Written by Victoria Manriquez
When I see hiking poles, dusty hiking shoes and sunscreen in the garage... I know my mom is getting ready to do what makes her the happiest: hiking. My mom is the most selfless person I know. She has overcome so much in her life and never hesitated when it came to putting her family first. She would always drive my brother and I to school the head straight to work. My dad would pick us up and cook dinner then my mom would come home to help us with homework, tidy up the house then do it all over again. She did that until my brother and I were old enough to drive ourselves to school.
With more time on her hands, that is when her fitness journey began. She started exploring San Diego through running and hiking through all the amazing trails San Diego has to offer. She even joined an all women's hiking group!! I was so excited for her because this was somethingjust forher.
That love for adventure was put on pause in 2019 when she was hiking her usual trail in El Capitan Mt in San Diego. She got startled by a rattlesnake, tripped and landed on a large rock face first. Unfortunately, her location wasn't accessible by the rescue car, so she had to walk two miles down to get checked out by the ambulance. Thankfully, a fellow hiker stumbled across her and her friend and whipped out a first aid kit that had everything to help my mom finish that two mile hike. I always tell her that she had a guardian angel looking out for her that day.
She went to the hospital and ended up needing 17 stitches around her eye and some care for her broken tooth and bruises all over her body. After that accident, we were worried for her to go out on her own again hiking. But, not once during those two months of recovery did she ever speak negatively of the trail and she only talked about when she would be able to hike again. It was her lifeline - the fresh air, the trees, and the hikers around her really allowed her to find herself.
Rest assured as soon as the stitches healed and the bruises went away she went on a short three mile hike and you could tell she missed it. Hiking has brought so much to my mom. It's also given her and I a goal to move towards, because every mountain she wants to climb gets BIGGER and BIGGER. I can honestly say hiking and staying active has changed her for the better.
From 2010 to now, she has become a 52 Hike Challenge Finisher, Ultra Marathoner and still the world's best mom. She has overcome so much in her life but never stopped putting others before herself.
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Covering those four miles an hour seemed like a distant dream. I moved at a pace dictated by the desert. The quicker you moved, the more you slipped about. It could be agonizing. This was a discomfort unique to the desert, one that I knew well from previous sandy sojourns in the Mojave and White Sands. My twisted mind invited the discomfort in. Let’s tango, desert.
My pack was stocked to survive three days in the backcountry. Though there were a good amount of clouds in the sky, the sun somehow found a way to shine through. And my skin found a way to chafe in the only place the sun don’t shine. My feet felt the burning heat from the sand through my lightweight trail runners. My calves punished me for subjecting them to such a rigorous sandy workout.