Mark Irwin, age 21, was up before dawn this morning to join a friend to hike to the top of Santiago Peak. Known locally as the Saddleback Mountains, the Santiago Peak trek takes hikers to an elevation of 5,687 feet. From the base it’s a vertical gain of 4,000 feet. The 18 mile round trip takes about twelve hours to hike. It is the highest point in Orange County and offers clear views of the ocean.
The Saddleback Mountains has twin peaks, the 5,496’ Modjeska Peak and the more challenging 5,687’ Santiago Peak.
This was Mark’s first hike. Although he didn’t train for the hike he regularly runs up to 10 miles and is in great condition for hiking.