Category Archives: Outdoor Adventure

Spring Awakening

Bears do it.  So do ground squirrels and marsupials.  Even the western diamondback rattler makes a habit of it.

Hibernating, that is.

And apparently, so do I.

(I, however, was buried in the madness of moving, working, and studying — not the earthy hollow of a winter’s den.)

But now that the Southern California sun seems to have eclipsed the cloudy skies and cold rains, I figured that the arrival of March meant it was high time for me to emerge and pick up my Local Gypsy adventures where I last left them.

And I could think of no more appropriate way to mark this rebirth than by a daytime frolic in the Santa Monica Mountains, with vivacious friends and an abundance of wine.

Did I mention wine?

While Malibu’s wineries may not revel in the international acclaim of Napa Valley or Hollywood’s halo illuminating Santa Barbara (think Sideways), its Los Angeles County terroirs are blessed with microclimate conditions conducive to quality cultivation of this sacred vine.

So, on an unseasonably warm and sunny Saturday afternoon, three lovely ladies who define spectacular — Courtney, Naz and Stephanie — and I piled into my road trip-hungry Subaru Outback.  We headed north up the PCH to take in the sparkling Pacific Ocean and soak up some local sacrament.

Welcome to Malibu

After thirty or so profoundly colorful minutes trading stories of our latest love interests and dating debacles, professional pursuits and international journeys, we made the strategic call to preemptively fill our bellies with something other than sulfites.  We pulled over at Coogie’s Beach Café and ordered a peculiarly random assortment of dishes, including an artichoke and brilliantly crisped sweet potato fries.

And while each of the four of us was equally eager to begin the bacchanalia, trust me when I say that, collectively, we have a magnificent ability to talk…and laugh…and eat…and talk…and laugh…

Before we knew it, 4:45 p.m. had arrived.  And the last tasting at Malibu Wines was scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

We raced out into what was now a much cooler late afternoon, screeched out of the parking lot and wound our way up Kanan Dume Road until we hit Mulholland, and eventually Malibu Wines — just as the sun was sinking behind the harvested hills.

Let the Tasting Begin...

Harvested Hillsides

I was surprised at how spacious the winery’s tasting grounds were, dotted with ample tables, fountains, as well as vintage wagons, cars and a watertower.

Vintage Beauty

And Another...

Shivering as I surveyed the entirely outdoor setting, I vowed to come back another day at an earlier hour to take full advantage of a long lazy and wine-hazy day.

The Wine Well

In the meantime, there was just one way to warm up.

To Life!

My Kind of Menu

Friendly, fetching staff assisted us as we blazed through the eight Saddlerock and Semler selections.

The Man Behind the Bar

Several so-so white and red varietals were followed by three particularly luscious Cabernets, which made us very happy.

Happy Us

Especially Courtney.

Courtney 🙂

And as the sky darkened and the grounds’ lights began to glow, I knew that spring had finally sprung — vibrantly.

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Filed under Food, Life, Los Angeles, Outdoor Adventure

An Enlightening Addiction

I’m not what you’d call an addictive personality.

I can cork a bottle after savoring a glass or two of pinot noir.  I’ve been known to keep a bag of caramel-filled Dove chocolates in my cupboard for weeks.  And I’ve even managed to resist the coveted iPhone 4, despite the insufferably slow speed at which my 3G now functions following that regrettable software update.

But when it comes to frolicking outdoors, I require a strong dose on a very regular basis.  Cabin fever strikes me easily, and nothing else seems to cure it like a session of physical activity, spiked with sun, trees, and a gentle breeze.

When I lived in New York City and spent the majority of my waking hours amidst reams of legal documents on the 49th floor of the Met Life Building, I would go to great lengths to cavort somewhere other than Equinox’s claustrophobic cluster of elliptical machines.

On a rare summer Saturday when I wasn’t cloistered in my office, for example, I’d schlep uptown on the steamy subway to borrow my parents’ car and brave the outbound city traffic to meander through the Palisades across the Hudson River, or head upstate to paddle through the Adirondacks’ mountain lakes.

Given my infinitesimal threshold for cold weather, however, winter presented a more substantial challenge.  When the partners for whom I was working actually permitted vacation, I’d board jets, puddle jumpers, chicken buses, ferries, etc. in earnest pursuit of tropical climates where I could dive, surf, and hike — in other words, where I could feed my addiction.

