OC Hiking Club
Largest hiking club in the Great OC
The Orange County Hiking Club, is a charitable 501(c)(3) nonprofit which exists to promote physical, mental and emotional wellness through connection with nature. In addition to outdoor recreation for our members, OC Hiking Club nurtures stewardship that protects trails for future generations and provides education, encouragement and nature-empowerment for people of all ages, families and at-risk youth through mentorship and leadership development in the outdoors.  
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OC Hiking Club Board of Directors

Suki Reed — President, Orange County Hiking Club

Suki Reed is an advocate for nature, outdoor education, and the need to keep America's most at-risk children active. Hiking is a passion for Suki, who hikes regularly and has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania Africa. Each year she also climbs her favorite local So Cal peaks, and Mount Whitney. When she isn't hiking, Suki enjoys kayaking, yoga, road biking, snow skiing and horseback riding. Additionally, she has volunteered for many years with the United States Adaptive Recreation Center where she teaches handicapped children and adults how to ski.

Suki graduated cum laude from the University of Wisconsin, Superior and holds a TESL Teaching Certificate from University of California, Irvine. In addition, she does public speaking and writes about nature and the outdoors for the OC Register.

Favorite local hike: I love Crystal Cove (located in-between Corona Del Mar and Laguna Beach). I've been hiking this area since I was a kid. Depending on the route you take, the hike is a workout for beginning through advanced hikers. It offers amazing views of the San Gabriel Mountains and Catalina.

Neil Fricke — Vice President

Neil Fricke is a retired Licensed Customs Broker. He is a native Californian, born in San Diego and raised in LA county. He obtained a degree in Psychology from Johnston College of the University of Redlands (now known as Johnston Center for Interdisciplinary Studies) and remains active in alumni affairs. He worked for several years in the mental health field before changing careers to Imports and Logistics. During the course of his work he ultimately specialized in wine importations and last worked as the office manager for a former client in Orange County. He retains a keen interest in wine to this day.

My favorite hike: Sturtevant Falls — After hiking a steep trail down to the canyon plateau you will enter a magical canopy of oaks and alders resting alongside a winding stream. We follow the stream up to a group of rustic cabins. These historical cabins are serviced by pack mules from the station at Chantry Flats. After crossing the winding stream, the hike culminates at a natural rock basin fed by lush 50 foot waterfalls. In this moss-coated world, it is easy to forget that civilization is only a stone's throw away.



OC Hiking Club Expert Advisory Board

Doug Thompson — Expert Mountaineer and Owner Whitney Portal store

Doug has been a mountaineer for the last 40+ years and has more experience in the high Sierras than anyone alive. His store at the base of Mt. Whitney makes him the hub of Sierra Mountaineering activity and rescues. When you are at the Portal be sure and say "hi" to Doug and his beautiful wife Earlene, two of the nicest and most knowledgeable people on mountaineering/climbing skills, mountain safety and Search & Rescue you will ever meet. In addition, his internet forum is the number one source for Sierra info with over 2 million hits per month. Doug is known and respected worldwide and has been interviewed many times over on TV as well as print in well known periodicals including the Wall Street Journal, LA Times and OC Register. We are honored to have Doug Thompson as a member of the OC Hiking Club Advisory Board; his vast experience is an ongoing source of guidance and information.

Relevant links:

Ed Talone — Trails Info Specialist & Hiking Historian of The American Hiking Society

Ed is the trails info specialist for the American Hiking Society. He is an accomplished backpacker with over 40,000 miles to his credit including the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail and all major trails across the United States. He has contributed more than 100 articles for American Hiker magazine and has also provided content for several trail guidebooks.

Relevant Link:

Dr. Ben and Denise Jones — “The Mayor and First Lady of the Badwater Ultra Marathon”

Dr. Ben and Denise Jones, Dr. Ben spent 40 years as the only doctor in the Owens Valley and it was impossible to drive to Mt. Whitney without passing his office on Portal Road. His experience as a General Practioner and Sports Medicine doctor is extensive. Both Ben and Denise have used Mt. Whitney as a training ground for the Badwater Ultra Marathon and have summated Whitney multiple times on day hikes/run. Dr. Ben is one of the initiators of the Badwater Ultra Marathon the world's toughest footrace. He and his beautiful wife Denise have been inducted into the Badwater Hall of Fame and are referred to as "the Mayor and First Lady of Badwater." They are both three-time official finishers of the Badwater and continue to serve by holding training clinics, coaching, crewing and assisting runners. Denise is “the expert” on foot care and is known as the Badwater Blister Queen, Denise Jones. Her book “Death Valley Ultras: The Complete Crewing Guide” is available on lulu.com. Dr. Ben and Denise can be seen in film and print documenting their lives and historic involvement with the Badwater. We are greatly honored to have them and their extensive experience on the OC Hiking Club advisory board.

