San Gorgornio Trip Report June 2018
Adventure 16 puts out an event every year to encourage So-cal hikers to hike, and have options to hike San Gorgonio, San Jacinto, and Mount Baldy in 24 hours, 3 days, 3 weeks, or 3 months. This is the fourth consecutive year that some of my friends have done the 3 day challenge, and my friend Nick even accomplished the 24 hour 3 peak challenge last year. I have never participated, even though this sort of thing is usually way up my alley. I did, however, climb Mount Baldy and San Jacinto for fun in the past 6 months so I thought I would join my friends for San Gorgonio to accomplish my own little unofficial 3 peaks challenge.
I got the facebook invite in late April but didn’t think too much about it. I was doing Rainier mid May and thought, “what the heck”. The time after Rainier being that fuzzy time when I basically floating around in probably the best shape of my life. So I half heartedly agreed and didn’t think about it until it popped up in my calendar a week before the trip. The idea of it sounding hard floated among the lips of my close friends, and surely I must have heard it. I am sure we even talked about it. For some reason I didn’t internalize it. The conversation sort of went like this,
“Sure, 19 miles, whateves. Yeah, that does sound hard. Sounds like a long day. Not bad for a day trip? Yeah, okay see you there. “
It rolled off my back as I powered through my work week.
I packed a bunch of lara bars, 3 liters of water, nuts, and chocolate trail mix. I wanted to eat a lot of food. This is my first long hike after Rainier, where I learned that one must eat a lot while hiking to feel great. And I wanted to feel great because I’m not breaking any records here. My plan was to take a 10 minute break every hour or so. The hike was supposed to take around 10 hours. We were hoping to be done with the hike before nightfall.
We more or less met our objective. The hike took us 12 hours, not least because of my enforced breaks.
I had a massive headache starting at the 7 mile marker and it never let up. Having a headache is a sneaky problem. It could be anything. It could be not enough water even though you drank 4 liters, it could be that you didn’t eat enough even though you didn’t feel hungry. It could be that you are reacting to the elevation even though you are descending. Since I had the headache for so long, I thought it was sunburn, but it wasn’t. I felt better only hours later after drinking a dr. pepper. Note to self, bring more sugar drink next time.
Like always, I go up hill nice and easy and go downhill weak. My feet give me issues. I just can’t be on them for a long time. I think its an old injury that never healed right. At this point I expect the pain to never go away. I am hoping that this chronic pain will not prevent me from being an old rambling lady in the backwoods, and that’s one of my biggest fears every time I feel a midfoot pang. I slowed down quite a bit in the last 5 miles. My friends who were on mountain two of a three mountain weekend cruised along easily. Observing that made me realize the truth. San G was kicking my butt.
But the views! I found this mountain more beautiful than Mount Baldy and San Jacinto. The hike was way longer, and Robin suggests the scenery did not justify the added difficulty. And two days later, I am inclined to agree. This is a massive challenge, and it does not hold a candle the prestige of hikes that are just as long and difficult. Rim to Rim of the grand canyon is easier. Mount Whitney via the Whitney Trail in a day is comparable. Cactus to clouds is only about a mile longer. You tell people that you’ve climbed any of those, and they are blown away. You mention San G, and people ask where that is.
Not that sufferfests are performed so you can impress your friends. The world is for exploring, after all. I am just saying, that this hike is a sneak attack. You sign up to complete the 3 peak challenge thinking that all the Southern California Hikes are comparable, then this thing turns out to be the monstrosity that breaks your legs.
Overall a beautiful weekend that I’ll store in my back pocket. It was the type two fun that I recalled fondly during the hour long massage the next day. I did it for the views, and they did not disappoint.
Stick around for more photos on the slideshow below. (click to activate)