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 (2)

Etiwanda and Cucamonga Peaks via Icehouse Canyon

Icehouse Canyon Trailhead

• What we'll do Note: Advanced Hike. You will go on a waiting list until you provide your recent hiking history and assure me you can safely complete a potentially hot and strenuous (yet beautiful!) 8 hour day hike. Precipitation/Hazardous hiking conditions/Excessive Heat/Fires in Area/Revolution/Apocalypse Cancels! HIKE STATS Time: Arrive by 6AM, hike by 6:10 AM Level: Advanced Miles: ~14 miles round trip Gain: ~4000' Pace: ~2-2.5 mph with short breaks, 8 hours on trail Peaks: Etiwanda (8662'), Cucamonga (8859') DESCRIPTION This is a great training hike for the Sierras or (hint) Havasupai. It involves nearly continuous elevation gain, heat and copious water consumption. Because of various trail junctions and the multitude of possibilities, I prefer that the group to stick together. If you are struggling to keep up with the group by the time we reach Icehouse Saddle (3.5 miles in with some gain) you will be sent back to the Icehouse Canyon parking area. The hike begins at the trailhead to Icehouse Canyon (due east of Baldy Village). From the trail head, we follow a well-marked path through the shady lazy canyon to Icehouse Saddle, where we will take a quick break and then head out to Etiwanda Peak, then Cucamonga and back home in time for dinner. PARKING Parking at the Icehouse Canyon trail head is limited and a CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE PASS IS REQUIRED. Because Icehouse Canyon is a absurdly popular on holidays, the lot typically fills by 7 AM, in which case roadside parking can be found along Mt. Baldy Road. Restrooms are available at the trail head. WHAT TO BRING 10 hiking Essentials (http://www.meetup.com/HikingOC/messages/boards/thread/9535234). Prepare for cold windy ridges and hot dusty trails and ALWAYS have enough in your pack to survive the night if necessary.; sturdy hiking shoes or trail runners; at least 3 liters of water, electrolytes, salty snacks, sweet snacks, and lunch; trekking poles recommended; hat and sunscreen; long pants are recommended due to brush along some sections. DIRECTIONS Take the 210fwy to the Baseline exit. Take Baseline west for half a block, turning right onto Padua Ave. Head north and turn right on Mt. Baldy Rd, following for about 10 miles to the Baldy Village. Follow Mt. Baldy Rd for another four miles. At this point, Baldy Road will turn abruptly left and begin ascending steeply (there is a modern condominium complex at the corner). DO NOT TURN LEFT. Instead continue straight approximately 100 yards to the Icehouse Canyon trail head. Please read this entire description carefully and do NOT sign up unless you are prepared for the distance, gain, difficulty and pace. • 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 Adventure Pass required for Icehouse Parking lot. If you cannot make it, please take a moment to change your RSVP. No shows will be flagged. If you don't have an Adventure Pass or Park Pass, you will risk getting a Forest Service parking ticket at this location. • 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

Classic Dayhikes of Yosemite! Memorial Day Weather without the Crowd

• What we'll do Avoid Memorial Day crowds, not Memorial Day weather! Hard Hikes without the hoards! Or just hang around Curry Village and eat and do little hikes on your own. These day hikes are open to hikers with required level of fitness, but all are optional. Join us for as much as you like or just do your own thing (easier and more moderate hikes abound) and join us for campfire chats and ice cream. Note: Because these are Intermediate/Advanced Dayhikes, you will go on a waiting list until you provide your recent hiking history and assure me you can safely complete one or two of these fairly strenuous dayhikes. I hope to limit the group size to a baker's dozen or less, but plan to keep a waitlist in case of no shows and cancellations. Note further: I scored a reservation at the Upper Pines Campground for the nights of May 29 and 30 for up to six people and two cars. I am willing to share with 4-5 others at a cost of $15pp. You may, of course, find your own lodging and join these spectacular dayhikes. Major Fire, Temper Tantrum by chimp in chief resulting in government shutdown, Apocalypse Cancels! Two days before every park day, I'll enter the lottery to try to get permits for Half Dome provided the trail is open (ice and snow there may last into June this year). Every day there are cancellations and no shows and more than 50 permits are available for the daily lottery. If I can get some permits for Half Dome, one of the day hikes will change to this classic long hike and I will ask strong and willing participants to chip in for permit costs. Otherwise: Day 1 (Wednesday, May 29, 9am): Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls via Mist Trail: Distance: 7 miles, round trip with orgasmic views Elevation Gain/Loss: 1,900 waterfall infested feet Difficulty: Strenuous Trailhead Coordinates:[masked],[masked] Intermediate and advanced hikers only. Day 2 (Thursday, May 30, 8am): Rest Day/Tourism OR Yosemite Falls Trail to Yosemite Point. You must be in EXCELLENT shape to join this 8.4 mile trek to the top of the continent's highest waterfall and then to the high point of Yosemite's North Rim. Elevation Gain: 2,600 feet Difficulty: Strenuous Trailhead Coordinates:[masked],[masked] Intermediate and advanced hikers only. Day 3 (Friday, May 31, 9am): Rest Day and eat Ice Cream at Curry Village (Yes I'll always call it that) OR for those who are truly insane probably a self guided hike up The Four Mile Trail. Hint, the name is kind of a lie but you are welcome to turn back after only four miles. If you get to the top, you will be rewarded with great views and a shuttle ride back down. Distance: 9.6 miles, round trip Elevation Gain: 3,200 feet Difficulty: Strenuous Trailhead Coordinates:[masked],[masked] Any of these can be replaced by Half Dome if I can get permits. This hike is available to very strong hikers who are not terribly nervous about heights and exposure (as I was when I last climbed this beauty more than 25 years ago): Distance: 15.35 miles, round trip Elevation Gain: 4,800 feet Difficulty: Strenuous Trailhead Coordinates:[masked],[masked] Day 3-4: Drive home and rejoin your humdrum life, which will never be the same after these spectacular hikes. Traffic will be going the other way. You have successfully avoided the hoards. • What to bring Good solid hiking footwear, Good grippy footwear for Half Dome, water, sunscreen, hat, sunscreen, trekking poles if you use them (recommended due to extreme amounts of downhill), ten essentials, extra calories, ability to survive the night, stuff for camping if you want to join me at the campsite or reservations for lodging if not, potluck items for campfires, cash for ice cream! • Important to know STANDARD DISCLAIMER OF LIABILITY: By joining on these hikes, 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 • Yosemite!

Past events (306)

Rainy day hike: Pasao Miramar to Eagle Rock

Pasao Miramar Trailhead

Photos (2,939)