Peaks #3, 4 & 5 are complete! It was an intense summer of squeezing in these hikes between travel and adjusting back to work. Traveling includes travel eating and inconsistency in training so some of the peaks were a much bigger struggle than others.
Mt. San Jacinto via Marion Mountain Trail-July 9th
I have hiked Mt. San Jacinto before via the tramway trail. The trailhead from the tram is much more pleasant. It’s far less steep and the gain is gradual. However, the tram did not start running until 9 AM. We tackled this peak in early July on one of the hottest weekends of the year. We wanted to start at 5 AM since temperatures would already be blazing later in the morning.
After a bit of research, I found out we could start from the Marion Mountain Trailhead. All the reviews I was reading warned of the intense incline and elevation gain. This trail was shorter, but more intense. I was dreading this trail and nervous up until the day of the hike. We had only been back from our trip to the U.K. for a little more than a week and we were not in our best mountain climbing shape.
Still, we knew we needed to start tackling peaks ASAP in order to meet the end of September cut off for the challenge. We finished Mount San Jacinto, but not necessarily strong. There were no smiles on our faces at the end.
Mt Baldy-July 20th
A mere 11 days later, we were back on the trails. We were in a little better shape this time. We had just returned from Colorado and did some light hiking at elevation. However, we were still vacation eating and probably more sluggish than we should have been.
Mt Baldy was a much more pleasant experience than San Jacinto. It was a peak we had all completed before (actually we had all done it together about two years ago). We knew what to expect from the trail and were not as nervous.
We definitely hit some challenging spots, especially the last, steep mile to the top, but the hike down flew by. We were able to talk easily and I was pleasantly surprised when we were finished because I thought we still had longer to go. This is in stark contrast to the inner crying and complaining I was doing in the last few miles of Mt San Jacinto.
San Bernardino Peak via Angelus Oaks-August 12th
This might have been my favorite hike to date. This is a big statement, but I mean it. I have done my share of hiking around Rocky Mountain National Park and through the Sierras, but still, this has been a personal favorite.
We took the longer, but flatter trail and oh my goodness, is it scenic. The trail is hardly covered (leaving it pretty hot the last few miles) but you have amazing views the entire hike. There are certain points where you get a breathtaking Aerial view of the Inland Empire surrounded by some of the other peaks we have already climbed (Baldy, San Jacinto, Baden Powell, etc.) and the one still to be summited (San Gorgonio). It was a meaningful moment to stand in awe of the beauty surrounding us and the peaks we have already been fortunate enough to experience.
There were some challenging parts of the trail, but overall, it was a nice, steady climb. We could pretty easily talk during most parts both ascending and descending, which always makes the time fly by. It felt like we were on a leisurely, albeit long, walk through nature.
We were all also all done with our summer traveling and back to a more consistent training plan plus MUCH healthier eating. I think all these factors combined led to a more pleasant experience that gave us enough energy to even RUN the last mile and still have smiles on our faces at the end.
We are ready to climb our last peak! We have one more to complete in order to finish off the challenge strong and in late September, we will climb the highest peak in the challenge, San Gorgonio.