photography, Uncategorized

Fall … ing in Southern California

Sure, there’s not much in the way of fall colors near Los Angeles, but I found a little bit. This is looking out toward the Santa Monica Mountains from the top of a hill.

IMG_2785

 

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hiking, photography, Uncategorized

Adventure in the Suburbs – Oak Park, California

I’m a firm believer that adventure lies all around us, if we only look. I’m privileged to make my home near the Santa Monica Mountains in southern  California, and the towns that surround it have wonderful parks and hiking trails hidden here, there, and everywhere. Last night the dogs and I went exploring at a nearby dog park that I hadn’t yet visited – Oak Canyon Dog Park.

It is nestled in a valley near the creek. Views of the mountains lie in all directions, as do the sights of happy, rambunctious dogs.

dog park

All three of mine come racing when I call like cowboys on horseback in a classic Western.

dogga wogs

It is such fun when you are leashed all your life to run free. Doesn’t Rudy’s expression say so?

rudy roo 2

rudy roo

To the side of the park, in the cold winter shade, lies a trail. Why not? I thought. Sure, it looks a bit steep, but I can manage it. What followed was twenty steps and a rest. Twenty-five and a rest. Twenty more and a longer rest. You get the picture. At one point I thought of turning back because it was too hard. Then my rebelliousness kicked in. “I’ve already come this far. What’s a little more?” Then up, up, up, and desperate hoping that a trail lay at the very top so that I wouldn’t have to risk tumbling down the hill on descent.

Gloriously, I made it! And promptly collapsed on a little flat space, catching my breath as the dogs and I surveyed the valley below.

hilltop

Then down, down, down to an oak grove both beautiful and serene.

oak

As the sweat dried on my back, I enjoyed the exhilaration of summiting another hill with the best companions of all.

What adventure will you find this week?

hiking, travel, Uncategorized

360 Degrees of Beauty – Santa Monica Mountains, CA

If you can ignore the hideously high prices of real estate, food, gas, (and, well, everything else), the geographical disasters – mudslides, earthquakes, wildfires, droughts – and the occasional civil unrest (riots, shootings, muggings, oh my!) then the Los Angeles area has a lot to recommend it. The weather is famous with sunny skies and mild temperatures practically year round. And although the earthquakes are a nuisance sometimes, they do have nice side effects: gigantic mountains. If you’re a hiker like me, that’s a good thing.

Los Angeles also has its fair share of, shall we say, unique individuals. For example, a few months back, this made the news. Some overly muscled young men, one presumes, lugged a piano up to the top of a nearby hill. Witness:

Source: Eddie P.
Source: Eddie P.

My hiking friend Sara and I had to check this out. Which had nothing to do with the prospect of overly muscled young men, I assure you. Is it getting warm in here? Anyhow, early one Sunday morning we set off on a ridgeline path on the Topanga Lookout Trail that ended in views like these:

graffiti two

lookout two

lookout

graffiti one

Alas, the piano had disappeared, perhaps pushed over the edge into the brush below? We will never know. We were too busy checking out the colorful graffiti. And the 360 degree view.

The day was a bit warm, but  the breezes are nice up high here, and you’ll seldom find a better view in the round. The three muskateers, Rudy, Kima, and Misha, smiled their approval.

PicMonkey Collage

In case you’re in the area (about 35 miles northwest of Los Angeles), here’s another link for the Topanga Lookout Trail. Recommended!