This trail kicked my ass. With that, its insanely gorgeous and varietal landscape kept my spirits high. San Bernardino Peak is one of the tallest peaks in the San Gorgonio Wilderness, coming to a painstaking 10,649 feet. To hike this trail, you have to get a permit in advance through the San Bernardino Wilderness Association and pick it up at the ranger station on your way to the trailhead. 

With my friend Sara, whom I actually met through her Instagram based outdoor community, CoastTrekkers, we set for the trailhead EARLY. Starting at 6:15AM on the hottest day of the year, we figured we would finish before the temperature rose to a boil. Not quite.

One of the most drastic elevation gains of my life, I huffed my way up the mountain, drinking tons of water, taking breaks, and consistently breathing. Still, feeling my body deal with altitude was a little frightening. I started getting headaches near the end, so I tried to slow down and give my body a break. Luckily the mountainside was breathtaking, keeping my mind off the pain as I focused on flowers, fresh air, and sights I had never seen. 

I felt invincible at the top, eating celebratory goldfish and devouring the view before my descent. Getting extremely overheated on the way down, we remained positive, studied clouds, and stopped at Washington's Monument, a pile of rocks (hah!) that was setup in 1852 as Southern California's 'Initial Point.' 

This hike was gorgeous, but I spent so much time worrying about my lack of water, sleep the night before, and potential heat exhaustion that it was extremely difficult. Stay cautious out there, everyone! Listen to your body.