I am from a very outdoorsy small town on the coast, and growing up my weekends were full of surfing and hiking. When I arrived at USC, I learned quickly that being in the middle of a large city does not mean Trojans aren’t lovers of the outdoors. There are many outdoor activity organizations on campus such as the surf team, ski team, Peaks & Professors, and SC Outfitters! I am a member of SC Outfitters which is a 100% student-run outdoor adventure organization. They plan around 10-15 trips each month that take students on adventures across California and surrounding states. The fall of my freshman year I went backpacking to the summit of Mount Baldy, the tallest mountain in the San Gabriel forest (elevation: 10,069’).
The Friday afternoon we left started like any other day for me: I ate breakfast in EVK, attended three lectures, and had lunch at Parkside. But my day ended with a “gourmet” sandwich (anytime I have cucumbers, two kinds of meat, multiple condiments, and brioche bread it feels gourmet) as we watched the sunset from the summit of Mount Baldy. This hike was one of the most challenging hikes of my life. It was a 5 mile hike to the summit, at a constant incline, with a 50 pound pack, but the views and memories made it all worth it. I met a great group of girls on the trip and throughout the two days we were there, we shared lots of laughs and made wonderful new memories. After we ate our delicious sandwiches we pitched the tents and hung out for a bit before going to sleep. The next morning we woke up at 5 am to watch the sunrise. It was incredible as we got to watch all of Los Angeles slowly wake up. It definitely was one of my favorite sunrises, and I feel so fortunate to have had that experience here.
This trip represents one of my favorite aspects of USC, the possibilities. In one day I went from a classroom learning about material science to summiting the tallest mountain in Los Angeles. Each day a new adventure could be right around the corner, whether it’s building a small car in my AME 101 class, meeting a great group of new friends, or exploring all that LA has to offer. I am extremely grateful for the experiences and people that USC and all my adventures have brought me.