Mount Baldy Meditations
The wind shifts against the pines as my knees ache in my simple sitting, mind empty for the time being. Leonard Cohen who spent years here at the Mount Baldy Zen Center might be mildly impressed, probably not. Be like nature: warm when the sun shines and wet when it rains. Do nothing, yet leave nothing undone. A hike imminent to the top of Southern California, Mount San Antonio aka Baldy, at 10,068 feet. Start at the bottom near the Zen Center or take the chair lift up to the Top of the Notch for a head start. All paths lead to the same place, literally and figuratively in this case. Past the Notch, one foot in front of the next up broken rock and scree that serve as ski runs in winter. Pause at top and anticipate the traverse over the "Devil's Backbone"; sheer drops on both sides.....one foot in front of the next, a walking meditation. Japanese tourists and corpulent mid-westerners in wrong shoes out of their depth having second thoughts. How did they get to this point at all? Look to the left, the LA Basin surprisingly serene from this vantage. Look to the right, the high desert stretching to the horizon out into the Mojave. Backbone in the past, two routes on option: virtually straight up but very steep to the summit or switchback after switchback more toward the northeast. Both paths lead to the same place. Route 2. One foot then the next, breath heavy. A couple false summits, is this the pinnacle? Minutes pass, over a ridge and a plaque: Mt Baldy 10,086. Namaste.
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