It was particularly nourished during a winter 2004 trip to Tulum, which, at the time, was still a sleepy gem on the Caribbean coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.  Precious highlights included snorkeling with sea turtles on the shallow reef a short swim from shore, strolling the long stretch of ivory sand towards the seaside Mayan ruins, and kayaking through the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve’s brackish wetlands.

Typical Tulum Scene

My sweetest memory from that trip, though, was probably the most relaxing.  After gently waking and enjoying a momentary walk on a palm tree shaded path, I set my towel down on the sand next to several fellow travelers.  We greeted the day with sun salutations and other gentle yoga poses, to a soundtrack that came not from a studio stereo, but instead from the lapping of the turquoise waters onto the sand.

Pure paradise, I thought, as the morning sunshine warmed my bronzed face — and remembered, as I later trudged through the frigid wind towards the subway stairs.

Now flash forward six and a half years.

9:07 a.m.  Friday, October 1, 2010.  I coaxed my eyelids open and happily beheld the blue skies sparkling through my gauzy white curtains.  A cup of coffee and glass of juice later, I swung my yoga mat bag over my shoulder, hopped on my cruiser, and headed west.

Yoga by the beach, it turns out, is a little more accessible these days, thanks to the lovely Shawn Bisi.

Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Shawn has for years practiced, studied and/or taught yoga all over the world, from Dharamsala, India to Park City, Utah.

Luckily for us locals, she now resides in Los Angeles, where she teaches a fusion of various styles.  (For more information on Shawn, to confirm class times, and to learn more about her one-on-one, couples and family yoga therapy, see her website: http://www.shawnyogahealing.com.)

Shawn Bisi (photograph by Patricio Motta)

Yet Another Inspiring Image of Shawn (photograph by Patricio Motta)

In addition to private sessions and her group classes at Aanand Saagar in Venice, Shawn has recently begun teaching yoga by the beach in Santa Monica, on Wednesday and Friday mornings from 10:00 – 11:15 a.m., at Crescent Bay Park, between Bay Street and Bicknell Ave.

This is a very good thing.

After a brisk 10-15 minute bike ride past the Venice Skate Park and several gargantuan bulldozers fashioning sand berms (shelf barriers) for the upcoming winter months, I arrived at the park’s grassy area just south of Casa del Mar.  Shawn was already peacefully seated in lotus position under the shade of a tree.

Shawn, Yoga Instructor Extraordinaire

This was certainly a far cry from the sweaty, body odor-ridden yoga studios I have frequented.

Over the next hour and fifteen minutes, Shawn gently guided us from cobra to warrior, and from triangle to crow; she also shared precepts of Zen philosophy, while ensuring our constant flow of breath in relation to conscious body movement, designed to eliminate blockages and promote relaxation and clarity.

My View in Triangle Pose

Her method worked.

As I emerged from shavasana (a pose often used to conclude a practice session), opened my eyes and slowly sat up to the Southern California sun and Pacific Ocean breeze, waves of comfort and peace swept over me.

I was undeniably blissed out … high as an addict, you might say.

NAMASTE!

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Filed under Consciousness, Exercise, Life, Outdoor Adventure, Peaceful

For the Love of (Mis)adventure

On Friday night, I wanted to inject myself with a dose of something lethal.  And on Saturday morning, I wanted to shoot myself.

Before you recommend the latest SSRI to hit pharmacy shelves or refer me to a suicide hotline, let me explain.

Those close to me know that, since my early 20s, I have suffered from cluster headaches.  If you’re fortunate enough to know nothing about these excruciating nuggets of misery, I’ll permit Wikipedia to elucidate: “Experts have suggested that it is the most painful condition known to medical science.”

I agree.

They come on with such rapid fury that I imagine the experience is akin to being mauled by a tiger — except that I would have the pleasure of laying eyes on such a magnificent creature.

The cause of cluster headaches is unknown, and they can strike anytime…like, for example, on a Friday evening transcontinental flight from New York to Los Angeles.

Following a week in the city — book-ended by throwing my parents a surprise 40th anniversary party (along with my brother, Justin, with whom I successfully schemed) and a late night with summary judgment motion papers — I was heading home to Venice for a long awaited day of scuba diving off Catalina Island.