Relevant Link:

Kurt Wedberg — 2 successful ascents Mt. Everest

Kurt is the founder of Sierra Mountaineering International. He has been a professional mountain guide since 1986 and has 53 major expeditions on his resume including two successful ascent of Mt. Everest. He has led expeditions to peaks in Africa, Alaska, the Alps, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Turkey, and the Himalayas. Kurt has guided on Mt. Rainier since 1991 where he is a senior guide with Lou Whittaker's Rainier Mountaineering Inc. and currently has 114 ascents of this peak. He has been mountaineering in the Sierra for over 20 years. Kurt runs Sierra Mountaineering International from his hometown of Bishop, California along the base of the beautiful Eastern Sierra.

Relevant link: www.sierramountaineering.com

Mario Fuentes — Director and co-founder of Beyond Limits

Mario is a seasoned hiker who has hiked much of the South Western United States. Additionally he is the Director and co-founder of Beyond Limits a program that takes kids on wilderness trips for the purpose of rehabilitation.

Relevant link: www.beyondlimits.org



OC Hiking Club Hike & Event Organizers — One big happy family (-:

Azita L.

I have lived in California for 32 years, my primary through A'level years I lived in England. I am an Optician working with two doctors who are pioneers in professional athlete's vision training. I have always loved hiking but had not done it for quite a few years before joining the OC Hiking Club. I have managed to lose over 50 pounds since that first hike! All while loving every minute of trudging and sweating up the hills. Hiking does not feel like an exercise to me, and I take it at its traditional meaning "covering distance at a sedate pace" and enjoying nature.


Bill has been hiking for over 45 years. He learned most of his hiking skills at a young age in Boy Scouts and continued as a Junior Ranger. Bill worked in Yosemite as a ski instructor and back country trail guide for five years. He currently works as a snowboard and ski instructor at Bear Mtn. in Big Bear Lake where he lives. He loves the mountains and prefers high altitude. Favorite hikes are in the Eastern Sierras, Zion and Bryce National Parks. Bill leads the annual Mt. Baldy Perseids Meteor shower hike and attends most of Nat's Big Bear hikes. He worked two seasons as a fire lookout in the San Jancintos at Tahquitz Peak. "He picked that lookout tower because it was the only one you could not drive to."

Brian G.

I joined the OCHC in 2009 but did not start actively hiking with the club until 2010. I really enjoy doing outdoor activities that include hiking, running, surfing, tennis and golf. I grew up in Orange County but did not realize how many wonderful parks and hiking trails were here since I grew up surfing at the beach or snowboarding in the local mountains. It was great to find so many parks and hiking trails in Orange County that my wife (Lisa G.) and I could finally have the opportunity to get involved in hiking.

We joined the club and quickly became hike leaders and have never looked back. I remember how difficult it was to try to find a trailhead or understand a hike description on our own, so the OC Hiking Club was a great way to learn the local (and sometimes not so local) trails as well as share that experience with others.

About me, I am a Business Development Manager in Irvine and have a background in Finance and Technology. I graduated from SDSU with a degree in Public Administration and an MBA from Pepperdine University. My wife Lisa and I enjoy being outdoors, taking our dog Skyler to dog beach and finding new hikes.

Christopher Shadwick

Within 6 months of joining the OC Hiking Club, Christopher lost over 50 (out of 205) pounds!

He was born in Cook County, IL, and at age 3, he moved to Orange County. He was always doing something active (swimming, karate, volleyball, etc...) until around 2002, when he got a "desk job". He first experienced hiking when he was twelve and his father took him hiking up to Santiago and Modjeska peaks of the Saddleback mountains. He hiked Holy Jim and areas behind the Dana Point Marine Institute in his 20’s. In the late 1990’s, Christopher was co-leader of a young adults (20’s & 30’s) group. He joined OC Hiking in October of 2009 and quickly learned more about hiking from leaders: Suki, Neil, Harish, and Gerry, and he continues to hike 3 days a week.

He currently is manager of email support at work and also participates in a Toastmasters club in Mission Viejo.

David V.

David is a corporate consultant and author who moved to Southern California from Chicago several years ago. He hikes in the South County, in Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, and elsewhere. He has been known to dress as The Grinch on Santa-hat hikes.

Dave W.

Dave developed his passion for hiking while backpacking in the Blue Ridge Mountains as a teenager. He spent much of his adult life camping and traveling with his two sons. He took a year off from work in 2010 to hike, travel, and seriously reconnect with nature. He has covered local trails and backcountry in the Cleveland Forest extensively and loves the local desert and Eastern Sierras. He recently decided to share his experiences by becoming a hike organizer and is determined to lead more backpacking trips in the future. For Dave, exploring the backcountry is not just a past time but an essential part of his life.


Hiking was wholly foreign to Edd Ruskowitz until one Saturday morning in 1999. That first hike, a Sierra Club-sponsored conditioning hike around Peter's Canyon, was a major turning point that led to his becoming a rated leader with the Sierra Club in 2000, a rating requiring proficiency in group leadership dynamics, navigation, snow travel and rock scrambling. He's logged several hundred hikes and backpacks throughout the local mountains, the high desert and both the Eastern and Western Sierra. Edd has been an instructor in the Sierra Club's Wilderness Travel Course the past eight years and is currently the course's Orange County Chair. His OC Hiking Club specialty is the early weekday morning Anti-Gym conditioning hike around Turtle Rock.

