Mt Baldy Getaway
It's all too easy for work to dominate one's life. I spent almost the entire month of January wrestling with persistent computer issues, as I kept writing and editing several projects. For the first time in months, I didn't have a single day of shooting. I realize that it's essential for mental health to pace oneself physically, but between persistent rain and the temporary closure of my local pool I found myself doing little more than working at my desk then trying to squeeze in a daily bike ride. I knew I had slipped when the clerk at the gym wondered if I had been out of town. The scale doesn't lie. Thanks to holiday overindulgence, I'm five pounds heavier than I was in October, not a big gain, but still a trend that has to be reversed.
I desperately needed a breather.
Last weekend, I found one a world away in the Alpine reaches of Mt. Baldy. The peak is officially named Mount San Antonio. At 10,068 feet it's the highest point in Los Angeles County, higher than the apexes of 37 states. For my entire first year in LA it barely rained so I never saw it through the smog. The first day I did the vista was stunning. With the air cleansed by rain, a gleam of white snow blanketed Baldy, dominating the entire skyline of Los Angeles.
The mountain is the site of the closest skiing to the city, a mere 95 minutes from my Venice Beach home. The first lifts opened in the early fifties, and the place is still family run with a friendly, unpretentious staff. The notch bar is 7800 feet above sea level, but is called the Mt. Baldy Yacht Club. With steep terrain and south facing slopes, the snow doesn't last as long as it does on the north side of the range.
photo by Robert F. Landau
For two days the conditions were hard to top. With temperatures hovering just above freezing, there was a solid base of forgiving snow. Sun beamed down until clouds sneaked up the canyons to blanket the mountain late afternoon. I stayed at the Sierra Club's Harwood Lodge, a congenial setting where the conversation is always stimulating.
After a weekend of focusing on carving turns and exploring new runs, I headed back down the mountain to take up my life refreshed and renewed, hoping to squeeze in another day on the hill soon. Spring does come early to LA. Some trees are already in bloom.Anti-Aging Diary c. 2010 Checkmate Pictures - Paul M. J. Suchecki, Editor