Ever since I moved to Los Angeles, I’ve dreamed of exploring the enchanted underwater forests that lie just 22 miles from Venice Beach.  I’ve scoured youtube.com for submarine footage taken by fellow land dwellers, giddy from the ephemeral euphoria of experiencing life at 60 feet below the sea’s surface.  And on clear days, I’ve stood on the beach and gazed longingly at the island’s silhouette, anticipating the day when I would be donning an extraordinarily thick wetsuit to revel in its cool, clear waters.

Kelp Forests

After more than five years, that day was almost here — Saturday, August 21, 2010.

Everything was set.  I had reserved the last available spot on a round-trip ferry ride from Long Beach, and purchased a full scuba gear rental with Catalina Divers Supply.  I had arranged to meet the inimitable Stephen Mendel of Premier Scuba Diving early in the morning to ensure sufficient time for two dives.  I had even reached out to all 1,032 of my Facebook friends to inquire about suitable underwater camera options.  I was ready.

Or so it seemed, as the taxi whizzed across the East River to deposit me at JFK.

Armed with my laptop and a pressing need to finish researching and drafting an argument on land title, I eventually settled into my window seat and decided to take advantage of American #21’s Gogo Inflight Internet service.  I extracted my wallet from my bag below the seat and entered in my credit card number; by Pennsylvania, I was online.

Just as I was about to coax myself away from images of fluorescent fish and turn my attention to Westlaw, there it was — a dull throb behind my right eye.  I took a deep breath and braced myself.

Within two minutes, the headache was full blown, and more acute than any I could recollect.

I should note that a cluster headache in the privacy and comfort of my own home challenges the outer reaches of my sanity.  A cluster headache at a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet and four in-flight hours to go left me willing to call it a life.  But since I presumed that no one on board made it past the TSA with a vial of lethal relief, I sat there, in quiet anguish, willing the pain to abate.

Thirty minutes later, the intensity had only escalated.   With tears streaming down my face, I staggered to the flight attendant station after waiting in vain for someone to respond to the call button.  (They too, had availed themselves of Gogo, and were all on Facebook.)

Rushing to my aid, they whipped up an ice pack, a fresh pot of coffee and a handful of Excedrin Migraine.  And then I waited it out.  All the way to LAX.

By the time we landed at 10:30 p.m., the agony had finally subsided and sheer exhaustion took its place.  After gathering my bags, I headed down to baggage claim to collect my suitcase, and gratefully waited at the curb for my friend Caroline to pick me up.

As I collapsed on my couch, I resisted the overwhelming desire to fall into a pathological slumber, and instead flipped open my laptop to finish what I had been unable to accomplish on the plane.

At 2:00 a.m., I triumphantly clicked “send.”  After tossing my swimsuit, mask and snorkel and a towel into a bag, I set two alarms for 6:15 a.m. and crawled into bed — smiling as I envisioned turning my head up towards the ocean’s sun-drenched surface.

The simultaneous clamor soon awoke me, and within seven adrenaline-fueled minutes, I was dressed and ready to make the 45-minute drive to Long Beach to catch the Catalina Express.

Until I realized my wallet was missing.

In addition to cluster headaches, I also suffer from a pesky paternally hereditary condition, which causes me to misplace/lose sundry items with disquieting frequency.  So I remained calm at first, probing through every nook and cranny of my purse, computer bag, jacket, as well as under the couch, in the refrigerator, etc.

But no luck.

And then it occurred to me.  In the throes of cluster headache torture, I had failed to place my wallet (containing, among other things, all my credit, ATM, insurance, AAA, and attorney ID cards) back into my bag, leaving it, I was sure, either wedged into or on the floor below seat 26J.

I wasn’t sure which affliction I should curse first.

With a sinking heart, I called American Airlines, only to be informed that its lost and found office is, brilliantly, closed on the weekends.  I would have to wait more than 48 hours until Monday at 8:30 a.m., to determine whether or not my wallet was merely misplaced or truly lost.

In the meantime, however, the ferry to Catalina wouldn’t be as patient.  And thankfully, I still had my driver’s license (which I had kept in my pocket after passing through security), and had either already paid for or reserved with a credit card everything I would need for the day’s excursion.  I grabbed my checkbook, just in case, and raced outside to my car and then down the 405.

