A risk is defined as a situation involving exposure to danger. As a kid Drew wasn’t taught to avoid risks, he was taught to make them work to his benefit, to grab them by the bull horns and ride them into the wild… or, as in the photo above, off the side of a bridge. I remember being taught to anticipate and avoid them, maybe that’s just the difference between how boys and girls are raised, but as I grew into adulthood and learned lessons of my own, I began to realize that I didn’t quite see risks like that anymore.
What if risk was defined as a situation involving exposure to awesomeness, opportunity, growth and bliss? You might view it a bit differently, amiright?
A life without risk is small and lukewarm. Risks force us to grow, to have faith in others and our world, to believe that we are strong enough to handle the outcome and smart enough to navigate whatever is thrown our way. Risks remind how big and intense being alive can feel!
Now, you don’t have to jump off a bridge, hike to the top of the highest mountain or leave your life as you know it behind to move into a van and travel the world to feel alive. Taking a risk can be something as simple as deviating from your normal, everyday routine, saying “Hi” to a stranger or perhaps being confident in something you’ve always thought you should hide.
Take our brave and amazing friend Sarah Herron for example; she found our blog while researching how to hike Mount Baldy, one of the famous SoCal 6 Pack of Peaks. Besides becoming America’s Sweetheart on the Bachelor (which after spending five minutes with her we could see why), one of the many incredible things about Sarah is that she was born without half of her left arm. Instead of viewing this as a limitation, she was brave enough to take a risk and in her teens, decided to stop wearing her prosthetic. Sarah is a beautiful example of the fact that nothing can hold us back from experiencing and loving life the way we all deserve to, as long as we’re willing to take a little risk for it.So when does Mount Wilson come into play here? Well, after bonding with Sarah over our Mount Baldy victories, we decided it’d be fun to tackle another one of the SoCal 6 Pack of Peaks… together! That’s when we set our sites on 5,712-foot Mount Wilson, the smallest of the pack, but with 4,200 feet of elevation gain along its 14-mile loop, it sure did make for one heluva workout! We parked at the Chantry Flats trailhead, and followed the Gabrielino Trail as it meandered down and through the fairytalesque Chantry Flats:
We talked about our childhoods, life, the outdoors, overcoming obstacles and all our dreams and plans for the future. We talked and walked and enjoyed the peace that this beautiful trail offered.
We followed signs for the Lower Trail, which is apparently more scenic, and made our way up to the Spruce Grove Campground. After a bit of a break here, we followed the Sturtesvant Trail for the last 1,000 feet of elevation gain.
The trail was just the right combo of challenge and ease and the company couldn’t have been any better. Before we knew it we had made our way up the side of that mighty mountain and bagged our 4th 6 Pack of Peaks (photo below)! Then, all of a sudden, the wind began to howl and the most unexpected thing of all happened… IT BEGAN TO SNOW!
We took refuge from the falling snow turned hail inside the Mount Wilson Observatory, where we huddled on the floor as we ate our picnic lunches, trying to stay out of the 40 degree weather outside. Now, we had read that the summit of Mount Wilson was nothing special, just a bunch of buildings and paved roads, but today it was definitely something special.
Soon the hail subsided and we were able to go outside again. It was still just as cold and windy so we scurried down the side of mountain eager to enjoy the warmth offered by every foot of elevation loss. A few hours later, as we were nearing the end of our trek, the sun found a way to grace us with its golden presence one last time before calling it a night.
So, next time your faced with the chance to take a risk, the chance to add awesomeness, growth and bliss to your life, and the lives of those around you, will you take it?
- Bring WATER – we read that there’s a water fountain somewhere at the summit if you need to refill.
- Pack a lunch and look for the picnic table at the top… if it’s not snowing of course.
- Bring a few snacks, Clif/KIND bars + an apple are always our go to.
- We hit the trail around 8:30am and finished around 4pm. Besides taking shelter for lunch + a couple breathers on the trail, we kept a pretty swift and steady pace the whole time.
- The Chantry Flats Trailhead parking lot was full by 7am, so arrive early, but not too early because the gate to the trailhead parking doesn’t open until 6am. You can always park along the side of the road just outside the gate, but it’s important to note that this fills up fast too!
- Weather is known to change fast on Wilson (ahem), so check the weather before heading out and bring a jacket just in case!
- Stop to enjoy the scenery, the fresh air, the company – you don’t want to miss the best part!