Bravo braves Mt. Whitney


Pauline Villegas, A&E Editor

DBHS Brahmas reached new heights at the beginning of the school year when chemistry teacher Jennifer Bravo hiked to the top of Mt. Whitney. Looking for a new challenge, Bravo decided to climb to the highest summit in the contiguous United States.

When a friend of Bravo’s asked her if she would be interested in climbing the 4,193 foot summit, she decided it was the perfect feat for her.

“I’m always looking for a unique challenge or opportunity,” Bravo said, “and this one had such beautiful sceneries.”

Bravo was exposed to hiking at an early age. While she was growing up she took frequent family camping trips to the High Sierras. Nowadays, she enjoys taking her family hiking at places like Mammoth and Yosemite for some family bonding time.

In preparation for the challenge, her running group hiked smaller mountain ranges such as Mt. Baldy, Mt. San Jacinto, and San Bernardino Peak.

“Although they weren’t as tall, San Bernardino Peak was 17 miles. So it was more about getting used to the time on your feet,” Bravo said. The overall hike at Mt. Whitney takes an average of seven hours to complete.

Despite the fact that she is already an avid runner and experienced marathoner, Bravo had to get used to the high altitude and build the endurance it took to reach the top. In addition, she also had to carry her own water, which reached a weight of up to four liters.

One of her friends had experience hiking Mt. Whitney, so she was able to help Bravo with her training and preparation.

They began the hike at 2:30 a.m., and the entire group was in awe of watching the sun rise over the mountains.

Although it was a life changing experience, Bravo missed the first four days of school to hike Mt. Whitney. When you apply for a permit to hike the summit, your name goes through a lottery system that decides what date and time you are able to hike. Bravo was not in charge of the permit, so she had no control over the dates.

When she found out last spring, she immediately talked to the school’s administration about it.

“They were very supportive of my decision. I was really lucky in that aspect,” Bravo said. She was able to come in before the school year began to get her class set up and prepared for the substitutes.

Overall, Bravo believed the experience was remarkable and she would consider doing it again.

“I was really lucky that I had such great students and great substitutes that the school was able to provide. The year started off really smoothly,” Bravo said.