Doling out the exactly $14 I had left in cash to pay the $14 daily parking fee, I pulled into a spot at the landing and breathed a sigh of relief as I beheld the sparkling water and majestic white boat.  The journey had been both protracted and arduous, but well worth the thrill that was now, finally, within proximate reach.

I locked the car and pulled out my ferry confirmation receipt, and then sauntered down the hill towards the counter to check in.

But I couldn’t.

Even though I had reserved my spot with a credit card and presented my driver’s license, Catalina Express’ rules prohibited its clerks from issuing me the boarding ticket without first seeing the card.  And personal checks, it turned out, are just as ineffective as absent credit cards.

The ferry was leaving on time — without me.

About that gun…

*     *     *     *     *

But all’s well that ends well, and 8:30 a.m. Monday morning brought with it a wave of very welcome relief — as well as the promise of a rescheduled trip to Catalina in late September.  So stay tuned!

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Filed under Life, Outdoor Adventure

Santa Monica Slam

Anyone living in New York City with a penchant for tennis appreciates what an expensive and schleppy habit the sport can be.

The dollars my generous parents invested into lessons during my adolescent years might have nourished an Ethiopian village.  And the hours spent hauling out to Queens to access courts that didn’t force us onto food stamps unquestionably outnumbered those spent pummeling forehands and smashing volleys.

But I loved the game, and by high school, my skills earned me a position on the formidable Horace Mann tennis team.

Truth be told, though, I never had what my father used to call a “killer instinct.”  No matter how committed he was to instill in me a desire to slaughter my ponytailed, white-skirted opponents, I was always content merely to be out on the court, swinging my racket and savoring the crisp, east coast fall.

Playing tennis en plein air in Riverdale, a tree-lined enclave in the Bronx, was a welcome antidote to the frenzy of Manhattan life and a high school education as academically demanding as law school would later prove to be.  Bopping around the bright green surface, everything else that ordinarily weighed on my mind — from presenting my research on the seven sacred rites of the Lakota to pondering how long I’d be grounded after getting caught going to the Palladium — seemed trapped in the net that separated me from my opponents.

But when I left for college in Northern California, where free and available courts were as ubiquitous as warm sunny days, and my schedule was — shall we say — flexible, something strange happened.  I stopped playing tennis.

Perhaps it was the distraction of the then-unfamiliar wonderland that is California, with its sandstone beachside cliffs and 6’2” bronzed surfers.  Or perhaps it was the shocking ­news that my former tennis instructor had attempted to kidnap and rape one of his students (coincidentally, the sister of a guy who lived in my co-op during sophomore year) before taking his own life.  (See The New York Times article).

Whatever the reason, my tennis racket has languished, since 1993, in various closets across the United States.

Until now.

Reunited...

After several years of passing by open courts in city parks all over Los Angeles and muttering how ludicrous it is that I don’t play, I decided that the time to let my racket see the light of day had finally arrived.

And after seventeen years, it was just that easy.

Koo, a girlfriend who also had not played tennis in nearly two decades, quickly agreed to join me in an effort to jumpstart her game as well.  We decided to meet Sunday at 1:00 p.m. in Marine Park, just east of Lincoln Boulevard in Santa Monica and roughly a five-minute drive or ten-minute bike ride from home — hardly akin to rush hour traffic on the Queensboro Bridge.

Prepared to wait a good 30-45 minutes — it was, after all, a Sunday afternoon — I entered the park gate at 12:45 p.m., armed with my now ancient racket and slew of partially-flat tennis balls, ready to stake my claim to the next available court.

My vigilance, however, was superfluous.

Just as I began making my way between the courts and bushy green wall of vines, dotted with vibrant, fragrant flowers — again, the antithesis of a Long Island City tennis bubble — a middle-aged man rallying back and forth with his son called out that they would be done momentarily.

Marine Park Flora

Yeahhh … that this was the first time I set out to play tennis in Los Angeles seemed more preposterous with each passing moment.

Just as they began gathering their equipment to clear the court, Koo arrived with a bright smile and her typical, Aussie-inflected, “Hi darling!”

Game's On!

We spent the next hour and a half re-connecting with our strokes and footwork, and eventually played a couple of sets — proud when we slammed an ace and amused when a well-intentioned lob metamorphosed into a home run.  The doses of merriment we both experienced must have been good medicine for the agony that plagued our right forearms in the days that followed…because we can’t wait to play again this weekend.

