If you’re part of the Los Angeles hiking community, you’re probably familiar with legendary Sam Kim. He was known to many on the LA trails, mostly for climbing Mt. Baldy, the highest peak in the city, 800 times. It has been said that he’s even climbed Baldy every day for 100 days straight.
Many knew Sam as a friendly figure on the trails, always offering food and advice, and often taking selfies.
Sadly, he passed away last April while he was on the mountain and was unable to fulfill his dream was to summit Mt. Baldy 1,000 times.
So when the LA hiking community learned of his passing, they took it upon themselves to make Sam’s dream come true, symbolically.
The 3H, Hiking for Health and Happiness group and other LA hiking groups organized a memorial hike on Saturday, May 20,2017 to celebrate Sam’s life and to make his dream a reality. They needed at least 200 hikers to make it happen.
And to no surprise, over 200 hikers came to make the dream come true. In addition, Sam’s sons, Kenneth and David, and his grandsons, Tyler and Brandon, were also part of the celebration.
I am so happy that I was able to be a part of it! As an avid hiker and part of the 3H hiking group, I knew this was something that I couldn’t miss. I am so lucky to say that I met Sam as I was descending Mt. Baldy on the Ski Hut trail two years ago.
He saw me struggling on the way down and showed me how to use my hiking polls and what to do with my knees so that I wouldn’t slide down the trail. It was a brief meeting, but in that moment, he changed how I hiked downhill forever.
Many others that I met today had similar stories on their encounters with Sam.
So today, we honored his memory and did what he loved to do the most – climb Mt. Baldy.
We wore white ribbons that said “Live Like Sam” and wrote notes to be sent to his family.
Upon reaching the summit, we had a moment of silence and some said a few words about how they met and knew him. There were prayers said and songs sung. It was a beautiful ceremony that honored Sam’s life and the way he touched each of us in the LA hiking community, whether we knew him, met him or knew of him.
That day, it felt like he was with us at the top of his favorite peak. His spirit will always live among us and we will remember him always, every step of the way.