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Saying a BitterSweet Adiós to the USA

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This post is most lovingly & admirably dedicated to Sir Ab Potter ~ a true Philanthropist, Adventurer, and all-round sublime human being. You are much missed & the world is a better place because you chose to lead a Life … Continue reading

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The Eye of God…

Like most (if not all) of our ‘unwritten’ US History, the Eye of God was originally named by the Native Americans. The Serrano Indians to be precise. It is said that over 2,000 years ago, it was a “complete dome of exquisite quartz, and the Serrano Indians believed that this rock was actually God’s eye.”

It is said that “They took comfort in knowing His watchful gaze looked out at them as they went about their daily lives in the valley.” And, “today, the ancestors of the Serrano Indians still think of this place as sacred.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
FACT OR FOLKLORE?

When I looked at one of the pictures I took, and witnessed the hovering glow of additional vertical mass that somehow showed up (camera of course), it gave me the chills.

  

The Folklore

During our trek to the site, my friend told me a ‘story’ about a terrible battle that took place over this land. The Serrano Indians wanting to protect the Sacred spot, and Miners wanting (of course) to procure the White Quartz for profit. “This dome was originally over eight hundred feet high!” she declares, with such conviction it makes it difficult to doubt the authenticity of her words. “Hundreds & hundreds of the Serranos were murdered in a horrific battle. The miners won of course, blew it up & chopped it all down. This is all that is left.” According to my dear friend, that would make the Eye of God originally about 80 stories high… only 30 stories short of the Twin Towers. Hmmm. Here is where I’m guessing a little ‘folklore’ comes in. Now, I’m not doing my dissertation on this, so my ‘research’ about this sacred site has been limited to the internet – but I did not find a solitary hit to back up this claim of such massive proportions. Not even one saying it was originally 80 feet high (which seems more realistic). However, the story was engaging – and our US History has truthfully been largely embellished to make us look like the good guys… which is untrue. But that’s a whole different topic. Completely.

   

The fact

In truth, the Eye of God is a relatively small, albeit beautiful & peaceful spot – and definitely worth seeing. Even the drive there on the 38 thru Big Bear City and Shay Road into the Baldwin Lake area is breathtaking. It’s like getting a great big, warm hug. Unlike the Big Bear Lake area, which is gorgeous in a completely different way, Baldwin Lake holds a more “Little House on the Prairie” feel. Very serene. The dirt road heading to the Eye can be a tad sketchy in places, although I never needed to throw my Land Rover into 4WD; you definitely want some clearance, so a truck is highly recommended in my opinion. We pretty much drove right up to the Eye, though I’m certain there are a multitude of hiking trails to the spot as well. For specific driving directions click here.

As my time in here gorgeous Big Bear comes to a close, I find myself in a hurry to explore several more spots, including Peace Rock (which is in the same area as the Eye of God), the Big Bear Queen Lake Tour, do a little zip-lining, and of course I still need to put in a few hours on the Pacific Crest Trail. So, stay tuned for more fun things to do here on Bear Mountain! I’m heading toward the Coast tomorrow, God willing, to visit some friends in Oxnard & San Jose, and will hopefully be taking the PCH if time allows – keep your fingers crossed! I’m sure it’s a magical drive… and I am in dire need of some OCEAN BEACH.

Team Big Bear celebrates 25 years!

MOUNTAIN BIKING ADVENTURES

This past weekend, I spent a sunny, seven hour day, witnessing both élite pro-athletes and families alike ‘strutting’ their wheels in Team Big Bear’s Conquer the Bear & the Kenda Cup West/US Cup Mountain Bike Series. Considering itself the “Birthplace of Mountain Bike Racing”, Big Bear Lake has it going on. One local hero, Tom Spiegel helped pioneer Southern California’s novice and pro MTN bike races starting back in 1985.

(c) 2011 Authenchic Pics

Although a former triathlon junkie, once Spiegel tasted the freedom and thrill of Mountain Biking, he was hooked; and Team Big Bear was born. Twenty-five years later, boasting an average turn-out of over 400 racers per event, the XC, Endurance & ‘Super D’ Mountain Bike scene in Big Bear Lake is truly Epic!

 Now home to both the Kenda Cup West and US Cup Race Series, even novice riders can find themselves avoiding death-cookies as they navigate single-track courses alongside the likes of Olympic and Elite Pro Riders such as Tinker Juarez, Todd Wells, and Georgia Gould.

TINKER JUAREZ (c) 2011 Authenchic Pics

(c) 2011 Authenchic Pics

Random shots

(c) 2011 Authenchic Pics

One of the beauties of Mountain Bike racing is that the Family (including the kiddos!) has the opportunity to ride the same course as the Pros! (Albeit without the competitive speed and technical prowess.)