If you have read either of my previous two posts (M & Ms:: Part 1 and M & Ms :: Part 2), you’ll know that I recently enjoyed an exceptionally fabulous trip to New York, visiting family, friends and the spectacular Dia:Beacon.

Happy Me

But when it comes to playing tennis, I’ll take Los Angeles any day.

Who else is in?

Happy Koo

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Dawning of a New Day

I am not exactly what you would call a morning person.

Those who have had the delight of witnessing my 1.5-hour snooze sessions and incoherent pre-coffee mumblings understand that, for me, waking before sunrise is a far more daunting prospect than hang gliding.

That’s why this week’s activity — welcoming a new day on Venice Beach — was initially challenging, but, ultimately, perfectly peaceful.  A yin to the yang, if you will, of my last adrenaline-fueled adventure.

*   *    *   *    *

After exhausting the two snooze cycles I had permitted myself, I hauled my wine-weary body out of bed at 5:48 a.m. Saturday morning, and snuggled into my favorite sweat pants and hoodie. Unable to bear the shock of the bathroom lights, I lazily brushed my teeth in the dark and headed downstairs, leaning all my weight on the railing to prevent any klutzy calamities.

Given that 99.9% of the sunrises I’ve beheld have punctuated spectacularly long nights, I find it poignant that my first human contact that morning was with a twenty-something trio, decked in Friday night’s wear and sporting smiles as bright as the bougainvillea bushes into which they nearly stumbled.

“I love you,” the grinning woman called out to me, as her male comrades waved and nodded in unison.

A cheery start to the day.  And I was only 77 feet from my front door.

Tickled by their earnestness, I returned a broad smile as I pedaled past them.

Noticing suddenly that the sky was rapidly lightening, I pushed my legs, inexorably sore from my first foray into pilates, to work harder.  Moments later, I was quietly welcomed by the Windward Avenue “Venice” sign, humble beneath the still vibrant, nearly full moon.

 

Welcome to Venice Beach

 

Though I’ve biked this route on countless occasions, it was as if it were the first. The typical buzz of cars gave way to the soothing hum of my bike tires gliding across the pavement; the usual pedestrian traffic surrounding the post office and Windward Farms market was replaced by a lone man on roller blades and a posse of pigeons.

And as I rode underneath the sign and out onto the boardwalk, I was greeted — not by the loin-clothed body builder or the gold-painted statue-man — but by the thick ocean air and the sounds of surf.  I was in a backyard I had only just discovered.

 

Boardwalk Solitude

 

I wasn’t entirely alone, mind you.

A homeless man cheerily belting out a show tune rode past me on a rusted bike, laden with possessions.  A white-bearded gentleman, wearing a red sweater and toting an expensive camera, meandered towards the skate park.   And a sun-kissed, wetsuit-clad surfer waved hello as he trotted barefoot towards the sea.

But by the time I had locked my bike to a post and felt the give of the soft sand below me, the only company of which I was aware were the pelicans dramatically diving for breakfast, and the little birds darting across the glistening sand, exposed by low tide.  Even the handful of surfers bobbing up and down in the distance seemed to belong to the sea.

 

Fresh Deposit of Sea Kelp

 

Mesmerized by the joyous fluttering of life before me, I stood still and gazed out over the waves and the mountains, drinking in the horizon.

And then suddenly, something shifted.

Shuttering my eyes, I slowly turned around.  When I could sense that light rays were beginning to surround me, I opened my eyes to see the sun gracefully ascending behind the palm trees.

 

The Eastern Sun Appears

 

A new day had dawned.  And I was there to welcome it.

I think I could get into this morning thing…

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Flying High :: Part 2

Standing on a mountain’s summit — yes, even in the Valley — always seems to spark a spiritual rise in me.  Whether it’s because of an energetic vortex or merely relative oxygen deprivation, it always feels damn good.

So there I was, about to take my typically mystical mountaintop experience to a whole new level.

After my offer to help set up the glider was kindly ignored (for good reason, I’m sure), I spent a few moments relishing the 360 degree view and watching out for rumored rattlesnakes.

Fred and Barton Prepping the Gliders

Kagel Mountain :: View from the Summit

Then it was game time.

