Okay, I kid you not, as I was driving to Mt. Baldy this morning for an early-season training hike, I was bemoaning the dearth of scantily clad women in the backcountry. I mean, I've been hiking a long, long time, and while initially in my hiking career I was convinced I'd one day hit the jackpot and find a mountain covered with lovely lasses, time has taught me it never happens.
Let's face it: hiking in general and mountain climbing in particular remain male-dominated sports. So what to my wondering eyes should appear today, but a dozen or more bikini-equipped young women marching up the Ski Hut trail to Mt. Baldy's summit. Sure, they were joined by a roughly equal number of speedo-wearing young men, but with strategic eye-aversion techniques, it was mostly possible to avoid accidentally viewing anything too traumatic.
Turns out today was the 3rd annual "Mt. Baldy Speedo Hike" for On the Loose, the outdoor club of the Claremont Colleges. Speedos (for men) and two piece bathing suits (for women) were mandatory, with mustaches and German accents highly recommended. If I was a shy young student in the Claremont area with an interest in mountains and naked ladies, I would join this club in a heartbeat. In addition to bikini activities, On the Loose organizes a bevy of outdoor trips all over the Southland, with a Death Valley marathon upcoming and no doubt a rowdy party or two on the horizon as well.
I can't help but think of this as vindication for all my old fantasies of coming across a group of frolicking young nymphs in the wilderness. So for all you frustrated young male backcountry wanderers out there, take heart: a bikini party might just be waiting for you in the near future atop that next summit. Although most probably not.