In town hikes:

  • Mt. Baldy from various trailheads and routes (Intermediate to Advanced)
  • [url=http://www.meetup.com/OC Hiking-org/calendar/9215892/]Sunday Brunch on Sunset Peak[/url] - an OC Hiking exclusive (High Beginner to Intermediate)

Out of town hikes:

  • Mt. Pickering, Eastern Sierra (Advanced)
  • Seven Gables, Western Sierra (Advanced)
  • Mt. Charleston, dayhike near Las Vegas (Intermediate to Advanced)
  • Mt. Shasta, Cascade Range (Advanced)

Gideon started backpacking as a boy scout, carrying a canvas tent on a wood frame pack. He grew up on the East Coast, hiking short sections of the Appalachian Trail from North Carolina to Maine. After moving to the Bay Area in 1976 he explored much of the Marin coast, Western Sierra, Trinity Alps and Big Sur area on his own and with a UC affiliated club, Outdoors Unlimited. Since moving to Southern Cal in 1979 he has hiked and led trips to the local mountains, and discovered his true mountain love, the Eastern High Sierra. His favorite Sierra hikes are Little Lakes Valley, Piute and Bishop Passes, and the area around Tuolumne Meadows. In the winter he enjoys downhill and cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Gideon has practiced diagnostic radiology locally for more than 20 years, specializing in trauma, spine and orthopedic imaging. Gideon enjoys hiking the hills of OC with the OC Hiking Club and with his dog Charlie. He lives in Turtle Rock and his favorite local hike bears the same name.

Glenn Plank

Glenn rediscovered the joy of hiking after 20 years of being a couch potato. Hiking remains the foundation of his fitness program that has helped him lose about 90 pounds. As a Boy Scout, Glenn backpacked, hiked and camped. He went on to enjoy the outdoors even more when the Air Force stationed him in Colorado for a year where he took up skiing and continued backpacking and hiking in the Rocky Mountains. Glenn is also very active as a leader with his boys in the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts and takes them on local hikes and backpacking trips. Recently he summited Mt. Whitney in a day and several other California fourteeners on his goal to summiting all 12 of the fourteen thousand foot peaks in CA. Glenn currently enjoys backpacking to the high peaks of the Sierras as well as all the local peaks including Santiago, San Jacinto, Mt. Baldy and San Gorgonio and has recently taken up winter adventures on snowshoes and backcountry skis as well.

In Town Hikes:

  • Antigym Hardcore in Turtle Rock (1 ½ hour strenuous-advanced)
  • Antigym Hardcore in Whiting Ranch (2 hour strenuous-advanced)
  • Family oriented Geocaching hikes — (Beginner)

Out of Town Hikes

  • Mt. Langley 3 day backpacking trip (Advanced)
  • San Gorgonio both day hikes and overnights (Advanced)
  • Family oriented backpacking trips — (Beginner)

Works as Research Associate in R & D dept of a leading disinfectants manufacturing Company. He was born, raised and lived most of his life in India. He has lived in the US now for more than ten years. He was raised by a single mom in a Gandhian Ashram among farms, animals, mountains, meadows, river beds, and was strongly influenced by yoga and meditation. Harish has done a lot of trekking and camping in the Himalayas and from Village to Village in India. He says, “I hike 25 to 30 miles a week however, for me hiking is a very spiritual experience. It does not matter how much I go up, or go long or how many summits I climb, the real fun is how much I connect with nature and enrich my inner world — that is the goal! Occasionally, I enjoy deep conversations on meaningful subjects, otherwise, most of the time I enjoy my peace and pace on a trail.”

Jeff Shimkus

Jeff has been an outdoors person all his life. He started hiking and camping as a kid with the Boy Scouts and YMCA. He is also an avid, surfer, snow and wake boarder. He also enjoys riding his beautiful Harley when he's not hiking. He is employed as a Fire Captain and Paramedic with a large city here in Orange County. He also teaches at the Santa Ana College Fire Academy. He loves the outdoors, meeting new people and exploring new places. He has hiked most of the major So Cal peaks. His favorite hike is Mt Whitney, "I finished last summer by backpacking Mt. Whitney with an awesome group of people from the OC Hiking Club. It was an experience that I will never forget."

In town hikes:

  • Anything from a fast walk along the beach or hiking the local hills.

Out of town hikes:

  • I really enjoy the Eastern Sierras and intend to do more hiking and backpacking there.
Jeannie T.

Jeannie, a native Southern Californian, was introduced to hiking and backpacking through Girl Scouts during her high school years. Training hikes in the local mountains prepared her for the Grand Canyon, Sierra, and desert backpacking trips. Later, some family favorite hikes included the Big Sur and Mammoth areas. Jeannie has been teaching children with mild to moderate special needs in the Bellflower area for close to 30 years. She has coached high school sports including field hockey, volleyball, and badminton. She also coached her two beautiful daughters throughout their softball careers and both are now pursuing teaching careers as well. The OC Hiking Club has given Jeannie many opportunities to reconnect with nature. She hopes to inspire others to share the same passion she has discovered through the club.

