Tag: mountains

SpringLocker: From SoCal to Worldly Explorer

SpringLocker: From SoCal to Worldly Explorer

Hey Everyone! 

I’m starting to incorporate more collaboration articles into my blog so I have them all in one place to reference later. Awhile ago I was interviewed by an outdoorsy company called SpringLocker, which is a website that crowdsources the best outdoor gear and experiences. So for example, you can add a review for your new La Sportiva climbing shoes so other climbers can figure out what the best climbing shoe is for them. 

Read about my story here about how I fell in love summiting mountains, starting in California and now all over the world!

FROM SOCAL TO WORLDLY EXPLORER

Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland

 

Mt. Olomana

Mt. Olomana

Three Peaks Trail to reach Mt. Olomana was probably one of the most difficult hikes I’ve ever done. 5 miles of climbing a mountain and scaling the side of cliff with a single rope, only to slide through mud back where you started. The 360 degree view of the whole island was awesome, but I don’t think I’ll do that one alone again.

We went to the Dole Pineapple Plantation just for the Pineapple ice cream. That was it. Then we went stand up paddleboarding down a river that turned into a jungle. Hannah had a headache so she went home while me and Craig went on a 6 mile hike to Ka’ena Point, where you can see both east and west sides of the island. I was wearing sandals and it started pouring rain the whole time and I walked the rest of the way back barefoot through mud.

Hawaii 5 Hawaii 6

Mt. San Jacinto

Mt. San Jacinto

Yesterday I summited Mt. San Jacinto at 10, 834 feet! Originally I had planned to do it with Kyle so I paid for our permits a few weeks ago, but since things didn’t work out I found someone else to go: Alex. Alex was a buddy of mine in my Heat Transfer class – very outgoing, motorcycle-racing¬†25-year-old half-Asian towering at 6’3″. He told me that I am his new best friend the other day, so on Saturday I asked if he wanted to hike Mt. San Jacinto with me; he was exhausted from his race that day but he agreed and was excited to go.

I got back late from a LA Galaxy soccer game with one of my friends Saturday night, so Alex and I didn’t get to bed until 12:30AM. We woke up at 4:30AM to top it off. We drove 2 hours & 45 minutes to the quaint town of Idyllwild to stop by the ranger station and we headed over to the Marion Mountain Trail head. This trail is the shortest route up the mountain at 17 miles, but is also the steepest and most strenuous. We accidentally strayed off the path and hiked through pure wilderness; we had no idea where we were going for an hour but kept going straight up, and literally climbed and pulled ourselves over ledges to keep going. Later in the day as we got closer to the top, Alex decided he wanted to try a “shortcut” by himself while I stay on the trail. I agreed without thinking, and continued on my way as I saw him disappear into the forest. After about an hour of separation I started to realize that he might end up on the wrong summit or be injured and I would have no way of reaching him. The anxiety of not knowing where he was pushed me to haul up the trail faster, and I hoped that he was waiting for me at the top.

I passed by the stone hut, which is a shelter during a rainstorm for hikers and has bunk beds and emergency supplies. The summit was at my reach, and I just had to climb over huge boulders to make it. As I hoisted myself over the final boulder, I heard Alex’s voice from above and I felt so relieved and happy to see him. We took pictures with the sign and ate the rest of lunch dangling our legs over the side of a cliff with a couple thousand foot drop below. We jogged back down the mountain, making it down in 2 hours. I wore my brand new running shoes that day so I wouldn’t get tendonitis like last time, but my feet were all bloody from blisters popping up everywhere. Even though it was bugging me I was determined to get back to the truck, but Alex noticed and insisted he bandage me up with his Eagle Scout skills. We were so happy to see the truck and get back home. We had an awesome day together, and I’m excited for all our upcoming adventures planned!

Mt Jacinto 1 Mt Jacinto 2 Mt Jacinto 3

Mt. San Gorgonio

Mt. San Gorgonio

3 AM. I roll out of bed after a few hours of sleep, grab my rucksack, ate a hearty breakfast, and headed out in my dad’s truck. We drove almost 3 hours to get to Fish Creek trail. Originally we wanted to do Vivian Creek trail, which is the shortest, yet steepest, but since all the permits were taken we settled for Fish Creek. It’s 2 miles longer but has more of a gradual climb we figured it might be easier on the legs. Once we got off the main road, it was a 45 minute drive on rough, rocky dirt roads. I did my best driving but I couldn’t help but laugh when I looked over at Kyle and he was literally bouncing and being tossed around in his seat, trying to hold on.

We finally got to the start of the trail and man, the truck looked filthy (sorry dad). We headed out feeling good and excited, but I also felt antsy thinking about trying to complete 20.2 miles with all the studying I had to do for my classes. The beginning was beautiful, filled with meadows, a lot of greenery, and tall, lush trees lining the creek. The trail was a slow, gradual climb, which was so much nicer than Mt. Baldy since that was a burning calf workout. For those of you wondering, Kyle and I were planning on doing the 8000 Meter Challenge, but on Wednesday the Idyllwild ranger station called saying they cancelled all the permits this weekend due to wildfires. Since we still had the permit for Mt. San Gorgonio, we decided to still do the hike.

