Long Time Coming

Peak Summited2019 San Gorgonio
Type of HikeDay hike
TrailheadVivian Creek Trailhead
Road ConditionsRoad suitable for all vehicles
Bug StatusNo bugs
Snow ConditionsSnow free
Trail ConditionsTrail in good condition

San Gorgornio really wanted to make sure we respected it. I originally attempted to hike San Gorgornio on September 2nd with my good friend, Antonio. We were all full of vigor and ready to knock out the 18th and final 6 PoP hike after finishing NorCal, Oregon, and the majority of SoCal. We got to the trailhead at 6AM on the 2nd and set off up the trail, knowing full well the difficulty of the trail ahead. Crossing Mill Creek, we took note of the loose footing and figured the rest of the hike would be rough. Unfortunately, it was at that point that Antonio stepped wrong on a boulder and fell, twisting his ankle something fierce and ending our attempt. We walked back to the car and said we'd be back before the season was over.

Fast forward to September 28th; Antonio's still going through the healing process for his ankle and I had to finish this challenge. So I drove down from the Bay Area, spent a day with family, and woke up before the sun rose to tackle the behemoth before me. I arrived at the trailhead at 5:45, full of nerves and anxiety and was on trail by 6:20. I crossed Mill Creek without incident and pushed forward. The first 5 miles or so went by without incident. But getting to the top of the switchbacks after High Creek Camp, it felt like the oxygen had just floated away. I spent the next hour and a half making my way to the summit, stopping over and over to get oxygen to my starving muscles. I definitely have a respect for elevation that I didn't have before after doing this hike.

The last half mile to the summit was emotionally overwhelming, to say the least. I took this challenge on, completing three Six Pack of Peak challenges (NorCal, Oregon, and SoCal) in one year, as a way to develop discipline after a seven year battle with alcoholism, to celebrate my sobriety, and affirm to myself that I could do anything that I put my mind to. And walking up the last half mile of the final peak in my challenge, the gravity of the situation hit me. I stood at the top of San Gorgornio, enjoying the sunshine and the ridiculous wind, truly proud to be who I am and doing what I do, celebrating 1.5 year of sobriety.

Thank you to everyone who is a part of these challenges. They open up the world to people in ways previously unimaginable. From me to all of you, thank you for everything.

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  1. Congratulations, Chris! What a great story, and completing three challenges is a big accomplishment!

    You’ll be getting an email with info on the SoCal Finishers Party later today. The Oregon party is on November 10th, and the NorCal party in January (precise date TBD). Hope you can make them all! 🙂