In town beginner hikes:

  • Red Rock/Whiting Ranch
  • Dilley Preserve/Laguna Coast Wilderness
  • Dana Point bluffs
  • Sleepy Hollow/Whiting Ranch
  • Peter’s Canyon
  • Laguna Lake
Jim VT

I enjoy the outdoors — lots! I have climbed Mt. Whitney and loved it. I enjoy longer hikes and riding my bike. As a former president of OC Wheelmen, Jim is a supremely accomplished cyclist. Some of his amazing accomplishments include the California Triple Crown in 1990–1998, Highland Quad Quadruple Century 4 years in a row, and the Paris-Brest-Paris twice! Jim also works with disadvantaged kids in our local area. We are honored to have him as one our hike organizers.

My favorite hike is Crystal Cove!


Joel has been hiking regularly since he joined the club, “I really enjoy it and my fitness level has really improved.” His favorite hikes are everywhere!

John Bryce

John discovered hiking and nature by exploring the woods behind the poultry farm in New Jersey as a kid. He's hiked, biked, and canoed through a lot of the USA and various other countries. A course in desert survival helped save his sanity after college. John has found balance in life by getting outdoors and into the wilderness he says, "Getting out in nature is a way to touch the divine and to balance life in civilization." Photography helps John to focus on the beauty of the natural world and is a continuing joy. Deserts to forests and streams to mountain peaks all bring enjoyment and a passion to live life fully.

Favorite hikes:

  • Peter's Canyon because it's so close and accessible.
  • Anza Borrego State Park — He goes a few times each year to monitor the Desert Bighorn Sheep population. Contact him if you'd like about a 6 mile off trail hike to a remote drinker and see how the Bighorns are doing.
  • Mt. Baldy — because I keep going back
  • Anything off the sidewalk
Kathy Bergh

Kathy has spent her entire life in Orange County and was introduced to the outdoors at a young age. Her family vacations were spent camping at the local beaches and lakes, mountains, and redwoods. Since joining the OC Hiking Club, Kathy has explored many beautiful areas in Orange County.

In Town Hikes:

  • Newport Pier to Pier
  • Irvine and Santiago Oaks Regional Park
  • Newport Back Bay
Karin Wagatha

Karin was born just outside Montréal, Canada, and immigrated to Southern California at the age of 14. She credits her sense of adventure and love of the outdoors to her parents and a childhood filled with camping, hiking, exploration and sports. She spent winter months skiing in her native Canada and numerous summer vacations exploring the Bavarian Alps in Germany. Karin enjoys leading beginning hikers, encouraging beginners to value nature and embrace hiking as a form of relaxation, recreation and fitness. Her enthusiasm and energy are also apparent when she leads more advanced hikers who want to improve their conditioning and experience new adventures. Karin recently joined the Kids In Need of Nature program organizing and leading hikes for at-risk children and helping them discover the wonders of nature and the outdoors. Her experience as an Information Technology executive has served her well as an OC Hiking Club organizer; both require leadership, organization, creativity and preparation for the unexpected. She hopes to be a successful influence in reconnecting people with nature.

In Town Hikes:

  • Peaks — Santiago, Modjeska , Bedford, Sitton, Los Pinos
  • Parks — Peter’s Canyon, Santiago Oaks, Turtle Rock, Whiting Ranch, Crystal Cove, Casper’s, Irvine Regional, Aliso & Wood Canyons, Black Star, Laguna Coast
  • Kids In Need of Nature hikes

Out of Town hikes:

  • Mt. San Jacinto, Mt. Baldy, Mt. San Gorgonio, Santa Monica mountains
Larry Beck

Larry is a semi-native Californian, born in Kansas City, Missouri but moved to California at 3 months old. Larry developed a love for backpacking in the Boy Scouts. He has struggled to keep his backpack weight down to a manageable level. He can't seem to let go of some of those creature comforts, but is finding ultra-light accessories that help reduce the weight.

Favorite local walks:

  • Back Bay Loop
  • Sitton Peak
  • Laguna Canyon

Favorite out of town backpacking:

  • San Jacinto Peak
  • San Gorgonio Peak
  • John Muir Trail (Sierras)

Laura has loved the outdoors since she was 5 years old. On her way to school she use to stop by the orange groves (remember them) and climb the orange trees. Now she is busy climbing local trails & mountains. She was born and raised in Orange County. She's is currently teaching third grade in Santa Ana (13 years strong) and loves it. She also spends her time volunteering at Orangewood Children's Home (in Orange) doing art with the children. When she's not busy teaching or volunteering, she enjoys hiking, snow skiing, roller blading, and swimming. She has hiked Mt. Baldy & San Jacinto. Her goals right now are to hike San Gorgonio & Mt. Whitney. One of her fondest trips was when she backpacked (16 yrs. old) up to the Palisades Glacier in the high Sierras. "It's just around the corner," they told me... Yeah, "MOUNTAIN CORNER." — Good times!!!

