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, photography, Uncategorized

Fall Colors Southern California Style

It may be December, but the temperatures have been in the 70’s and the colors of fall show up every now and again. My favorite time to hike the hills is just before sunset. I haven’t been on this particular hike for quite some time – I used to take my dogs Ubu and Sam on it regularly, but alas, both of them are gone now. I have a new crop of dogs – three this time, and they were happy to accompany on a little adventure.

This little valley lies around a mile from the 101 freeway, but it is sheltered from the noise and pollution that suggests. The trailhead lies down Sunset Road, off of Rimrock. There are lots of little ranches around, and I park next to this one.

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On the trail itself the dogs and I passed two women on three horses. Up and down we went until I spied poison oak looking quite pretty.

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It looks less pretty when it turns my arms bright oozy red. But I have learned from past indiscretions and wear long sleeves now.

After a good long climb and some copious, but cleansing, sweating, we reached the top of the trail. I love how isolated it feels.

Sunset HDR

I didn’t want to be caught out here after dark, though, so I headed back after taking this photo. The sun through the oaks said a pretty goodbye.

sunset thru oak

Yet as we loaded into the car a chorus of coyotes broke out in strange song. My most fiesty dog, Kima, looked concerned and eager to track them down.

alarm

Such adventures would have to wait for another day, though. As will further posts on my Camino adventures. I want to finish that photo series by the end of the month, but holiday preparations have cut into my blogging time. Soon, though. Yes. Soon …

 

hiking, photography, travel, Uncategorized

Transformation Through Fire – Simi Valley, California

My little break from my photo series 100 Spanish Photos (now almost to 200) continues for a few more days, it seems. Southern California afforded some great photos when my hiking friend and I visited a spot near Simi Valley that was scorched by wildfire within the last two months. Despite the charcoal smell and barren earth, beauty was present.

The golden hour faded to blue night while spindly branches reached toward the sky.

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The moon shone tiny but silver overhead.

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And an alien lifeform glowed atop a hill.

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Won’t you join me on future adventures? I welcome companionship. Click follow or enter your email in the box on the right to subscribe.

photography, travel, Uncategorized

The Surprising Majesty of San Pedro, California

I am once again taking a little break from my photo series 100 Spanish Photos (now almost to 200) that documents my walk down the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain. A good friend took me on an adventure in my back yard – Southern California. In particular, San Pedro. I’d been there a couple of times, once to visit the Battleship Iowa and a few times to take boats around the bay or to Catalina Island, but somehow I had missed these wonderful spots.

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