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 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 (1)

Election Year book hike #∞: Cat's Cradle from Dante's View

Merry Go Round Lot Two

Note: Sunset at 4:51pm. Date may shift. This is just a notice to start reading. This is the end of election year. There is no sweep. No safety net whatsoever. Red flag conditions, angry people roaming the cities with guns, significant blood in the streets, open war, pandemics, national emergencies, or rain may cancel. Fires, big fires, may alter your plans. • What we'll do This is a book hike. There are four rules pasted below. Please join only if you can acknowledge you have read the book and can hike to this magical spot to share your thoughts on the work. The election is over. We have 2021 to look forward to. Did your particular religion survive election year, USA? What could be more appropriate than Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle. Maybe in our very near future, we find that we have “no damn cat, and no damn cradle.” So what do we have? Where do we go now? What could be more fun in contemplation of such wondrous calypsos than a fresh reading of our brilliant and recently deceased contemporary American Voltaire as captain while we again set sail into a new era on this ship o’ fools called Amer’ka. Let's have a laugh and raise a toast to our dearly departed, a salute to the end of the world. And we go out laughing. The hike is an intermediate uphill climb on fire road and single track trail on a spectacular ridge from Griffith Park’s Merry-go-round parking lot 2 to Dante’s View, where we can discuss the book for 1.5 hours over snacks. Total gain ~1200 feet of gain and 5ish miles. Bring a potluck item to share and a headlamp as you may need to help illuminate. Sunset 8:09pm. We will return with ambient light (lots in this urban oasis), so you may wish to bring a headlamp along with your notes on the reading and snack to share. Lithiker house rules: 1. Read the book. Please do not join unless you've read at least 80% of the book. 2. Hike happily with others who read the same book. Please do not join unless you can hike at least a few miles at a moderate pace 2mph) and transport yourself safely home. 3. Enjoy lovely snacks and talk about the book in some beautiful place as the sun sets. Bring something to share. In winter months, please bring warm clothes and be prepared to sit and talk for an hour or more. 4. Enjoy the intellectual stimulation and free exchange of ideas sparked by your lovely fellow lithikers and feel inspired by the natural beauty of our lovely Southern California landscapes. • What to bring water, hat, appropriate hiking footwear and attire, knowledge of and ideas about the work, snack to share, headlamp or flashlight for night hikes, jacket. A really awesome snack would be appreciated. Rain will move it indoors. • Important to know 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. Hiking and reading are risky activities that may get you killed during times of strife. You alone are responsible for yourself. http://www.meetup.com/terms

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