I overslept. Of course, I did. Luckily, there’s nowhere to rush today as I’m off – and using the free day to complete (or, rather, hopefully complete) the first of the six peaks chosen to be a part of the Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge here in Northern California.
About the challenge
Now, what is the Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge? Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Depending on your location or where you want to take this challenge (of course, you can take them all if you have the time!), you sign up for Southern California, Northern California, Central Oregon, New England or Colorado Rockies. Who knows, maybe next year there will be even more locations! In each of them, there are six peaks (sometimes, there are even alternative peaks) to hike/climb.
Jeff Hester, the founder and organizer of this challenge, came up with the idea when trying to create a good training plan for his John Muir Trail thru-hike. The original six peaks are all located in Southern California and include Mt. Wilson, Cucamonga Peak, Mt. San Antonio, San Bernardino Peak, Mt. San Jacinto, and San Gorgonio. But Jeff didn’t stop just there, dug deeper into the peaks throughout the US and created the Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge for four more regions. And who knows, maybe next year there will be even more peaks to this. Thank you, Jeff!
Completed May 9, 2018
I took the route up as described as the official route for the challenge – starting at Hidden Valley Trail, then getting on Peak Trail. The ascent wasn’t at all that bad, although the trail was a little bit uninteresting for me. Luckily, here and there, I met a companion to spice it up a bit – and no, I’m not talking about people but about wildlife which is mostly not only curious but very much fearless (a bird trying to steal my snack right from my lap).
The view from the top was just amazing when the clouds pouring endlessly over the peak took a break for a few minutes and gave me the chance to look around. I spent about forty minutes sitting there on a rock and watching the clouds brush over the peak and disappear into the East, where, when offered the opportunity after the clouds disappeared for a while, I could see as far as the Sierras – with their snowcaps in the high range. To the North, there was Mt. Diablo (at least I think it was it), appearing only for a few minutes before being swept in clouds again. To the East, San Jose and the lowlands, bay and the ocean. I ate the little food I brought with me (an apple, a little cheddar cheese and a few blueberries), admired California Poppies, and then consulted with my map where to go next.
On my way down, I decided to make it a loop instead if in-and-out and took the Horse Haven Trail. That was a mistake as the hills are really steep there and if your knees are in just a tiny bit less than perfect condition, it’s going to hurt (I, being the typical me, forgot to put my tapes on so it was just… really bad). The positive of this trail – there’s definitely no space for it to be uninteresting as you spend every single second trying not to slip and fall on the steep hill.
Overall, it was a really nice hike, although be ready for either going up or down the whole time, it doesn’t really level off.
The next Six-Pack-of-Peaks-Challenge article will be HERE as soon as I get to the top of the next peak.
And have a day full of breathtaking views! 🙂
(Also, if you feel like it, you can follow my blog so you won’t miss any of the following Six-Pack-of-Peaks-Challenge articles!)