up to 6,000 feet TWICE every weekend :/. Don't know how she does it, I was amazed. Having others there inspired me to keep my pace up, and I made really good time going down, though I was clearly at the end of my rope due to the hell's inferno I met towards the bottom of the mountain x_x.
It was an awesome trip and a great adventure. Now I'm looking forward to climbing the next highest peak, San Jacinto. 10~12,000 feet of mountain.