52 Hikes in 52 Weeks

A cross country move inspired this New Yorker to explore the beauty of Southern California.

By Jasmine Maisonet

 

What a difference a year makes. One year ago, I had recently moved to San Diego and didn’t really know anyone. As I was trying to establish myself here, I made one friend who took me on a hike and later introduced me to my first hiking group. I went on another hike the next weekend and that’s when I decided I wanted to challenge myself to a hike a week, or 52 hikes in 52 weeks. It didn’t seem too difficult, especially with San Diego’s perfect year-round weather. I thought it would be a great way to explore the area and meet more like-minded individuals. One concern I had was that I would run out of trails but little did I know exactly how much hiking was out there to explore! There are still so many trails I haven’t touched.

 

The 5-Peak Challenge in Mission Trails Regional Park was a fun challenge to take on within the 52 hike challenge. Upon completion you receive a certificate and a pin. Cowles Mountain was an enjoyable hike to do with my parents when they came to visit. The summit has a 360-degree view of San Diego and on a very clear day you can see Mexico!

The farthest and longest hike in this challenge was Garibaldi Lake Trail located near Squamish-Lillooet, BC, Canada. This 15-mile in-and-out trail with about 3,200 feet of elevation gain was one of the most magical hikes I’ve ever done. Its clear bright turquoise water, volcanic and mountainous views, and stringy mossy trees was something I had never experienced before. Unfortunately, the air quality was bad and it was smoky because of the fires nearby so I can’t even imagine how much more beautiful it is on a clear day. The most beautiful hike in San Diego was Cuyamaca Peak. It had snowed a few days before and the crisp crunch of the snow beneath our shoes made me smile and reminisce about my home on the east coast.

 

Elizabeth Lake Trail in Yosemite National Park was the highest elevation hike in this challenge and the highest hike I’ve ever completed. High altitude ranges from 8,000 to 13,000 feet and the lake is at 9,500 feet. Coming from sea level at San Diego a few days before, the change in elevation was definitely noticeable. The first mile or so is a pretty steady steep incline and I had to slow down from my normal pace and stop a few times to catch my breath.

 

One of the greatest parts of this challenge was meeting so many amazing people and having them join me on my journey. The largest group hike had about 50 hikers and the smallest was just me. Day trip solo hiking is fun but it is very important to make sure you have your gear prepared and you let someone know when and where you’re going and how long you expect to be. I’ve learned a lot about myself from taking on and completing this challenge and I encourage others to try it or just get outside.

 

I am so grateful for this past year and so excited for the adventures and hikes the new year will hold. Follow me on Instagram at jazzernaut_fitness to see more of my hikes.

 

You can also view some of them below.

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