Fred guided me through a practice run, rehearsing our run, leap and launch.  We strapped on our helmets and kneepads, and wrestled ourselves into contraptions that would connect us to the craft.  He described the glider’s capacity and my harness’ strength — and how to operate the emergency parachute in the event that catastrophe struck and he was knocked unconscious.

On that note, we approached the edge of Kagel Mountain, and — after Rome and Barton assisted Fred with some last minute adjustments — we transitioned from earth to sky.

It is difficult even now to try to put into words how exhilarating it felt to tap into a thermal updraft and gain 1600 vertical feet within seconds, or how poetic it was to realize that the bird’s shadow moving across the canyon below was actually our glider.

Equipped with nothing more than a glorified kite, we peacefully meandered thousands of feet above a reservoir and desert hills still scarred from last year’s fires.   The house-lined streets and gemstone-looking swimming pools dotting the valley below looked as they would from an airplane; yet our skin was being kissed by the sky, not sucked dry inside a mechanized, pressurized, gas-fueled behemoth.

It was PURE.  And it was MAGICAL.

And then, after more than twenty minutes in the air, it was time to return to land.

Following a couple of intentionally dramatic descents — think Six Flags™ roller coaster — the grassy landing field grew closer with every second.  I bent my legs behind me, and we touched down so gracefully that it took a moment to register we were actually on the ground.

Physically, that is.  Days later, the euphoria lingers on…

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Flying High :: Part 1

I consider myself a woman of words.

This is not to say that I fancy myself a great orator or novelist, or even a professional copywriter.

No, what I mean is that I’m very seldom at a loss for something to say.  (An ex-boyfriend used to joke that I could conduct an entire phone conversation with myself.)

But every now and again, even I am rendered speechless.

And that’s exactly what happened this past week, when — after an augurous red-tailed hawk sighting — I literally took a running leap of faith off Kagel Mountain, 3,547 feet above sea level.

Kagel Mountain in Sylmar, California

The Adventure Begins

The morning began unlike most others.  A naturally nocturnal snooze addict, I awoke before my two alarms began shrieking at 7:00 a.m.  Excitement made the coffee I had brewed superfluous, and so I replenished a water bottle, tossed my new camera into a bag and headed northeast towards the 405.

Thirty minutes later, I pulled into Sylmar Flight Park, where I was to meet Fred, Windsports Soaring Center’s tandem flight instructor.  Settling in at a picnic table, I savored the sun’s warmth and gazed up at the mountain that would soon serve as my launch pad.

I had been sitting alone just long enough to begin wondering if I should be nervous, when an older man with a grand smile sat down at the adjacent table.  When he was joined by a duo of equally cheerful companions who mentioned that Fred should be arriving shortly, I walked over and introduced myself.

Sylmar Flight Park Picnic Area

The Cast

First there was Rome, an octogenarian elk habitat preservation enthusiast, Dr. Laura fan, and avid hang glider.  Grounded for a few weeks due to a bout of pneumonia, Rome was there to drive the van back down the mountain, after the rest of us took flight.

Then there was Russ, a former Chicago-based consultant in the power plant construction industry.  Now retired, Russ follows the wind, living a gypsy existence in his RV and traveling the United States in search of mountains off which to fly.  Paragliding was on that day’s agenda.

Then came Barton.  Celebrating his birthday by spending the majority of a four-day weekend in Sylmar, he too is a flight fanatic.  Barton’s also a devoted brother — proudly displaying his bald head, which he had shaved in solidarity with his sister, who just completed her final round of chemotherapy.  Oh, and he’s a rocket scientist.  Really.

And finally, as this gliding triumvirate’s enthusiasm boosted my own, Fred — who restores classic cars, when he’s not taking people like me on the rides of their lives — rolled up in a Dodge van, our mountaintop-bound chariot.

The Ascension

After loading our gear into the van, the five of us climbed in and headed up.

This, however, was no easy task.

A few minutes on the freeway gave way to a paved mountain road, which in turn led to a limited access, craggy, dirt path.  I questioned whether its width exceeded that of the van — a disturbing inquiry, given the scene below.  (Think riding shotgun in a car cruising south on northern California’s Pacific Coast Highway, only more precarious.)

But we made it to the summit, welcomed warmly by that majestic hawk.  After much anticipation, take-off was now imminent…

Stay tuned for Flying High :: Part 2 …

Kagel Mountain :: Valley View

Russ, Taking in a Pre-Flight Moment

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