Hiking Mount San Jacinto, California

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You don’t need a gym to get a killer workout — all you need is your body and a sense of adventure.

I traveled to California to visit my parents for Easter and took full advantage of the gorgeous weather. We drove to Palm Springs and turned Mount San Jacinto into our own personal jungle gym. Why workout inside when you can get results outside with a gorgeous view and an extra dose of Vitamin D?

The Hike

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My parents and I woke up early Friday morning, ate a filling breakfast at Snooze (a three-egg arugula, tomato, and avocado scramble and a side of the best hash browns I’ve ever tasted), and took the gondola up to Mount San Jacinto State Park.

I love exploring, photography, and fitness, which makes hiking an ideal hobby. As soon as we reached the top I started snapping photos left and right — my Dad informed me there were better views to come (this wasn’t their first time up the mountain).

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Mount San Jacinto State Park offers different trails ranging in difficulty and length. Our goal: San Jacinto Peak (go big or go home, right? My family never backs down from a challenge.).

We started up the trail and I felt like a child on a playground. There were so many rocks to climb and fallen tree trunks to walk across! Remember when I said nature is a jungle gym? I wasn’t lying. You can get a killer workout by taking full advantage of nature trails (without breaking rules or putting yourself and others in danger).

Climbing rocks is a full body workout that engages your legs, arms, and requires core stability. Balancing on fallen tree trucks engages the abs, and don’t even get me started on gluteal work as you ascend the mountain (my ass thanked me the next day).

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As we continued on the trail we reached a road block: snow. Yes, there is in fact snow in the California mountains. Not expecting a snowy terrain, we had all worn sneakers; but we weren’t ready to turn back quite yet.

Those before us carved out the trail, so we followed their footsteps. My mom led the pack, earning her the nickname Pocahontas. We continued hiking (and sinking) up the path until it hit us: how are we going to get down when we’re struggling this much to get up? That’s when we decided to turn back.

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The trail resembled slushy mashed potatoes. We side-stepped our way down the mountain, laughing whenever we almost lost our balance (which was often). FINALLY we reached the dry dirt trail and started scouring for a rock to perch on for lunch.

Whenever my family hikes we bring a backpack full of water, sandwiches, and snacks. I love sitting outside while enjoying a homemade sandwich with whomever I’m hiking with. It’s the perfect escape from reality.

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I packed a turkey, spinach, and hummus sandwich on 21 Grains and Seeds Dave’s Killer Bread (my favorite bread, I highly recommend it!) — it hit the spot. In the midst of a hike I want to make sure I’m eating enough carbs and protein for energy. My other go-to lunch: a simple peanut butter sandwich.

After lunch we leapt off the rock (literally), and continued to hike a little more before heading back to the gondola. Despite not making it to the top, we endured an awesome hike.

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The Extra Workout

Like I said, hiking in itself is an amazing workout — I looked like a baby giraffe trying to walk the next day. But there are ways you can intensify your hike; here’s how I like to take my outdoor workout to the next level:

  1. Add a lunge as you walk up the mountain’s incline
  2. Do lateral squats down the mountain
  3. Jump over small streams
  4. Do push-ups against a large tree trunk
  5. Climb rocks and/or trees (if permitted)
  6. Treat fallen tree trunks as balance beams and walk, skip, or jump across
  7. Do mini box jumps on a tree stump, or jump over the stump entirely

Whenever I can take my workout outside, I do it. While dumbbells, kettlebells, and exercise machines are great, your bodyweight is all you need for a killer workout.

And what’s the best thing to have after that said killer workout? I’ll give you a hint: it’s a type of shake.

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I bet you assumed I’d say protein shakes. WRONG. After our hike my parents took me to their favorite spot for a date shake, Oasis Date Gardens.

Made with medjool dates and vanilla soft serve, my tastebuds went on a flavorful journey sent from the date heavens above. While it resembled more of a flurry than a shake, it was the perfect end to a perfect hike.

Was it the healthiest choice? Nah brah, but I was on vacation and dammit! I wasn’t going to pass up the greatest date shake in the world! Like I always say, life is all about balance.

Cheers to living your best life!


Outfit details: Lorna Jane top and tights, lululemon sports bra, New Balance sneakers

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