This was my second time hiking San Gorgonio Mountain. The highest peak and the beast of them all of Southern California. At 11,503 ft. tall and hiking around 21 miles to the peak and back at the parking lot based on MapMyHike app on my phone. Hiking for Health and Happiness provided the permits for the hikers in this event.
Last year, being so new to hiking long distances and on snow, I had some difficulties climbing this beast of a mountain. Had altitude sickness which I thought earlier was what I ate up at the summit. I had to slow down hiking when there were icy areas on the trail while others were fast and came prepared with their microspikes and I didn’t. That was last November 2015. This time around, I was much more prepared and the trails are safer to hike. Here’s my previous blog on my first encounter with San Gorgonio Mountain:
I gave up a late invitation of a celebration that day from my co-worker to hike San Gorgonio Mountain. They were serving a whole roasted pig.
I woke up at 1:30 am, had my cooked breakfast, and got ready. I brought 3 liters of water in my hydration pack, 1 bottle of electrolytes drink, an extra bottle of water, and food. Left my home around 2:45 am. A long drive on the I-210, exiting at Greenspot to some roads of Mentone, CA, until I hit CA-38. I turned right to the Valley of the Falls Drive and drove all the way to the parking lot. Arrived at the meeting area at 4:21 am and met the rest of the hikers. It was so dark that it was hard to tell who I was talking to. 😀 Luckily, we had our headlamps. Our theme for this hike was to wear any superhero shirt. As everyone gathered, I realized that Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman had the most shirts. I didn’t see a single Marvel superhero. I was about to wear my Captain America but stuck with Superman. DC won that day. 🙂
Ricardo Cruz gave his instructions to our hikers in Spanish with Lissinia Aguilar doing the translation in English. Our permits were secured to start our hike. We started our hike around 5 am along Mill Creek Canyon and turned left crossing the dried creek on to the Vivian Creek Trail. The weather was cold that morning. We then hiked up through switchbacks. It’s heavily forested, so there were a lot of shade and made it cooler. Our bodies quickly turned warm while hiking even though it was cold. We took off our light jackets and continued our hike up. Some trails were side by side with Vivian Creek as we saw water flowing through.
We passed by the junction of Halfway Camp. That was where I almost got lost the first time heading back down by myself in the dark. I didn’t know where to go, so I waited for Ricardo and the last two hikers at the back.
Along the trail, I heard a loud water flowing down. I turned to my right and there I saw a waterfall. There was no time to stop. We had a deadline to reach the summit. 😀
As we passed High Creek Camp, we took a break and ate some snacks. Saw awesome views of Mt. San Jacinto from afar. We were above 10,000 ft. at that location. There were more steeper switchbacks on this part of the trail. It wasn’t just me but others too felt that their hands swollen.
On the last final section of the trail to the peak is dry, less vegetation, and more exposure to the sun. Luckily, there was a strong, cold breezy wind that hit us. This was the part that I think I had altitude sickness for a short time. A combination of hot, cold, and high elevation. The trail was not too steep like the one earlier. Finally, we reached the summit.
While at the summit, I was worried when I heard that Melevy Sorto-Osorio turned back because she felt sick. I was happy to see her minutes later that she made it to the peak and so did Hector Martinez. We took our lite lunch, rested a bit, took a lot of photos including the daring women taking their tops off, and drank some booze. There were a lot of cute chipmunks waiting for us to serve them food. After more than hour at the top, what comes up must come down.
One hiker almost got lost by taking the Dollar Lake trail. Thanks to Christina Flores-Hinojosa for chasing her down and brought her back to the group. We were more faster hiking down the mountain. Although it does feel longer and the views are much different from what we saw coming up. Thanks so much to Gil Figueroa for offering cold icy drinks while hiking down the hot sections of the trail.
We got back at the parking lot at around 6 pm. I checked Bee’s windshield if I got a ticket. I realized when I was coming down the mountain that I forgot to hang my Adventure Pass. I was lucky that there was none. The water in my hydration pack is half empty and the extra bottle was untouched. We relax and chat before heading out. Sergio Cruz offered cold Gatorade and water and Michael Osborne offered wine in a box to us. We also had to wait for the remaining group and congratulate them for a job well done for hiking San Gorgonio Mountain. Thanks to Ricardo Cruz, Maglory Maza, and the rest of 3H Family for making this event successful. ♥ No hiker was left behind. 🙂 We had so much fun that day.
From what I heard, 3H is planning a different trail for the Six Pack of Peaks Challenge next year. I say, bring it on! 🙂 LoL