The hike itself is actually quite boring. It took me a little less than two hours to reach the summit. It’s not the most beautiful mountain; it’s more like a big pile of scree that tops out at over 13,000 feet. It is definitely the easiest 13er in the Sierras. When I reached the summit, I realized the whole valley was starting to fill with a brown haze. Another fire. I found out later this was from the tragic Paradise Fire where so many lost their lives.
Well, it was another Saturday when I knew Bec was going to be doing homework, so I decided I would go out and hike a peak. I found that the San Jacinto Hiking Club was doing a six-peak, 22-mile hike in the San Gorgonio area. When I saw that, I thought, “Okay, this will be my speed; I’ll get out there and push it up.”
In a monumental study of over 122,000 patients, the results showed that a lack of cardiovascular fitness was a key predictor of early death. The study found that the most sedentary were 500 times more likely to die early than the fittest in the study…
The summit was one of the most beautiful summits I have ever seen. On one side, Mount Whitney was across the valley, along with Irvine, Mallory, Russell, and a host of other high granite peaks. On the other side was the Owens Valley, and in the distance, Death Valley and Telescope Peak. We were standing between the highest and lowest points in the lower 48.
…Wes and I left Rudy to rest while we made the summit. I figured it would take an hour to get to the summit and back from where we were. We managed to push from the saddle to the peak without taking a break. The last 300 feet to the peak was a class 3 scramble and a lot of fun. 30mph wind gusts greeted us when we got to the peak, but the views were amazing.
When I got back from my trip, someone asked me if the trip was life-changing or not. Without hesitation, I replied, “Absolutely. It was totally life-changing.” At 47, I had just started getting in shape. I was hiking a lot in the local Southern California mountains and pushing outside of my comfort zone as much as possible. As I looked forward to turning 50, I felt like doing a solo on the iconic 220-mile long John Muir Trail would be a perfect adventure. It was. And this is the story of my adventure.
I have had University Peak on my list for a while and I decided to hike it as part of a fitness hike leading up to my John Muir Trail trip at the end of August. A couple of weeks ago, my son Wes and I were on Gould Peak and I got a good look at the mountain. It looked pretty ominous and difficult, and so, in the days leading up to the hike, I had a pit in my stomach about this one.
The coolest part of Mount Gould is that the summit block is a tiny, two by three-foot pedestal that takes some climbing to get up to it. On one side, there’s a vertical drop of about 400 feet. On the other side is a 200 foot drop. When you stand on it, there’s a bit of pucker factor.
Yes, we are all going to die. But you can dramatically change how you live as you age. If you want to see what aging well looks like, you will need to look to the margins. At the margins of the bell curve, we are seeing aging athletes who are strong and active into their 80s and 90s. Moreover, these people are free of the common lifestyle diseases that plague the general population. Yes, they are aging, but they are experiencing a smaller subset of aging symptoms.