After a vigorous hike led by Trailmaster John McKinney, USC Students unfurl school colors atop Echo Mountain

“Fight on, fight on, fight on…”

Students from the University of Southern California recently tested out the echo on Echo Mountain and were impressed by the sound emanating across Rubio Canyon in the San Gabriel Mountains.

I was impressed by the 20 USC students and advisors I led on a recent hike from the trailhead in Altadena to the top of the historic mountain. What a bright, interesting group! And the fittest and fastest group I’ve led in a very long time.

The Trojans were high achievers all, many with double majors and ultra-tough academic regimens, so it’s a good thing the university has a fun club called Adventure LEAD that encourages SC students to get outdoors now and then. As a USC alum, I was very proud of these young men and women.

The students enjoyed visiting the ruins of a remarkable incline railway and trolley system built in the 1890s along with a resort complex atop Mt. Lowe. They admired the fine panoramic views of the Los Angeles megalopolis from the steps of the old Echo Mountain House.

Way back when I was a student, I helped co-found the USC Hiking Club. As I led today’s Trojans up the wonderful, hand-built Sam Merrill Trail, I recalled that I had led the USC Hiking Club up to Echo Mountain more than three decades ago. And here I was again, enjoying a hike with college students, but now about the age of their parents.

I was glad to see that some things don’t change over time: Same great trail, same great view, same great experience with lively college students.

And the same great echo when you shout from Echo Mountain:

“Hike on, hike on, hike, hike on…”