Southern California is home to many spectacular scenes of nature. With the sun-kissed beaches of the Pacific Ocean, the parched expanse of Death Valley, the rocky crags of Joshua Tree and the wooded glens of San Bernardino National Forest, there is never a shortage of outdoor activities to enjoy.
Students at California Baptist University have first-pick access to all of these activities and many more, including the famed Six Peaks Challenge hosted by CBU Recreation.
Kayla Ruiz, outdoor adventure coordinator for CBU Recreation, explained the challenge that was set up for students to get outside and explore the natural elements around them.
“The Six Peaks Challenge is a challenge to hike the highest six peaks in Southern California,” said Ruiz. “These include Mt. Wilson, Cucamonga Peak, Mt. Baldy, San Bernardino Peak, Mt. San Jacinto, and San Gorgonio. In total it adds up to 27,108 feet of elevation gain and over 82 miles of hiking.”
CBU Recreation announced the beginning of this year’s challenge Sept. 17 on its Instagram page (@cburecreation). Because the challenge is undertaken at the participant’s convenience, so there are no tickets to be sold for this particular event. The challenge is planned to last until April 16, 2021, with the first three participants to summit all six of the peaks awarded exclusive prizes.
Typically, a Six Peaks Challenge hike begins with an individual sign-up. Because this particular round of trips is not usually led in-person by Outdoor Adventure student leaders, participants are encouraged to hike with friends to maximize both safety and fun.
Ruiz said a few select hikes, though, may be eligible to accommodate larger student groups.
“(Outdoor Recreation) plans to offer opportunities to hike some of these peaks as a school trip,” Ruiz said. “After hiking each peak, students will come to the Rec Rentals window and show a picture of themselves on the summit, after which they will receive various prizes.”
The Rec Rentals window, located in between the Events Center and Recreation Center, is home to the Outdoor Adventure Program, and it rents various kinds of equipment, such as tents, sleeping bags, surfboards and day packs.
The Six Peaks Challenge also has the potential to strengthen students both socially and emotionally. This is perhaps more important now than ever before, as COVID-19 restrictions have greatly limited social interactions for students.
Ruiz explained that the challenge is meant to motivate students.
“[The challenge] encourages students to get outdoors and be active,” Ruiz said. “Additionally, it hopefully allows getting connected with other students who have similar interests.”
The Outdoor Adventure program of CBU Recreation offers outlets for students to build relationships, maintain healthy lifestyles and experience social interaction.
“It really seems like the challenge is a super cool way to connect with others, especially during all the craziness of today’s world,” said David Arizaga, junior applied theology major.
Events like the Six Peaks Challenge encourage students to take advantage of every opportunity to build community.
“The six peaks challenge is a great activity because it gives people a tangible goal to strive for that is outside of school activities, it also gives people an outlet to meet others who love the outdoors,” said Jordan White, junior sociology major.