#SixPackofPeaks - Mount Baldy

As much as this is a post dedicated to climbing Mt. Baldy, it’s also about how sometimes life gets crazy - because we all know it can, right?

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As many of you know, since the time of my last post (I know, a long freaking time), I have accepted a new job, in a new town, and am living somewhere new as well. In short, my last job was not for me. I am a graphic designer and was working at a women’s swimwear retailer/manufacturer. Not only was I not under the management I wanted, I wasn't working in a healthy atmosphere.

There are so many campaigns out there these days, glorifying all body shapes and sizes and telling everyone, “you’re beautiful the way you are.” In women’s swimwear, there seems to be very few companies that actually walk the walk, in appreciating all body types. There was also a glorification of models, which I have never really agreed with. The same way I see actors & celebrities, I see models - they’re just people. I tend to think fairly highly of myself, so I was actually surprised the toll that it was taking on my pysche. In meetings, there would be talk about what models to use - sometimes for brand right purposes, but then there would always be opinions about how they looked or how big their thighs were. I needed out.

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I was very lucky to end up at an amazing retailer up in Santa Barbara where all my concerns were zapped away. Content, management, direction, literally everything was a turnaround towards a positive direction.

I will tell you that it took some time. I have nobody but my parents to thank to the moon for supporting my job search and kept nagging at me to be patient. I think that’s what made my jump so worth it - I took the time and found something I knew I would love.

So here we are! As of last week, I have completed the #SixPackofPeaks Challenge for 2017. I still want to share my individual climbs and photos with you all, so bear with me.

Mt. Baldy, or San Antonio, is such a popular hike. I have always heard about it, but had never actually climbed it or planned on climbing it until this challenge. My friend who hikes with me, Kevin, did the climb back in college. 

We started our climb at Manker Flats - up past the ski lift and to the lodge. It seems like a pretty cool place to take the lift up some day and grab a drink at the bar. If I wasn’t concerned about getting to the top, I probably would’ve had a beer. Another time (I hear there’s usually a Groupon too)!

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I think we learned by this hike to stop saying “Oh, I think we’ve got to be close,” because it never really seemed like we were close.

After hitting the lodge, the path up was incredibly steep. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such an incline. Maybe it looked worse as well, since it was very open and just, UP!

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A few of my favorite areas of this hike were the backbone and the openness just after where the trees made a nice frame.

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Closer to the top, the wind was gnarly! I ended up having to wrap my long sleeve t-shirt around my head just to save my ears from the wind. I was a sight!

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Luckily once you get to the top, they have built rock formations for you to sit in and get out of the wind to relax and eat your snacks. Kevin and I actually both took a little snooze in one of these formations before heading down through the Baldy Bowl.

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On our way down, we had a few people pass us, most noticeably a two men with two (beautiful) dogs. When we reached the hut (I think it’s just an emergency hut) we noticed one of the dogs pacing back and forth. Nobody around us seemed to think it was weird, but we didn’t like the looks and so we asked around and found out that the dog had been there, alone, for about 20 minutes.

Being animal lovers, we couldn't leave the pup so we tried to coax her down but she didn’t know if it was okay to trust us. After her howling and waiting down the trail, a group came up and a nice lady had cooked chicken. We used it to have her follow us until we finally ran into her owner. How sad! It was annoying to see someone just leave their dog behind on the trail for so long. I understood that she had been on the mountain before, but she was clearly distressed and nobody else around us seemed to care.

Lesson: take care of your animals!

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The rest of the hike down was a breeze. It was nice to have a loop trail for different scenery. We headed home to relax and plan Peak #4.

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After the hike, I always post my hikes on social media, to join the community and talk with others and because it is an accomplishment I love to share! When I posted a photo of myself at the top of Baldy, I was surprised to get a comment from someone who saw me about how I didn’t look too happy on the way up.

This bothered me probably more than it should. Yes, climbing a mountain isn’t easy. No, I don’t show photos of me distressed or in the middle of a climb. I struggle too, but why comment about that? We’re all happy to make it to the top of anything - a hill, a mountain, whatever it is - and we should be applauding others, knowing that it may have been a struggle or not!

Back to the judgement of others from work to the outdoors. We’re all out here, doing us, and doing our best to achieve what we wish to achieve. Our bodies are just that, our bodies. Social media is usually the best of our worlds, and I think that is a known fact. There is no room for judgement on what people decide to post or share - achievement or struggle. We’re all human.

Stay tuned for my thoughts on San Bernardino - yikes! Thank you for staying with me through life and change.