I came, I hiked, I conquered, I almost puked, I cursed, I cried.
This past weekend myself and six other hiking guides decided to hike White Mountain Peak, a 14,252 foot mountain, and the third highest peak in the state of California.
The gang, having fun with a GoPro camera the evening before the epic hike.
I will admit when I was invited to go along, I had no idea what it actually meant to hike 14,000 feet. I just thought a weekend camping trip with co-workers sounded like a jolly good time. And for the most part, it was. It was an amazing time, actually. I’ve realized you can’t go wrong hanging with outdoor enthusiasts; we’re easy-going, kind-hearted, and find beauty in the simpler things, like a vast night sky full of stars and a good
organic, gluten free, fair trade dog on a stick roasted over a campfire.
And, we like to spend our free time doing what we usually get paid to do: hike. In this case, a very high mountain, with very little oxygen. Which meant this girl developed a good case of altitude sickness – a pounding headache, dizziness, and nausea – and was wishing she was anywhere else at that moment. But, she made it.
Us at the peak – me forcing a smile. After this shot I curled up on that cement slab and hoped for a quick death. (Yes, we’re still in southern California, and yes, that’s snow!)
Not only was the hike 14,000 feet, but it was also 14 miles, and took us 10 hours to complete. Marmots cheered us on as we went, (or were they laughing at our expense? We’ll never know…), and we passed a few other brave souls making the ascent as well.
At the top, three of us experienced sickness while the four others were giving high-five’s and pulverizing their celebratory Snickers bars while doing the happy dance. I could only watch with contempt as I lay on my cement slab trying to come to terms with the fact that now I’ve got to hike back down this thing!
But with every step down my altitude sickness waned, and after a quick nap at the campground I felt refreshed and chipper again. When asked if I was happy I did it and if I would ever do it again I responded:
Why in the world would anyone want to do that? What’s wrong with you people!?
But the truth of the matter is it felt great to have accomplished a pretty big feat in the hiking world: fourteeners are the highest mountains you can scale in the US. And the camaraderie we shared going through it together was worth every oxygen-depleted step.
But no, I wouldn’t do it again. Not even if you paid me. (Ok, maybe if you paid me…God knows it ain’t cheap to live in LA.)
I was atop the very peak of that thing. Holy…!!!