A group of amazing adventurers met Friday night at Tro Gro to embark on an ambitious journey: a sunrise summit of the second highest peak in Southern California, San Jacinto. After a long drive (made even longer by LA traffic) and a delicious dinner at In ‘N Out (where else?), we made it to our campsite. After waking up a few other campsites and throwing down a tarp and some sleeping pads, we got a solid hour of sleep before awakening for an alpine start.
Lauren drove the USC van with impressive skill in the complete dark to the Marion Mountain Trailhead and we hit the trail at 1:45 am. We were rewarded with amazing views as well as a completely different and totally epic hiking experience. The moon was so bright that there was no need for headlamps and we ascended surrounded by the beauty and solitude of the outdoors. We lost the trail a few times but thanks to other hikers who used rocks to mark the trail we were able to find our way.
The sunrise was scheduled for 6:58am and at about 6:30am, we discovered we had taken a wrong turn and were on the other side of the impressive San Jacinto that we should have been. Because it was still dark and so close to the sunrise, we decided to not turn back and summit a nearby mountain, only 200ft shorter than San Jacinto. We were rewarded with amazing views of San Jacinto and the sunrise.
After being motivated by the cold and a delicious breakfast, we got back to the trailhead in the late morning and had a delicious lunch of pita and veggies on the way home. Because of our hard hike (nearly 12 miles with 4500ft elevation gain) and lack of sleep, the drive home was rather quiet, as everyone slept.
Everyone on the trip was amazing and we all enjoyed the completely different experience hiking in the dark awarded.