Chantry Flats, Santa Anita Canyon

In my high school there’s this place called Chantry flats where everyone cliff jumps, and it’s like a ritual now. It’s a really popular spot up in the wilderness, up in the mountains above Pasadena in arcadia. And you hike through this beautiful ravine filled with forest for like a mile and a half, and you get to this beautiful rocky place with a natural waterfall, and you cliff jump. There’s an intermediate jump, which is about two stories high, and then there’s a high jump that’s about 4.5 to 5 stories high. That one I still haven’t done yet, but the next time I cliff jump, I told myself I would. The first time I did it was a couple of years ago, people in my High School do it a lot, it’s like a rite of passage, in that everyone does at some point in their High School career.

This is a good example of a legend quest in a liminal phase in life: High School is a time of constant change and creation of your identity, and cliff-jumping at Chantry Flats has become a sort of unofficial initiation into this group. It’s dangerous, not for the faint of heart, and is a rite of passage to be accepted/brought into the fold by your peers in High School.  Not only is going to Chantry Flats a way to challenge death and push yourself in front of others to show your fearlessness, but apparently it’s also really fun, so it becomes a fun pastime as well as a rite of passage. This practice has become part of the high school’s lore, seeing as it is not sanctioned by the school in any way, yet everyone in the school at some point in their High School career cliff jumps at Chantry Flats. It’s also a way to defy authority because cliff jumping is a dangerous thing, and there are no lifeguards there to say what’s safe to do and what’s unsafe.