I recognize that it has been 2 weeks since my last post, but my absence has been due not to lack of adventure, but the opposite – I had quite a few adventures scheduled (and unscheduled) in the last 2 weeks that I haven’t had time to sit down and write about them!
This adventure falls into that unscheduled category. It arose organically on a day that I’d set aside for another activity (that ended up being a bit anti-climatic) and is a perfect example of how sometimes, with even the best plans laid before you, it pays to go with your gut.
Basically, Chris and I decided to start the day with a trip to Huntington Beach for brunch. It was a gorgeous day, the sun was shining, and the air over LA was incredibly clear in the way that it can only be on a days following a heavy rain. It was so clear even that we could see the newly snow-covered San Gabriel Mountains that lay just east of LA.
We spotted them as soon as we got on the road. Chris made a comment about the fact that Mount Baldy probably had some skiers today, and we reveled in how amazing it was that in one day, with less than a 2 hour drive in between, one group of people could sunbathe on a beach and another could enjoy a day playing in the snow on a mountaintop.
We made it to Huntington Beach, parked near the pier, and immediately spotted dozens of brightly colored kites soaring over the beach. We’d stumbled across the annual Huntington Beach Kite Party!
Okay, call us massive dorks, but we were thrilled at our luck. We sat down for brunch at Sandy’s Beach Grill (un-surprising detail alert: I ordered a Lava Flow at 11am!) and lay back to enjoy the show.
And it was a show! We’d never seen kites like these. There were speed and trick kites that darted around the sky in quick bursts, flipping and turning so violently I’d be surprised if their owners didn’t accidentally take out a seagull or two. There were massive ones that had several smaller kites flowing behind them, looking like giant barges floating in the air. There were kites with pinwheels, spinning bits and even one shaped like a diamond.
We were in awe at the variety of the kites, and even more so at the variety of people that fly them. Apparently there are “kite people”….and they are an odd but fascinating bunch. While I was jealous of their ability to fly kites so gracefully without getting them tangled up with each other or send them diving into the skull of one of the sunbathing bikini models below, let’s just say I wouldn’t recommend taking fashion tips from them.
After brunch we walked to the end of the pier and back, watching the group kite demonstrations, which were pretty amazing. I’d never heard of this sport, but apparently groups of up to 8 get together with similar kites and create choreographed performances to music. The kites follow each other, spin, rotate and flip around, and the team of people flying them move quickly around each other on the ground, managing to stay in sync and never letting the strings tangle. It was surprisingly hypnotizing to watch.
Just as I’d started to consider wearing socks with sandals and becoming a kite person, Chris reminded me we needed to get going to our intended destination for the day – an art installation in Fullerton that I’d been dying to see. I’ll write about that installation (and my disastrous attempt at a related art project) in my next post, but this is where the amazing spontaneity of this adventure comes in.
After zipping over to Fullerton and checking out the installation, we were hopping in the car to head back to LA when we both stopped to admire the snowy mountains for the 100th time that day. Suddenly, Chris had a genius idea.
“Let’s go have a snow ball fight!”
I paused for less than a millisecond before replying. “Why not?”
Fifteen minutes later, we were at a snow sport outfitter buying heavy jackets, telling the enthusiastic OC teenager that rang us up our genius plan. “That’s epic!” She said in admiration.
After an hour of driving, we finally reached the small village of Mount Baldy. We’d driven up there once before in December, thinking we were going snow tubing but stupidly hadn’t checked the forecast. If we had, we would have seen there was no snow and it was a pleasant 72 degrees.
This time, though there were only faint hints of snow on the sides of the road in the town, we kept driving up and up the hill, fingers crossed that we’d see some of the fluffy frozen stuff before we reached the bottom of the ski lift at the end of the road.
Sure enough, once we reached the campsite above the town, we saw them – SLEDDERS! There was snow on the hill, enough for kids to sled down and for us to play in. We pulled over, I jumped out of the car, bent over, scooped up some snow, molded it into a neat ball, and looked up just in time to catch a snowball in the face from Chris.
Damn. I wasn’t fast enough.
We had a quick snowball fight and then stopped to watch the sledders, reveling in the fact that we’d successfully done the Southern California Sand-to-Snow Challenge (this is not an official term, though I reckon it should be!). On the way home as we winded our way back down the mountain, I told Chris to pull over so we could take in the view one last time.
God I love living here!