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Ambassador Spotlight: Carisa Hernandez

Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do when you’re not hiking? 

 When I am not hiking, I am busy working as an Infectious Disease Nurse Practitioner. I work inpatient and round at multiple hospitals in Los Angeles County.

What has the Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge meant to you? 

The Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge was a game-changer for me. I liked that it encouraged me to take on longer hikes with higher elevations. Once I mastered the peaks I found different ways to challenge myself further, like taking alternate routes that were more difficult or trail running some of them.

Taking a break at the Paulina Hot Springs

What is your favorite hike in the Six-Pack of Peaks and why? 

Mount San Antonio (Baldy) is the one peak that holds the most meaning for me. I first started hiking as a way to destress and distract myself from a difficult life event that had occurred. My aunt, who was my first hiking partner, told me that if I could take on Mount Baldy as a new hiker then I could handle anything. It was the first big summit I had ever attempted, and I successfully reached the top that day. It was tough, but summiting made me feel proud and accomplished. I was instantly hooked and have been hiking ever since.

Share one of your most memorable adventures. What makes it so special? 

One of the most memorable adventures I have had was my trip to Africa and being able to summit Mount Kilimanjaro. Leading up to the event I worried that reaching the peak at 19,341 feet would be difficult, or even impossible. Our entire group of six made and successfully completed the trek. The experience was surreal, and I am forever grateful to the amazing team that helped make it possible.

What’s one piece of gear that you never hike without?

You will never catch me out on a mountain trail without my Garmin InReach. For years I hiked without any type of satellite communication device. Running into precarious predicaments and seeing friends experience unfortunate events, taught me that a device that enables communication is a necessity.

Share a quote, song, or another inspirational item that helps get you through the toughest hikes/life moments.

​One quote that helps me through life’s difficult moments and hiking hardships is, “This too shall pass.” If I remind myself that the current difficult situation will not last forever, it makes it easier to keep going. And when that doesn’t help I tell myself, “When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”

What upcoming adventures are you looking forward to in the year ahead?

Last year resulted in a lot of planned adventures being put on hold. Since international travel is still questionable, we are looking to do more local trips this year. September will hopefully be my seventh Mount Whitney Summit. Additionally, I am looking to visit Colorado to take on some of the many 14'ers there. I like spur of the moment road trips as well, so we shall see what else the coming year holds.

Share a fun fact about you that most people wouldn’t know.

Though my close friends know I have a number of tattoos, not too many people are aware that the sleeve on my right arm is dedicated to trips and adventures I have been on. Actual photographs I took in Peru, Africa, Arizona, and many other places have been replicated in ink and will forever remind me of the amazing memories I made there.

Is there anything else you wish I would have asked you or anything you would like to add?

It has been incredible to be part of the The Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge. Most importantly, I have enjoyed the resources and networking that being part of this growing community provides. I have been able to lend sound advice to new hikers and have had the pleasure of taking direction from those who are more experienced. Thank you Jeff Hester and SoCal Hiker members for the continued opportunity to be a part of it all.

You can find Carisa here on Social Hiker, and on Instagram at @5150crissy.

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