My wife Joan remembers exactly when I first shared the idea for SoCalHiker with her. I was living in San Clemente and preparing for my second thru-hike of the 211-mile John Muir Trail. We were hiking the Salt Creek Trail in Laguna Niguel after work (we were just dating at the time) and I told her my plans for the website. Back then, there weren’t a lot of great online resources for the JMT. I was doing a lot of research and figured I would share what I learned so that others could benefit. That research included documenting the trails we used to train.
Initially, we focused on Orange County trails, but soon expanded our scope to include the bigger mountains we needed to tackle as we trained for the long mileage and high elevations we’d experience in the Sierra Nevada mountains. And the SoCal Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge was born.
Since 2010, we’ve covered a wide range of trails — everything from easy after-work jaunts to multi-day backpacking excursions. And though our name has “SoCal” right in there, it’s now represents the adventurous SoCal spirit, with trail guides in Colorado, Utah, Montana, Oregon, Northern California and other locations around the west.
Over the course of the past eight years, we’ve been honored to be recognized by a number of publications, including USA Today, Men’s Journal, The Los Angeles Times, New Yorker Magazine, the BBC Travel Blog, Curbed LA and InsideHook.
2018 marks our 8th anniversary. It’s also our fourth year for the Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge (raising money for Big City Mountaineers) and our fourth year participating in the annual Climb for Heroes (supporting The Heroes Project). Over the past three years, we’ve raised nearly $80,000 for these two great non-profits.
But what really counts is you – our readers – the SoCal Hiker community. You continue to inspire and motivate us to do more, and go further.
The Next 8 Years
As our scope has grown, the SoCal Hiker community continues to grow. And some of our community members have become contributing authors, sharing the same top-notch, detailed trail guides that only first-hand knowledge and experience can provide.
Greg Glass has shared his backpacking guides to the High Sierra Trail and the Bishop North Lake/South Lake Loop. Cecilia Lorthioir has shared her guide to Ontario and Bighorn Peaks, and soon, section hiking the Backbone Trail.
We will continue to improve on and expand our trail guides, both in SoCal and well beyond. And we are adding more backpacking guides, including a complete guide to section hiking the 240-mile Theodore Solomons Trail.
How has SoCalHiker inspired you or helped you on your journey? We want to know! Leave us a comment and tell us!