As we gained altitude, I noticed my hands started swelling up and started thinking that I got stung by something, but it was just the elevation change – duh. There was also a rancid, moldy smell at many points throughout the climb. At first I thought it was me because I smelled it so often, but I realized there were bushes giving off the odor. Kyle and I powered up the mountain and passed many groups of people and only got passed by one girl who was literally sprinting up the mountain. I made sure I was hydrating and urinating plenty this time around so I wouldn’t get another UTI. I’m becoming a pro at finding good trees to squat behind. (Sidenote: the doctor said the UTI was from not hydrating and not urinating when I hiked Mt. Baldy.)

My legs were feeling great until we were close to the top; they started feeling heavy and my left hip joint started to ache, but we were so close there was no way I was going to stop now. At 11,503 feet we made it to the summit! It felt so good to reach the top, and I was even more excited to eat my lunch (no joke, that’s all I could think about on the upper half to the top). Last night I cooked rotini pasta with marinara, broccoli, spinach, and cherry tomatoes and also packed a Nature Valley granola bar, a Clif Bar, trail mix, fruit, and shot blocks. Kyle took a power nap while I rearranged my bag, took pictures of my chipmunk friends, stripped out in the open to change into warmer clothes, and screamed as huge bees buzzed by my ears. Kyle started to feel drops of rain as his eyes were closed and as I looked off into the distance I saw a huge flash of lightning and thunder boomed quickly after, maybe half a second.

We gathered our things and made our way down the mountain to try to beat the T-storm. Our plan was to run down the mountain but after about 20 minutes, our legs were worn out and decided to just power walk. It was pretty warm so I took off my jacket, found a tree, then continued down the path. Within 5 minutes, the thunder boomed again and rain started to pour. Visibility was low; it was so foggy coming down that I could barely see more than 15 feet ahead. I had running tights and a rain jacket on but I felt bad that Kyle was just in shorts and a t-shirt. He was soaked!

Even though it was raining hard (Grandpa would have said it was raining like a cow was pissing on a flat rock), it was still an enjoyable experience. The colors in the trees were now a beautiful, vivid orange with leaves bright green and you could smell the sweet scent of fresh bark. When Kyle and I hiked Mt. Baldy I found a really pretty rock to keep, and Kyle said I should start a collection of rocks from each mountain we climb. I looked back at one point and I realized Kyle was no longer behind me. Did he fall off the edge without me realizing it? I am pretty aloof so I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case. After 15 seconds of scanning, I saw him appear on the trail and he was carrying 4 different but beautiful rocks. I picked out a zebra-looking medium sized rock with sparkles all over. I was holding it in my hand for most of the way down until I had the sudden urge to go to the bathroom. I threw everything down in a hurry, did my business, and ran over to where Kyle was waiting. As I was waving, I realized my rock wasn’t in my hand. In an instant I turned back around to look for it. How am I going to find it? There were so many similar looking trees. Dad would frown if I explained exactly how I found the rock, so I’ll let you imagine my struggle.

My legs were about to give out the last few miles. I kept rolling my ankles, tripping, and clenched my teeth at any small uphill. This part coming up the mountain whizzed by so fast, I hardly remembered some parts or the trail being that long. Kyle said, “I’ve decided that this trail goes on for infinity,” and I agreed with him. I was so done at that point I was praying to my guardian angel that she could send me a magic carpet to transport me the rest of the way.

I looked down at my watch: 7 hours, 30 minutes. I wanted to make the trip in under 8 hours, and I was determined. I mustered up enough adrenaline to run the rest of the way to the truck. I was hurting, but getting back in under 8 hours was more important to me. As the cars started to appear and sparkle in the distance I got excited thinking about how I was almost finished. As I crossed the trail entrance I threw my water bottle down in sheer happiness and yelled. I looked back as Kyle turned the final bend and started running. I jumped up and down, so ecstatic we climbed the mountain together. Most people do the hike in around 12 hours or make it a 2 to 3 day trip. I am so proud that we tackled this adventure in under 8 hours!

Mt. Gorgonio

Mt. Baldy

Mt. Baldy

This morning we set out around 5 AM for Mt. Baldy. We’re training to do the 8000 Meter Challenge in 2 weeks so we wanted to do a test run so we have an idea of what to bring, how we’re feeling, and figure out all the details. We arrived at the trail about 7 AM and started our climb up the mountain.

The hike wasn’t bad at all; it was a little tiring on the calves, but based on our performance I’d say we’ll be ready for the real deal. My main problem was that I forgot my inhaler. Whoops, big mistake. We were surrounded by beautiful scenery, from bristle cone pine trees to boulders and lovely wildlife in between. When we got to the ski hut we thought we were almost to the top, but unfortunately we were only about halfway. There were so many friendly hikers along the way, wishing us a good morning and asking if we had enough water. We powered up the mountain pretty quickly, but as time passed I felt like I was doing Stair Master times infinity.

Victory felt so sweet when we made it to the top and saw the Mt. Baldy sign: 10,064 feet. I took pictures and sat on the edge of a cliff while eating the snacks I brought. It was so nice to finally sit down and relax and enjoy the scenery in front of us.

The descent down the mountain was a breeze. Hiking up took 2.5 hours, but coming down only took 1.5 hours. We were trying to imitate what it would be like on the 8000 Meter Challenge, so our strategy is to hike up the mountain, and run down. It was a lot of fun to run down, so the 4.6 miles uphill was totally worth it, not to mention we shaved off an hour of time. Once we hit ground with few rocks, we darted the final stretch and we both felt so good.

Mt. Baldy 1 Mt. Baldy 2