August 16th, 2008--Zack and I got on the trail to the top of Saddleback Mountain at 8am. A few months back Zack, Trent, and I made it to the upper Holy Jim Trail head. At the time, Zack wanted to summit. I told him, we didn't have enough food or water. He continued to ask about the peak, so we planned a bid for the top. We brought along enough energy bars and energy gels for a bid and half. The problem, for me, was the all important fluid. We each brought a water pack full of water and couple extra large bottles. I was also bringing along a back pack for all the food and extra water. With everything we were taking, the packs were very heavy, especially for Zack. Although the Holy Jim trail is very beautiful, I would have preferred the Maple Springs trail up Silverado Canyon, but it's still closed due to October 2007 fires. I also, would have preferred to get on the trail earlier, but since I knew we would be hiking pretty slowly, we would be hiking during the heat day anyway. It took us about 3 hours to arrive at the upper Holy Jim trail head on the main divide. We took a little break and then we're off up the main divide. This trail, up the Main Divide, is a wide fire road climbing steeply in places. While hiking up, we occasionally benefit from the forest canopy. As we were hiking in the heat of the day, we would often take short breaks in the shade of the mountain. Often we would benefit from cool pockets of air that felt wonderful against our sweating t-shirts. At time I felt my steps becoming shorter and more difficult. This was mostly due to the steep grade and the thinning air. As we started to head over the mountain, we could see over into the Corona area. We could see Lake Matthews and good part of the Inland Empire. It wasn't a totally clear day, but we could make out a lot of land marks like the 15 freeway. It seemed as though we had our second wind by now. The repeaters on the top of the mountain were close now. The air was much cooler now. Finally, we rounded what ended up being the last switch back. Somehow out of the corner of my eye, I spotted something in the road moving. I looked up and saw a snake. In fact, it was a rattlesnake dragging it's lunch to it's lair. As we walked by, giving it a wide berth, the snake looked at us just to be sure we were not interested in it's meal. That was cool to see. Another 300 yards and we were at the top. It was just like I remembered. It took me a second to get my bearing and I took Zack over to the point over-looking Orange County and I snapped a few photos. We took a break in some shade under one of the repeater towers. We filled up the last of our water, and we were off down the mountain. It had taken us 5 hours to reach Santiago Peak, so we wanted to get moving. We blazed down the mountain, but our quads were screaming with each pounding step down the mountain. We reached the upper Holy Jim Trail head in little more than an hour. Now down Holy Jim trail to the car. By this time, this 43 year old Dad was having difficulty keeping up with 8 year old. We were both really tired, but it seemed like he could have climbed the whole thing again. Finally, we got to the trail head and back to the car. It took us 5 hours to get up, 3 hours down, and almost 1 hour at the top. Now the dirt road back to the paved road. Before we even got to the paved road Zack was asleep. I guess he was tired after all. We made the successful summit of Santiago Peak. Now it's time for this old man to recover.