15.0 miles round trip
Difficulty: 4 out of 5 stars
Last Friday was the last day of the year and we decided to start our training with a hike to the summit of Mt. Santiago in the Cleveland National Forest. Team members Danny Chesley, Jack Souders, and myself headed out early for the 15 mile round trip hike. Mother nature had different plans as the road to the trailhead was in horrible shape due to the recent heavy rains. We hoped to make the summit in about three hours and another 2 1/2 to return. But after traversing the swollen Trabuco Creek numerous times, we realized that conditions just didn't favor us today. Past the Holy Jim cabin we decided that we were running out of time and had to head back. On the way down, we met a resident who warned us of a hungry male mountain lion that had been seen in the area. I don't know about you, but being lunch for a wild animal is not the way I want to go. All in all, the Holy Jim trail is a beautiful hike and I have to remember that experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted. We plan on making another attempt at this summit when conditions improve. In the mean time, our next hike is being planned and I will post a review along with some pics.