In Town Hikes:

  • Aliso Woods Canyon — Intermediate PLUS
  • Holy Jim (Santiago Peak) — Intermediate Plus/Advanced
  • Colinas Bluff — Intermediate

Out of Town Hikes:

  • Grand Canyon — Havasupai Falls (Backpack & camp)
Laurie Ann has no claims to fame but is quite certain she was conceived in the back woods of Northern Maine ;>)) A wanna-be long distance backpacker AKA "Hiker Trash" is in training most of her spare time. She has mapped out over 20,000+ miles of trails included on her bucket list. She works on the weekends so come on out on a week day or night and join her on one of the many various different type hikes. Perhaps an urban trail "Coto Meets Casper" or a more challenging rugged terrain trail up the Bell Ridge which is part of the Cleveland National Forest.
Lisa G.

Lisa is a native California girl who found her love for hiking in nature and the great outdoors in high school when she frequently hiked in Switzer Falls. She can never get enough trees, ocean views, deer or the sounds of birds, especially woodpeckers on the trails. She recently graduated summa cum laude from CSULB and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies along with a Leadership Certificate. She also worked for Fortune 500 companies in the areas of administration and human resources.

When she is not on an OCHC hike or leading one of her own, she can be found hiking in and out-of-town with her husband, running at the beach or shopping (at an outdoor mall). She enjoys reaching goals, gaining knowledge and a challenge, whether it is on the trails or in her personal life.


Mark is a native Californian who, prior to 1.5 years ago, lived in Oregon for 20 years. He is retired from the US Navy. He hiked with his two sons in the Boy Scouts and has always enjoyed being outdoors. Mark was re-introduced to hiking after relocation to Southern California through the OC Hiking Club. "While Oregon might be prettier, nothing beats being able to hike almost every day without getting rained on." His long term goal is to hike all California peaks over 14,000 feet.

Mark Edward

Mark loves the outdoors. Growing up in the Chicago suburbs he learned about hiking early by trudging through the snow to school in fierce blizzard winds. Since then he has graduated from Purdue with an engineering degree and is a certified professional photographer. Racquetball became the first sport, then it was on to ten years of competitive figure skating and now he will retire one day by hiking in the great outdoors.

In Town Hikes:

  • Ice House Canyon to various peaks
  • Idyllwild Trails to San Jacinto Peak
  • San Gabriel Mountain Hikes
  • Crystal Cove and Whiting Wilderness for in-between hike conditioning

Out of Town Hikes:

  • Backpacking the Sierras such as Paradise Valley in Kings Canyon
  • Jenny and Weaver Lakes in Sequoia
  • Mount Langley in the Eastern Sierras
Mike Cabourne

I have been an avid hiker for many years and typically participate in five hikes per week. Most of these are local conditioning hikes (I lead two intermediate hikes a week in North Orange County) but I like venturing out into the San Gabriel’s, desert regions, and southern Utah for out of state hikes. I enjoy overnight adventures and my favorite hikes are in the more remote regions. My favorite adventures have been rafting the Grand Canyon and a safari into the backcountry of Belize. I'm also an active canyoneer and have been so for the last five years. I've descended over thirty technical canyons here locally, in the Sierras and in Utah, most multiple times. I've participated as a team member in three first documented descents. I also enjoy inline skating, climbing and mountain biking, while, around home I am an avid gardener, wood worker and builder of things.

In Town Hikes

  • Chino Hills (intermediate)
  • Santiago Oaks (intermediate)
  • Weir Canyon (intermediate)

Out of Town Hikes

  • Zion (advanced)
  • Joshua Tree (all intermediate)
  • Death Valley (all intermediate)
  • Anza Borrego (all intermediate)
Mike Moore

Mike has been a runner and an outdoorsman from a very young age. Although he is done with running, hiking and camping continue to be a big part of his life. Mike has climbed summits on four continents and continues to hike at least twice a week locally. On every hike, Mikes finds Aristotle’s words, In all of nature there is something of the marvelous, validated. In addition to the physical element and the health benefits of hiking, Mike enjoys the friendships and interaction with the OC Hiking Club members. Mike discovered the club (by accident) on a Google search during December 07 and has been hiking with us ever since. As an Aerospace Scientist, Mike has lived in Orange County since the mid 80’s and considers Lake Forest his home.


Mitch Barrie is a native Californian who grew up in Orange County and has lived here most of his life, with occasional sojourns in places like Los Angeles, San Francisco, London and Paris. He originally worked as a graphic designer, spent most of his career in high tech marketing, and now runs a small business in Costa Mesa making tactical accessories for law enforcement and military customers.

Mitch has been backpacking in Southern California's mountains and deserts since the mid 1970s, when as a Boy Scout the stone was strapped to his back before he had a chance to protest. In 1989 and 1990 he was a National Forest volunteer ranger in the San Gorgonio Wilderness in the San Bernardino Mountains. He especially enjoys climbing San Gabriel Mountain summits such as Mount Baldy and Mt Baden-Powell, particularly in winter.

For the OC Hiking Club, Mitch hosts an annual series of beginner backpacking overnights in local mountains, plus a handful of other backpacking trips on San Gorgonio and in the Sierra Nevadas. His favorite conditioning hikes are the Crystal Cove Loop and Holy Jim Trail.