(c) 2011 Authenchic Pics

A Racer contemplating his finish…. I wish I could have talked to him but things were insane

If you’re into XC Mountain Biking (or ANY kind of Off-Road sport), Big Bear is a sweet place to test your skills, and hook up with a community of riders from all over the world. This area offers such beautiful and challenging rides; it seems a shame that anyone who enjoys XC biking would miss out on its glorious and bountiful landscape.

I met all sorts of folks enjoying the race…. here are some fellow Big Bear “riders” of sorts watching the action; including a few “Super D” racers warming up for the next event…

(c) 2011 Authenchic Pics

Super D

So, whether you’re catchin’ air (and most likely some face plants) as a downhill rider, or just into some challenging and beautiful track, Big Bear has a plethora of terrain to explore. If this didn’t wet your dust enough to plan a trip up here, I will be posting about my own Big Bear mountain biking adventures very soon….

ૌ  Authenchically Yours, Lisa

AuthenChic Discovery…

 Where ever your travels take you, if snow is available, and you’re into snowboarding or skiing, you will (hopefully) make your way to the slopes. Having already hit that myself, it was time for #2 on the list of “things to do” in Big Bear. On that list is visiting the Big Bear Discovery Center (BBDC). Although it wasn’t tremendously ‘adventurous’ in and of itself, it was informative! 

  

The eco-friendliest way to arrive at BBDC is to hit the Alpine Pedal Path that parallels the lake off the Stanfield Cutoff. At the 1.5mi marker there is an option to head off and up on another trail which leads to the Discovery Center, as well as a grip of other trails (which I will share with you later). From the marker, it was a .7 mi paved hike to the DC, where we checked out the ‘stuffed animals’ (see below), and got some information brochures on all the available ‘things to do’.

 

 

view from BBDC

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Personally, I am not a fan of taxidermy, it makes me sad. However, I can’t imagine the lay person, no matter how adventurous, often has the opportunity to see animals such as the bobcat, brown (or black) bear, etc. as up close & personal as one can because of this particular ‘art’ form.

  
 
 
 
 Along with viewing the prevalent wildlife species, the BBDC also has a plethora of 411 on the countless hiking, biking, and equestrian trails that are accessible from this California Mountain Town. For even the remotely ‘fit’ person (we passed a couple toting a stroller with a baby girl and tag-along three-year-old son), the 2.2mi trek to the center is as easy as pie. One of the most famous trails you can hit from this point is the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).
THE PCT runs from Canada to Mexico, and every year hundreds of brave souls trek either part of or the entire route – a whopping 2,650 miles (4,260 km) –  having necessities shipped to rest stops (like Big Bear) along the journey. This is one AuthenChic Adventure I have definitely put on my “bucket list”. 😉

 

   Photo courtesy sunset.com                                                           
                               
 
 
 
 
 For the fellow conservationists out there, just a cool FYI – part of the proceeds generated from the BBDC Gift Shop go to help the San Bernardino National Forest Association, so you know that any souvenirs you pick up for friends, family or yourself will be a gift that keeps on giving! There are plenty of educational and volunteer opportunities available, no matter what your Stay Green interests.   

 
   
       
 
If anyone who reads this has actually been ON the PCT, I’d love to hear about it!

Peace, L
 
©AuthenChic Adventures | 2011
 
 

 

Big Bear Adventures…

I really need to sit down and share about how bittersweet it was finding my ‘Toto” a new home, but that’s going to take a lot more heart than i can give tonight. It’s late, and i’m sleepy! My friend and I went on a 5 mile walk/run this evening along Big Bear Lake. Much more walk than run, but i didn’t leave feeling disappointed in myself whatsoever. It was GORGEOUS. It’s our first time out for exercise really (that its cold is a lame excuse, I KNOW), but that’s history. There’s not much that’s more motivating than a beautiful landscape to take in while your lungs are burning with fresh oxygen. 😉

A view of Ski Summit from the running trail around Big Bear Lake

 

It’s our goal to go out again tomorrow evening for a brisk walk, and then increase our run time on Friday. We did a little yoga when we got home, to stretch out our shocked and tight muscles. And my friend made a stellar protein shake with freshly made almond butter, chia seeds, spinach, banana etc. (sounds gross maybe, but it was de-li-cious) !!!!

Still flyiing after 5mi walk/run around Big Bear Lake

Although the snow is totally melting, I really hope to get a few more rides in before Spring takes over. I’m stoked to find that snowboarding is like riding a bike… you just strap back in and take off. I was VERY worried about having to spend the entire  first day back learning how to carve and turn etc. again (it’s been over two years since I’ve ridden), but it came rushing back. Admittedly, I was a little cautious; but let me tell you, the conditions were so pristine and my friend was still learning (only her fourth time on a board & she braved some new runs), so though we took it easy, we both managed to push ourselves ‘just right’…

a view of Big Bear Lake from Summit Run

 

 
 
 
I’m off to have some sleepy-time tea and hit the sac. Best wishes to all you winter sports enthusiasts…. get it in while we can!!!
Peace, L