The trail does indeed go up and over Mt. San Jacinto. I believe it’s the greatest elevation gain in the shortest distance of the entire trail. It weeds out the feint of heart. I told my friend “that was one mean mountain”. The trail follows the Angeles Crest westward from the Big Bear area to Agua Dulce, then turns north again. I saw the skyscrapers of LA, punching upward through the smog and/or marine layer from atop the crest. It was surreal.
On my hike last year, I stopped about 100 miles short of Yosemite. I hiked a bit in the southeastern corner of Sequoia NP, altogether missing Kings Canyon.