First 7 SOCAL Hikes in Preparation for Machu Picchu

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The idea for Machu Picchu started with Laura’s cousin’s wedding … in Columbia! She somehow convinced me to tag along and dangled hiking Machu Picchu in front of me to seal the deal. I agreed to go with her, under a few circumstances:

  1. We prepare – meaning we hike every weekend
  2. The trip can’t be too, too long because of my attachment to Esteban and my furbabies LOL
  3. I can’t remember if there were any others! Whoops!

Without Laura I wouldn’t have even known where to start with hiking. Luckily, she was already an avid hiker before we agreed to do Machu Picchu. So, Laura being Laura, she started a Google spreadsheet and we (I use the term “we” loosely as I only had a handful of ideas) began adding in different hikes. The idea was to start with hikes that were around 6 to 7 miles in January, and either increase the mileage by 1 to 2 miles every month or increase the elevation gain.

Like most things in life, our hike schedule hasn’t worked out perfectly. We both travelled to Seattle to see Aiko (the bestie) and Matt, where it was snowing pretty hard. We expected to get in a hike that weekend, but instead got to frolick around in the snow, which I’m not complaining about! We also started on easy to moderate hikes because we both have injuries from cross country and track distance running. Laura has a hip problem and I have achilles tendonitis. Trying not to aggravate our injuries has definitely been a priority of ours.

Crazy Things that Have Happened on Our Hikes…

So far the following has happened to us while hiking:

  1. We got to the top of a really steep 1 mile climb up a mountain to find out that was the entire hike… unless you trespassed.
  2. It hailed for 6 miles out of the 10 miles we hiked. When I say it hailed, I mean it DOWN POURED HAIL…we froze to death and thought we were going to die.

3. We did a hike from Santiago Canyon to Weir Canyon and left one car at each end. We had a late start that day and when we finally finished Laura’s car was locked inside of Santiago Canyon Park. Luckily, we drove up as someone was leaving and realized the ranger hadn’t closed the gate yet, so we sprinted to her car and drove it out. The ranger caught us and gave us a well earned warning, but let us off fairly easy. It was a Sunday and we both had work the next day so having her car was kind of important.

4. As seen in the picture above, Blackstar Canyon actually had water… an Orange County hike actually had a sizeable waterfall!!!

5. We got lost/went the wrong direction…. many many many times. Yikes.

6. During one of the times we got lost we ended up in someone’s backyard in Palos Verdes. We were certain the trail was right around the corner, but the resident had other thoughts. The resident living there ended up asking us what we were doing and said she was scared at first because we were just wandering around… in our hiking clothes with backpacks…

7. On our 7th hike there were several stream crossings. I am not confident in rock crossings nor log crossings. At one point I considered bear hugging the log and crawling across the log to the other side. Laura missed getting a video of me so there’s no blackmail. I’m not ashamed to admit that I didn’t end up crawling across the log, but I did monkey/bear crawl across several crossings. 🙂

So What Hikes Have We Done Exactly, You Ask?

  1. Chino Hills State Park (2nd highest point): 6.5 miles
  2. Oak Glen Preserve Trail: 6.5 miles
  3. Powder Canyon + Fullerton Stairs: 6.2 miles
  4. Palos Verdes (wandering): 7.5 miles
  5. BlackStar Canyon: 6.8 miles
  6. Santiago Oaks to Weir Canyon: 6.5 miles
  7. Santa Anita Falls Trail/Sturtevant Falls/Zion Summit: 10 miles
  8. ????? I hurt my other foot on hike 7 so I’ll be finding out soon when I can return to hiking again

What’s your favorite SoCal hike? Have you ever hiked Machu Picchu?

To keep up to date with our adventures, follow me @shellenf on Instagram

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