Adventure Close to Home: Mixing it Up with Eileen Ringwald in Southern California
Posted On: Friday, September 07, 2012 - Chaconians
My life as a Chaco Ambassador isn't always about just one sport. Sometimes it isn't even about a sport at all, it's about adventure and just plain fun. This past weekend was a great mix of all of the above for me.
Friday I went out for an early half day of climbing with my husband and a friend at Malibu Creek State Park. We went early to beat the heat and were lucky enough to have the rocks mostly to ourselves. We left the park in the afternoon so that I could drive further south in time to meet Su, my old friend and former roommate, for a sushi dinner. I used to hike with Su and have also taken her out climbing before. We both love sushi and it had been a long time since I'd had any so she had picked a fun place in LA with a great happy hour rate. This was also our pre-hike dinner because I was going to spend the night at Su's place in anticipation of getting an early start on the hike to the summit of Mt. Baldy (aka Mt. San Antonio), the highest point in Los Angeles County (10,064 feet). Su's been doing this hike regularly to train first for Mt. Whitney and now for an upcoming backpack trip she is going on. I thought I'd go along with her for fun and photography since I'd never done the hike.
Saturday morning came pretty early considering the sushi and socializing on Friday night, but we still got to the trail head by 8:30am. The hike was fantastic and full of surprises. We hiked on a fire road, a ski run, switchbacks with steep drop offs, and on crumbly talus. I even found a boulder to climb on the way down. We saw a ski lodge, a waterfall, intriguing twisted pines, white gnarled branches, great views, a small Sierra club hut, and many fellow hikers on a day with mostly hot but still nice hiking weather. We also saw, I'm happy to report, the summit of Mt. Baldy! It was exhilarating to see a panoramic view of Southern California. You could see mountain, desert, and even (if you squinted) beach environments.
After the 10.33 mile hike with about 3,950 elevation gain (not counting the boulder problem, hehe) I was quite happy to slip on my Chaco Flip Pros and buy a cold soda from a mountain bar on the way down. We ended up eating dinner at The Hat, a place known for pastrami sandwiches and large portions. Back at Su's place we did facials and caught up with her sister who was also visiting. We had talked about going to karaoke but didn't realize how late it had gotten so decided to leave that for next time.
Sunday as I drove home I reflected on the weekend, I got to climb, to catch up with an old friend, eat at two new places, hike a new hike, and try a new beauty treatment. To me all of that was an adventure, one that I didn't even have to fly off to a distant land to do, adventure and a pair of Chacos, you can't beat that!
About Chaco Ambassador Team member EILEEN RINGWALD: Born and raised in Southern California, Eileen spent many of her summers on family camping trips scrambling on trails and rocks and growing her love of nature. She took this love of adventure and formed Rockgrrl.com, a climbing and outdoor community. She is also the organizational force behind the annual Joshua Tree National Park rock-climbing meet up. Eileen’s photography can be seen at photography.eileenringwald.com.