15 June 2009


My husband and I went hiking last Saturday. To those who know us, this may seem a little odd--we are not known to be the outdoorsy type. Hiking is a relatively new thing for us, at least in our adult lives. My husband was a boy scout as a child and went on lots of hikes and camping trips, and I participated in a fair number of short hikes and camp-outs myself as a kid. But I haven't walked more than a few feet into a forest in the last six or eight years, and my husband about the same.

On Memorial Day, we thought it would be fun to rent some bicycles and ride up and down the broad paved path that runs along the beach in Santa Monica. We didn't realize that the entire population of Los Angeles County also wanted to go to the beach that day. In despair of finding parking, we abandoned our beach plans and decided to go a bit further up the road to Topanga State Park. That was gleefully uncrowded, and we hiked about a mile and a half on a circular trail--quite enough for a warm day.

We liked it. A lot. So we made plans to hike again. This time we drove up to Angeles National Forest. I have to admit, I always laughed about Angeles National Forest, because the only part of it I had seen was the part that you drive through on Highway 5, which has no trees. Lots of little scrubby shrubs, but nothing more than four feet tall. "Angeles National Forest?" I'd say, "What, exactly, makes it a forest?"

Well, there are plenty of trees further east. We paid $5 for a daily parking pass (cutely called an "Adventure Pass"), and found the entrance to the Switzer picnic area--not as easy as it sounds, because the mountains were shrouded in a heavy fog and we couldn't see more than ten feet in front of us.

See? Fog! In June!

We parked the car and hopped out, with our little backpack in tow. (We didn't have a backpack before, so I'd made a quick trip to K-Mart and bought the cheapest one they had--it is now the only thing we own with a sports team's logo on it.)

The hike is about 4.5 miles round trip. My husband tried to tell me it was 6 miles, but I looked it up when we got home and it's 4.5. A lot of it is up- and down-hill, though, so it feels like 6 miles! The waterfall at the end isn't spectacular, but it's very pretty, and a nice little payoff for the trip.

We're a little out of shape, and were both sore the next day, but it was a fun trip and I'm sure we'll go hiking again soon. Exercise is a lot more fun when there are pretty trees to look at and streams to pick your way across.

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