What we're about

Welcome to CHAT, a new hiking group featuring fun and educational events, mostly 6-12 mile hikes with some sweat, fun, and social interaction. Hiking cures most modern ills and hiking with a group of cool folks is a great way to introduce yourself to wonderful places and chat with interesting people.

For group hikes, you will be asked to leave your dogs and your tunes at home and bring your hiking gear, weather appropriate attire, water, wit and bubbly personality. We tend to emphasize a leave no trace approach with regard to our spectacular wilderness areas and a self-improvement and engagement approach with regard to our friends, neighbors, and communities. Topanga is the base because many of the hikes will be within a 30-mile radius of Topanga Canyon, but we will post events all over the Southern California area and some in other locations. In the past year, we have hosted events in the Santa Monica Mountains, Simi hills, California beaches, Havasupai, European cities, the Sierra Nevadas, the San Gabriel Mountains, and other places where beauty awaits. Hikes will generally be identified by their level and participants must know their ability level.

Beginner: less than 6 miles and 1000 feet of gain. These are suitable for most able bodied adults without serious medical conditions, provided they arrive prepared and with proper footwear (lug soled boots are preferred but sturdy athletic shoes can do in a pinch), bring water and have some level of conditioning before you sign up.

Intermediate: 6-12 miles typically with 1000-2500 feet of gain. These hikes are open to participants with hiking experience and/or a pretty good level of fitness and actual hiking gear (boots, area and condition-appropriate attire, a backpack with water and the ten essentials). Many meetup hikers overestimate their ability so please do not sign up for an intermediate hike unless you have actually hiked more than 6 miles with significant gain in the recent past.

Advanced: over 12 miles and/or more than 2500 feet of gain or in a place involving ice, snow, scrambling, or challenging conditions. We will screen participants for these hikes and generally not permit people to join unless we know their ability. This is to protect the group and create a safe and fun event for everyone.

Aside from hiking, which breathes life into our souls and joy into our hearts, we will post some hosted and non-hosted events that highlight some of the great literary, educational, science, music and arts events that can elevate us as humans and give us something interesting to chat about. We are most interested in ideas and Dave has hosted those literary hikes you’ve seen in other groups over the past five years, so you will see some of those as well as opportunities for progressive political activism, thoughtful entertainment, museums, concerts, and generally good discussion in a peaceful and/or stimulating setting. We may well invite interested folks to join in the occasional protest and/or mockery of the political climate or specific political events, thus we shall not attempt to remain apolitical in this dark time. While generally interested in progressive and thoughtful engagement, we will not promote screechy preachy political correctness, identify politics, or other divisive, religious or emotion-driven artifacts of or reactions to reptile brain marketing. If any of this talk bugs you, please consider joining one of the gazillion apolitical hiking meetup groups instead. We think a lack of political awareness, critical thinking, common sense boundaries and social behaviors have resulted in significant damage to our environment, psyche and cultural life. We hope to foster a community of progressive thinkers and doers who love and want to protect the wilderness as well as fundamental rights of beings.

Mostly, we want to provide a platform for earnest and forward thinking folks to meet, engage, have fun, and CHAT, preferably outdoors. With most social media platforms, it seems we rarely meet and engage and chat, but spend our energies shouting past one another or sparring for dominance in a sea of self-absorption. Meetup provides us with a grand opportunity to come together and engage the world through common interests. With a hike and a chat, I believe we can step outside of ourselves and often cure the desire to shout, consume, win, fear, hate, or disengage. And it’s very often free! What could be better that that!?

While the goal is to provide a friendly and supportive environment for those interested in engaging with nature and their fellow humans, many of the events will be hosted in wilderness areas so there are three basic rules that boil down to creating a safe and fun experience for all participants:

1. No fakes. You must post a recognizable photo of your face. Those with photos of trees, flowers, mountains, pets, or with group photos will be asked to instead upload a clear photo of their face that someone—say a Search and Rescue member or trail angel—might use to locate and/or identify you in some place like a canyon or wilderness area. Members joining with ambiguous, inappropriate or fake photos will be removed from the group.

