The Summit of Mount Baldy

Yesterday Cioffi and I spent the day hiking Mount Baldy, a huge mountain range in the Angeles National Forrest just 20 mins from our loft in downtown LA. Parts of it looked like the moon. Parts of it looked like the east coast. It was lush with green pine trees but also had the rocky desert terrain that is characteristic of Palm Springs. The hike was about 5 hours from start to finish. The start was difficult but we talked about how all you have to do is give your body a couple of minutes to get used to what you want it to do, and then it’s got your back. And that was true. Halfway up and we felt solid. On the way down, we flew, we felt in control, we felt like we were gliding. We realized we did the way back in an hour without stopping – we hiked the first half and just started running for the second half. Our bodies sprung into action.

We approached the mountain in sub goals. We would see a tree or a rock 200-300 feet ahead, always in sight, and set that as the marker for our next stopping point. And we wouldn’t allow ourselves to stop until we had reached that goal. We were a team, helping each other along, checking in, hugging and high-fiving as we’d start each new ascent. It was a difficult hike – there were two major 400-foot climbs in which we had to use our hands to climb too because the angle was nearly vertical, and one major stretch where we were on the “devil’s backbone” meaning that on either side of us was a steep drop down the side of the mountain.

There were very few people on the mountain. A helicopter was on patrol to keep climbers safe.

At the 10,000 foot summit, we shared an avocado, and planted its seed in hopes that an avocado tree might grow. On the chairlift ride down the mountain, I read feminist literature while Cioffi sang a little.