“I’m going to climb three of Southern California’s highest peaks in 24 hours,” my friend exclaimed. I thought he was crazy; why would anyone want to hike 42 miles with a 14,000 foot elevation change? This is the 8,000 Meter Challenge, where people summit Mt. Baldy, Mt. San Gorgonio, and Mt. San Jacinto in one day.

When my friend returned from completing the challenge, he showed me photos of clouds billowing over the peaks as lightning struck from a distance. The views seemed incredible, and I wanted to find out for myself.

My first time summiting Mt. Baldy was one of the most tiring, yet rewarding experiences I have ever had. There was something so exhilarating about feeling like you’re on top of the world that I longed for more. I started hiking the other major peaks in California, and eventually began to travel around the world to discover new terrain and new challenges.

You can see more of Anna’s incredible photos on her Instagram account @Filipokie!