2. No flakes. In wilderness areas, flakiness can amplify risks and result in costs to the entire group. If you have two or more no shows (failure to simply change your RSVP before a hosted event) you will be removed from the group. If you harass, threaten, or intimidate anyone during or after a group event you will be removed from the group. If you regularly break local rules, create risks, or have an unnecessarily high impact on the environment or quality of other group members’ experience you will be removed from the group. If you keep showing up for unprepared for significant hikes (don’t have hiking shoes, didn’t read the description, don’t have water, etc.), you will be removed from the group. Of course, you can always rejoin the group once you can behave responsibly in a group setting and manage yourself in areas that can sometimes pose risks.

3. No folks on the make. The standard meetup disclaimer applies to all events and activities. That is are YOU are responsible for your own safety and well-being and you are not going to sue anybody if you fall down and get a booboo. Participants under 18 must be accompanied by a responsible parent or guardian. We must be able trust one other to show up for the intended purpose of the event or this simply won’t work. We want to form a community of responsible individuals who lift each other up and help one another avoid parasites when possible.

That’s it! If you are a thoughtful soul and wish to engage in a positive and meaningful way while doing something fun and possibly healthy, if you want to be part of a community that values and shares the beautiful corners of our world and culture, or if you want to have fun and encounter some amazing thoughtful forward looking people, please come along and enjoy a CHAT with your fellow travelers.

Upcoming events (5+)

Los Liones to Eagle Rock (via PMO): 17 miles, 1200' gain

Los Leones Canyon Trailhead

• What we'll do Note: Advanced Hike (because of the distance only, it's all on good trail and fire road). You will go on a waiting list until you tell me that you have gone on a longer hike recently and can move uphill at 2.5 mph or faster. Heavy precipitation/Excessive Heat/Fires in Area/Revolution/Apocalypse Cancels! Note: co-listed with Los Angeles Hiking Meetup; expect n*pi hikers. I'll be hiking at a moderate (2.5 mph) pace, just enough for an aerobic workout at times as ascend the Los Leones trail from Los Liones Canyon to the big wide fire road that leads up to Parker Mesa Overlook, one of the happiest, snackiest, most scenic spots in the Santa Monica Mountains. But that's not all! Those who desire may join me as I continue on to Eagle Rock at a slightly slower pace. Those of you who have had enough may return the way we came instead of continuing on the awesome ocean and canyon view infested trek to the summertime home of The Eagles (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FN8aa-xuHu8) in time for lunch. We will return the same way, but it will be even MORE beautiful on the route back just because it always is. This hike is fantastic in all the typical weather extremes we get in So Cal (from full sun to having to use "intermittent" on your wipers) and your feet will thank you at around 3:15 in the afternoon. This is NOT a beginner hike and those who cannot keep up with the group to PMO will be sent back to the trailhead on their own. • What to bring Good solid hiking footwear, 2-3 liters of water, hat, sunscreen, wind layer, well broken in hiking clothes, a smile, snacks and lunch for the rock, and at least 6 of the 10 essentials. • Important to know STANDARD DISCLAIMER OF LIABILITY: By joining on this hike, you agree to assume all risks of this hike, and that no one at Meetup including the organizer is responsible for your safety. See the Meetup terms of service: http://www.meetup.com/terms No shows will be flagged and banned from my future hikes•