Nancy is a Realtor in Laguna Niguel, CA. She is happily married and has two wonderful daughters. She use to mountain bike all over the western US with her husband but got tired of crashing and now loves to hike.

In Town Hikes:

  • Aliso woods Canyon
  • Colinas
  • Crystal Cove - El Moro
  • Rollercoaster
  • Ridgeline
  • Whiting Ranch
  • Nancy loves to hike anything local

Out of Town Hikes:

  • Bishop Pass Trail, CA
  • Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon, AZ
Neil Fricke

Neil's introduction to hiking came during his senior year in high school via a school sponsored program which started with an introduction to safe hiking practices including the "10 essentials" and led to his first hike from Icehouse Canyon to the top of Mt. Baldy. Despite a lack of consistent hiking partners prior to joining the OC Hiking Club; he managed to hike a variety of locales including the Grand Canyon, Half Dome, Mist Falls in King's Canyon, and the Pinnacles National Monument.

In Town Hikes:

  • Bommer Ridge Trail (Crystal Cove) — 2 hour Beginner Hike
  • Deer Canyon Trail (Crystal Cove) — 1 — to 2 hour Beginner Hike (with hills)

Out of Town Hikes:

  • Sturtevant Falls — Beginner Hike (with stream crossings)
  • 3 Hikes in Riverside County — All Day Beginner Hikes
  • Santa Cruz Island — Overnight Day Hikes/Beginner "Backpacking" in the Channel Islands
  • Joshua Tree Sampler — All Day Beginner Hikes in Joshua Tree National Monument
Suki Reed

In Town Hikes:

  • Newport Beach Pier to Pier Walk — beginning to Advanced
  • Crystal Cove (9 miles) - Intermediate to Advanced
  • Back Bay Walk (9 miles) - Intermediate

Out of Town Hikes:

  • San Gorgonio Sleep on the Peak — Advanced
  • Mount Whitney (3 day and 1 day hikes) — Advanced
Terry O.

Terry is a Southern California native who joined the club in 2013 to improve his health and fitness. Starting as a beginner, Terry progressed to hike and backpack in the Sierras. In 2015, Terry started organizing OCHC hikes. Peter’s Canyon is a favorite local conditioning hike.


Danielle has been a member of OCHC since 2007 and is a recent addition to the assistant organizers. She grew up in the woods of western Massachusetts and wished to reconnect to nature when transplanted to California. She enjoys collecting pinecones, feathers and making nature-inspired crafts. She also enjoys teaching outdoor crafts on her nature-guided hikes.

In Town Hikes:

  • Oak Canyon - Anaheim - easy naturalist style narrative nature/bird walks 1-2 miles
  • Themes: Sage, bird nests, overall nature plus crafts after hike
  • Weir Canyon - Anaheim - easy naturalist style narrative nature/bird walks 1-2 miles
Frank Palacios

Frank joined the OC Hiking Club just over two years ago wanting to hike and learn to backpack. He had always wanted to backpack but didn't know how to go about it, where to go, what to take, can he do it, etc. Then he saw a posting for a backpacking trip for beginners.  On his first trip he was so excited that he barely slept that night. While he lay in his tent he thought to himself: "This is exactly how I imagined it would be." That first year he made 7 trips, each leaving a lasting impression to want to go again.


As Frank would do day hikes and talked to people about his backpacking trips, he realized a lot of people wanted to get out and backpack but the fear of the unknown kept them from trying it. Fears that he had; what to take, where to go, I don't want to be the slow one in the group, etc.


So in wanting to give back to the club, Frank became an organizer with the goal of sharing with people you don't have to know everything before you venture out, and you can be from the city, a real beginner, and not know much about the outdoors and backpacking and still be successful at it. Frank makes the trips fun and  those who have backpacked with him will walk away with two things, a full stomach (he makes sure his peeps eat well, Carne Asada :) and a lot of laughs. Frank has always enjoyed helping and encouraging people. He believes if you enjoy whatever it is you undertake, it will show.


Frank is a Christianand dad of four wonderful girls and loves his life. He has found this verse to hold a lot of truth: "The people shall find rest in the mountains."


Gerry currently works for the Los Angeles Sheriffs Dept. at the Men’s Central Jail. He was raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, and spent his youth wandering around the desert areas of southern Utah - Arches, Canyonlands, Lake Powell, Glen Canyon, Escalante, and the four corners area. He moved to the Southern California area in 1987 and after a serious health concern. After learning about the OCHC through the OC Register, he rediscovered his passion for hiking. “Hiking with the club has been a life altering change for me. It has contributed to a dramatic weight loss and healthier lifestyle. I would love to help other people discover what I have found.”

His favorite hike is Mt Langley, and he enjoys the wide variety of hikes offered by the other OCHC Hike Organizers.

