Mount San Jacinto

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When was the last time you did something that made you feel connected, centered and spiritually awake? I had the opportunity to experience this and join some adventurous souls as we hiked Mount San Jacinto, located in Southern California with an elevation of 10,833 feet and a round trip of 19.5 miles.

Initially when I was invited by my friend to join in on this hike. I was immediately captivated and all in! But as my friend began to breakdown the plan, duration and preparation along with gear I would need to carry while hiking, I began to feel overwhelmed. I was told we would camp 1 mile below the summit, which meant I would need to bring 6-8 liters of water since there would be no water on the mountain along with food a tent, sleeping bag and more. I was going through a bit of a transition as it was and would have to move the day before we would actually set off. I couldn’t shake this feeling that I needed to do this. One thing I’ve never been good at is change and here I was opening the door to even more change… and it felt really good.

Within a couple day’s I managed to put everything together. I was told one of the most important things would be my shoes so after being measured and having tested multiple boots at Adventure 16 I went with a pair of soft North Face hiking high tops which worked out great. There, I also rented all the gear from, a tent, sleeping bag/ pad and walking poles and backpack. Once I had everything packed my bag weighed around 35-40 lbs.

We left Los Angeles around 4:30 am drove towards Idyllwild. We met at Deer Springs Trail and started our adventure. While we were hiking I felt strong, using my core to support the weight being carried. I made sure to correct my posture if I began over compensate with another muscles from being just too tired. Prior to this trip I had been working on muscular endurance and maximal strength incorporating heavier weights and kettlebells into my workout which really helped during the hike. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a functioning kinetic chain. Incorporating all 5 checkpoints feet, knees, hips, shoulder and head ensuring all muscle groups are working together. Running is something I really enjoy, I like incorporate high incline with moderate pace to really challenge the respiratory system. This was also really useful to be able to hike several miles at a time uphill without rest. At around 8 plus miles we reached Little Round Valley Campground. After setting up camp we all had the best nap. Exhausted from the sun, and the stress from the weight of the bags, we ended the night watching the most beautiful sunset and hanging out in a tent just talking about life sharing some gummy bears… And in that moment I realized it was moments like this I was missing in my life.

We woke at 4am and hiked the rest of the summit with head lamps until the sun started to peak out. Some feel when you reach the top it’s that moment that makes it all worth it. But when I looked around at the new friendships I had made. The memories we created in such a short period of time. It was everything that made it worth it for me.

Coming down was another challenge. My shoulders feeling like they were cut into from the back pack, and the heat and fatigue started to kick in. The walking sticks helped with alleviating some the stress from the weight of the bag. But I knew I would be back in Los Angeles in no time, to the comfort of my new apartment with the memories of a new adveture.

So would I do it again? Yes, a million times YES! And if you’re looking for a refreshing adventure, I think you should too. Thank you so much for reading and a special thanks to Brian, Ty, Jed, Sammy and Meghan for the memories.

-Ashiko