I celebrated my four year hiking anniversary by heading back to the San Gabriel Mountains and Mount Islip. It was over a year ago when I first tried to summit Islap and it was the one time I truly chickened out on a trail, quitting just before reaching the peak because I couldn’t handle the steep drop-offs. I psyched myself up this time around by studying fear management techniques. I was going to conquer Islip, stand triumphant at the top and finally redeem myself. But a funny thing happened, I didn’t find the trail nearly as scary this time around. I almost felt cheated. I’ve tackled scarier trails than this since my first go round, such as the recently hiked Strawberry Peak and Chapman Trail, so that helped. I thought to myself several times, “This is it? This is what I was so scared of?” I still had a great day and getting to the explore the top of Mount Islap was a treat. Here’s to four fantastic years of hiking!