Favorite winter hike:

  • Salt Creek Trail
  • Favorite summer midweek hikes: Colinas bluffs, Roller Coaster Ridge to the flag, Dana Point Headlands
  • Favorite summer weekend hike: Any Rod hike
  • Other favorites: Half Dome, White Mountain, Mt San Jacinto
Hamid G

Hamid grew up in Tehran, Iran and has lived in the U.S since 1979. Even as a teenager he was an avid hiker and hiked for 16-20 miles on the weekend in Tehran’s surrounding mountains. His father was an outdoors person and had a passion and love for nature. He instilled that love of nature to his family early on by taking many family camping and hiking trips.


Hamid also loves running and has been an active runner for many years. He used to play soccer regularly but hasn’t played as much in the last few years. Hamid has done many of the local OC hikes. His favorite local hikes are Whiting Ranch, Alta Laguna & Top of the World on a cool day. He has also done Santiago peak which he enjoyed very much.  Hamid tries to lead or participate in local hikes at least 2-3 times a week. In addition, he runs at least one 10K on a weekly basis for conditioning purposes. Hiking gives him an inner peace and allows him to get away from the busy southern California lifestyle.


Hamid is married with two teenage daughters. He is a Technical Manager / Engineer for a semiconductor firm and has an M.B.A.


Judith’s first exposure to hiking took place in Israel, a place where nature is celebrated and people from all walks of life are passionate about hiking. Everywhere in Israel people young and old, solo and in groups, can be found enjoying the uniqueness of the country through hikes that range from challenging and strenuous to trails that are relaxed but inspiring.

This passion for hiking was a revelation that connected her deeply with the universe and broadened her horizons in a way that she had not experienced before. She has explored Israel from top to bottom, hiking in the historic Galilee in the north, the mountains around Jerusalem in the middle, and hiking and camping in the Sinai Desert along the Red Sea in the south.

Even now, years later, the first thing she considers when selecting a travel destination is the availability of friendly and safe hiking trails that highlight the natural wonders of the area.

Upon arriving in the United States, Judith looked for hiking organizations similar to the ones she enjoyed in Israel. A friend introduced her to the OC Hiking Club and it was here that she found a new home, a place that fulfills her passion for hiking and one that is a source of new friends who share that passion.

In Town Hikes:

  • Crystal Cove / Laguna Wilderness Park — Duration: 2 hours, Skill level: Advanced.
  • Back Bay (Newport Beach) — Duration: 1.5 hours,
  • Skill level: Advanced. (The Springtime versions of this hike are slower to allow for numerous wildflower photo opportunities!).
Lisa Pedersen

Lisa’s love of nature began while growing up in the heart of the woods and farmland of Southern New Jersey. Her education consists of a BA in communications and psychology with an international business certificate. From the time Lisa has been a member of the OC Hiking Club, she has met all sorts of wonderful people from different backgrounds, has seen the beauty of the land, and has learned a lot about the local habitat. The hikes she typically organizes are at Chino Hills State Park, Kids In Need of Nature, and Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley.


Margie started hiking as a child when her family took a cottage every summer in the mountains. At the time it was a little boring and tiring! She did not fully appreciate the benefits of exercise and the outdoors until much later. Now Margie loves the peacefulness and serenity of the great outdoors! The combination of exercise and cleaner air allows her to breathe in more oxygen which makes her not only feel better but also think clearer. Margie wishes to share her love of nature and exercise with as many people as possible as a Hike Organizer with the OC Hiking Club.

In Town Hikes:

  • Peters Canyon — Beginners
  • Black Star Canyon — Intermediate
  • Modjeska Peak — Advanced
  • Santiago Oaks — Intermediate
Michael S

Michael was introduced to the mountains, deserts and beaches by his parents, who took several camping trips and nature outings with the family annually.  As a child he hiked miles of Sierra trails, as well as explored the Mojave by foot and via his very first vehicle:  a 1966 Honda trail bike his dad got him for trail riding, circa October, 1966.

Since hiking as a kid, his love of hiking has grown and become more enjoyable as he leads fellow hiking enthusiasts on some of the great trails he has walked in the past in the Southern California area.

Michael has wandered in the John Muir wilderness, fishing, camping and exploring. He likes to lead hikes that include places out of Orange County, in places like Joshua Tree, San Jacinto, in the San Gabriel Mountains, the Sierra Mountains, Devil's Punchbowl, Tenaja Falls and around Big Bear.  Additionally, he leads hikers on the Painted Canyon Ladder Hike, a popular hike offering lots of slot canyons, ladders, and geographical wonders in the desert by the Salton Sea.

A few non-hiking facts about Michael:  he graduated high school in Israel, (and climbed Mount Masada a number of times); he put himself through college and a mid-career change in 2001 and became a teacher; his teaching got him noticed by President Obama, who came to visit Michael and his students after Michael produced a film (Is Anybody Listening?) about how students during the economic downturn were struggling; and he is very proud of his beautiful daughter Leah, who is also a teacher, and recently got married to a man she has known since they were in junior high school.

Pat Wells

A native Californian, Pat has been active all of her life. In October of 2009, Pat joined OCHC and rediscovered hiking. She became a hike organizer in March, 2010, since then, has led 3-4 OCHC hikes per week. Her goal is to do 250 hikes in her first year and so far, she is on track to achieve that number.

