San Gorgonio Hike
Just the littlest efforts turn into major accomplishments. This has been my theme lately. Just start. Pick a goal and go for it. What’s the worst thing that can happen when you try?
Like going to the top of San Gorgonio. I did a little blog post the other day proposing a hike to the top of Southern California’s highest summit. I didn’t get too many takers. Maybe the 14-15 miles part of the description intimidated a few people. Okay. Let the truth be told…I’m a sandbagger. Sometimes…every now and then…I say hikes/runs/yoga classes will be easy…when they’re not.
So Anna and Brandon signed up. They both are experienced marathoners so I figure they’d do great up the mountain.
While most of LA was heading to the stores to shop on Black Friday, after a late start (another story), we drove up to the Ranger Station to get a permit. The fact was the hike, Vivian Creek Trail, was 8.6 miles one way! All uphill. It was going to be long day!
The first two miles were steep! I began ChiRunning up the mountain and was promptly told to slow down by my hiking partners. Thanks Anna for the reminder to enjoy the journey.
The hike was demanding. I will not sandbag my report. The altitude. The never ending switch backs. The many false summits. About 4/5 up the mountain, Brandon and I started dragging. We were still moving, one foot in front of the other. Deep breaths. But the idea of ChiRunning had stopped about 2000 feet lower for me. Then Anna yelled something motivational which I can’t even remember and it wasn’t too motivational for me but for her. And she took off.
Left us. We couldn’t barely even see her. Okay she can run a marathon in under four hours but where did she get this mountaineering strength from? Well, one thing about long hikes with people is find out things about them. Interesting Anna Fact 1: in college, she leg pressed 450 pounds!!!! 450!!!! She emphatically told me it was “just leg pressing not a squat”, but still…you gotta be kidding me.
Brandon, I found out as we were both sucking air at about 11000 feet, has already run four marathons this year. And was doing this hike a week before the Las Vegas Marathon. Ambitious considering this was his first major mountain he’s climbed.
I finally caught my second wind (actually more like my fourth) and caught up to Anna. We came up to the summit together, signed our names in, and marveled at the views…Lake Arrowhead, the desert, magnificent San Jacinto, miles and miles of pine trees. Brandon warriored on joined us shortly. We ate lunch huddled in the rocks as it was 36 F up there! I thought my nose was going to fall off from the cold wind.
The summit is at 11900 feet. The highest point in Southern California.
Then we came down the mountain. Half hiking. Half ChiRunning. Finished the hike in the dark to an almost full moon.
This hike was demanding and long. But worth every step of the way. It’s a must do for Southern California hikers. And its only about 1.5 hour drive to Redlands from Long Beach.
Needless to say. We were all injury free. Tired when we got back to the car, but feeling very proud at our efforts.
I want to thank you both for the fine company that day. I could not have asked for better hiking companions. You are both strong warriors who know that you must keep on going to accomplish these athletic endeavors. Thanks for giving this mountain a try. And pulling it off!