Topanga Tuesday! Conditioning hikes

Trippet Ranch

• What we'll do This is a conditioning hike and the group moves at 2.75mph with one or two short stops for water. There is no sweep and CHAT seeks to leave no trace. Rain/Excessive Heat/Fires in Area/Revolution/Apocalypse/Organizer whim Cancels!• I'll be hiking at a moderately fast [masked] mph) pace, enough for an aerobic workout at times as we ramble through the certain slant of light in late afternoon for 6-8 miles with[masked]' of gain. The goal is to spend the golden hours in a beautiful place while conditioning and get back to the start point before it's very dark out. Tonight's hike: Trippet Ranch to Parker Mesa Overlook. 6.5 miles, 1250' gain at a fast pace. This spectacular ocean view out and back hike is on fire road and wide trail. Short snack stop at PMO. Return by 5:25 when it's getting pretty dark. • What to bring Good grippy hiking footwear, one liter of water, fashion appropriate for the place and weather, headlamp or flashlight, wind layer, brush resistant pants, a smile, snacks and at least 8 of the 10 essentials. • Important to know STANDARD DISCLAIMER OF LIABILITY: By joining on this hike, you agree to assume all risks of this hike, and that no one at Meetup including the organizer is responsible for your safety. See the Meetup terms of service: http://www.meetup.com/terms No shows will be flagged and banned from my future hikes•

RESCHEDULED: Echo Mtn to Muir Peak/Inspiration Point! 12-mile, >2900' total gain

• What we'll do Note: Advanced Hike. You will go on a waiting list until you tell me that you have gone on a longer hike recently and can move uphill at 2.5 mph or faster. Precipitation/Hazardous hiking conditions/Excessive Heat/Fires in Area/Revolution/Apocalypse Cancels! Note: co-listed with Los Angeles Hiking Meetup; expect n*pi hikers. I'll be hiking at a moderate (2.5 mph) pace, just enough for an aerobic workout at times as ascend the Sam Merrill trail to the historic railway and resort site at Echo Mountain, and up Castle Canyon to Inspiration Point, and then on to Muir Peak. We will return via the Middle Merrill trail for nearly 12 miles round trip, and very probably 2900 feet of gain. There is a pretty detailed description at https://socalhiker.net/inspiration-point-and-muir-peak/. This is NOT a beginner hike and those who cannot keep up with the group to Echo Mountain will be sent back to the trailhead on their own. • What to bring Good solid hiking footwear, 2-3 liters of water, hat, sunscreen, wind layer, brush resistant fashion sense, a smile, snacks and lunch for the top, and at least 9 of the 10 essentials. • Important to know STANDARD DISCLAIMER OF LIABILITY: By joining on this hike, you agree to assume all risks of this hike, and that no one at Meetup including the organizer is responsible for your safety. See the Meetup terms of service: http://www.meetup.com/terms No shows will be flagged and banned from my future hikes•

Topanga Tuesday! Conditioning hikes

Trippet Ranch

• What we'll do This is a conditioning hike and the group moves at 2.75mph with one or two short stops for water. There is no sweep and CHAT seeks to leave no trace. Rain/Excessive Heat/Fires in Area/Revolution/Apocalypse/Organizer whim Cancels!• I'll be hiking at a moderately fast [masked] mph) pace, enough for an aerobic workout at times as we ramble through the certain slant of light in late afternoon for 6-8 miles with[masked]' of gain. The goal is to spend the golden hours in a beautiful place while conditioning and get back to the start point before it's very dark out. Tonight's hike: Trippet Ranch to Parker Mesa Overlook. 6.5 miles, 1250' gain at a fast pace. This spectacular ocean view out and back hike is on fire road and wide trail. Short snack stop at PMO. Return by 5:25 when it's getting pretty dark. • What to bring Good grippy hiking footwear, one liter of water, fashion appropriate for the place and weather, headlamp or flashlight, wind layer, brush resistant pants, a smile, snacks and at least 8 of the 10 essentials. • Important to know STANDARD DISCLAIMER OF LIABILITY: By joining on this hike, you agree to assume all risks of this hike, and that no one at Meetup including the organizer is responsible for your safety. See the Meetup terms of service: http://www.meetup.com/terms No shows will be flagged and banned from my future hikes•

Past events (280)

Photos (2,619)