She played badminton and volleyball in college, winning an NCAA championship in badminton and coaching UCLA’s men’s and women’s teams to an NCAA championship as well.

She also coached varsity volleyball and the girls’ and boys’ varsity badminton teams on the high school level and never had a losing season in either. She organized and ran the CIF southern California coed badminton championships for many years. Throughout the 80s, she hiked and backpacked extensively in the Eastern and Western Sierras, then started a business which, combined with teaching high school English and ESL, consumed her life.

Recently retired, she has more time to devote to hiking and her business, www.cavalierpetpourri.com with products for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and Cavalier owners. Owns a non-profit business dedicated to rescuing dogs that are disabled or have behavior problems for dogs such as: Cavalier, English Toy Spaniel, and Japanese Chin.

In Town Hikes:

  • Peter’s Canyon
  • Whiting Ranch
  • And more!
Ingrid Blowers

Ingrid was born and raised in the Los Angeles area. She enjoys being outdoors and living an active life, "We are very fortunate to have a beautiful coast, open and free to all." Her earliest and fondest memories are of family beach days; laughing, swimming, and snorkling, in the ocean. Ingrid's parents taught her and 6 siblings to honor life, and respect nature. Communing with nature in a wild place or in open spaces is how she renews her spirit, "I am grateful that here in So Cal we have many wonderful natural resources, our area is surrounded by mountains." Some of her favorite destinations are in the San Gorgonio Wilderness and Santa Monica Mountains. Here she finds many trails with views of the beautiful coast and beloved MamaO.

Recently she has discovered the joy of snow travel and looks forward to gaining greater snow experience and making multi-day journeys. Ingrid enjoys sharing her enthusiasm for the outdoors with others and organizes hikes and backpack trips for teenagers who might not otherwise have the experience. These trips are delightful for all involved. My wish for everyone is to be happy and healthy, "Take a hike, it will help!"

Mona Finney

Mona has been a member of OC Hiking Club since summer 2009. She joined because she and her husband enjoy camping and hiking on their vacations. They have spent several summer vacations in Yellowstone and in the summer of 09 they hiked to the top of Mt Washburn to view the park from the summit and she says, "It was thrilling!" After her summit experience she wanted to keep the momentum going for the pleasure and fitness that hiking provides, so she went online and found the OC Hiking Club. Mona enjoys the group and says, "I have met so many nice people and have enjoyed the dog hikes especially." She works full-time managing a dental office. Mona and her husband and moved to Irvine in 1985 and have two grown children, two dogs and a cat. Her life is very busy but she still manages to do two to three hikes during the week and walk everyday during her lunch hour. She relates well to beginning hikers and the huge decision that goes into "hitting the trail!" and encourages people to get out and walk to find the peace and joy that she finds in nature.

OC Hiking Club Office — Contact us!

Michael — Office

Director of Development

Michael grew up in Minnesota, exploring the lakes and forests near his home. As an urban professional he escaped on weekends for camping and hiking, mostly in Minnesota's state parks. A forager and artist, Michael's pursuit is often wild berries, mushrooms or a sketch that may later become a painting. His favorite expedition is to the boundry waters, hiking the trails of the seventeenth century voyageurs. In addition to the OCHC Michael has worked for MI state Department of Economic Development and the Department of Human Services.

Alexa — Office

Administrative Support

Alexa was born and raised in southern California and has been participating in athletics and outdoor activities her entire life. After spending 15 years of her life as a dedicated soccer player, Alexa now prefers less competitive activities such as hiking and running. She has completed two half marathons over the past year and is currently training for a third. Alexa provides administrative support for OCHC and has a degree in Communication Studies from San Francisco State University. In her free time, Alexa enjoys spending time outdoors with her family.

Ashley — Office

Social Media Creator

Ashley has loved being outdoors since she was a little girl. From rock hunting expeditions with her dad to girl scout camping trips, she was rarely found indoors. She is vegan and has a strong connection with animals, and loves hikes that feature ample chances to view local wildlife. In addition to working on Social Media at OC Hiking Club, she works at a local nonprofit organization which serves seriously ill children and their families.

Tasha — Office

e-Shop Manager, office assistant

Tasha is a an avid walker inspired by the company of her Greyhounds. She is a graduate from Eastern Michigan University with Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Music, focusing on Violin Performance. A Michigan native, she moved to California and owns Miner Music Studio and teaches violin and viola and also coaches the Community Youth Orchestra of Southern California.

Completely devoted to her hounds, Tasha enjoys long, scenic walks, and romps with Kibeth and JoJo. Tasha volunteered for ReGAP (Rescued Greyhounds as Pets) of Michigan and continues to contribute to the greyhound cause. Inspired by her love for dogs, Tasha also runs a dog walking and pet sitting service Granted Wishes Pet Care and Portraits.

Tasha's favorite place to walk: Peters Canyon

Sarah Lopez — Administrative support

Administrative support

Sarah provides administrative support for OCHC and has an MBA (emphasis in Human Resources) from Keller Graduate School. Sarah and has lived in Orange County all her life and currently works as an HR Consultant. In her free time, she enjoys family time, helping the community and reading books.

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