SARH staff takes hiking and wellness to new heights

When Frances Mary Paul, the founding donor for San Antonio Regional Hospital made the decision to name the institution “San Antonio Community Hospital” instead of “Paul Memorial Hospital” in honor her late husband, Colonel James Paul, she was intentional in her decision to highlight the local peak, Mt. San Antonio—also known as Mt. Baldy.

On Saturday, August 15, over 90 hospital staff, family, friends, and volunteers descended on the upper reaches of the mountain to bring recognition to the hospital’s namesake.

The Mt. San Antonio hike also fulfilled an employee wellness goal. “We have had a twice a week hiking program in place for several months for our employees,” shared Jennifer Liddell, a physical therapist and coordinator for the hospital’s 4URHealth employee wellness program. “We wanted a lofty goal, no pun intended, that required training, but also a goal that people could work up to and reach. I think the participants feel really good about what they have achieved.”

The hike on August 15 had several options for participants with different abilities and experience levels.  The beginner’s hike allowed virtually any interested employees or friends of the hospital to take the ski chairlift from the parking lot at Mt. Baldy Ski Area to the Top of the Notch Restaurant. From there they could walk around the area at their own pace. 

An intermediate hike was available for those that wanted to get in a good workout by hiking from Manker Flats to the Top of the Notch, via the San Antonio Falls service road. 

About 25 people participated in this option. Those who had trained and completed qualifying hikes had the opportunity to be part of the “Ascent Team,” the group that hiked to the summit. “Twenty-one people participated in the hike to the top,” said Molly Scully, San Antonio Cardiac Services Coordinator and the hiking leader for the group.

“Some of us, including our President and CEO Harris Koenig, hiked from the ski lift parking lot all the way to the top, about 3700 vertical feet. That portion took us about two and one-half hours. It was clear and beautiful at the peak, and we were treated to amazing views of the valley.  Everyone really enjoyed the experience, and we were able to get back down in time for lunch.”

In addition to San Antonio staff, participants in the hike included hospital supporters such as Tom Ritchie, an experienced mountaineer, Ontario attorney, and Chairman of the hospital’s Board of Trustees who shared, “I was a little concerned that it might be a bit warm since it was the hottest day of the year, but everything worked out fine and we were able to unroll the banner, take photos, hydrate and snack, and get back down to the Top of the Notch before it became uncomfortable.  It was a great event in honor of the namesake for the hospital and I congratulate Molly, Jennifer, and the rest of the staff for doing a great job of organizing the event.”

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