Tag Archives: Santa Monica Mountains

Exploring the open spaces in Los Angeles–always a surprise!

No surprise to anyone living in Los Angeles, I’m certain, but  a Traffic Index report released by GPS manufacturer TomTom,  has declared L.A. the most congested city in the United States. I didn’t bother to investigate the exact boundaries they researched, since as far as I’m concerned, they may as well be speaking about all of Southern California.

Last weekend we bravely faced a 3 1/2 hour 90-mile journey to visit with friends in North San Diego County, and perhaps odd to hear, we were ebullient when the return trip only took two hours–woo-hoo! But you do the math! 5 1/2 hours!

I won’t pretend it doesn’t frustrate me, but complaining about “life in the fast lane going slow” doesn’t help me breathe lighter.

But this does!

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A familiar theme in my life revolves around finding ways to ameliorate the stress that comes from living in a high population density region, so for my birthday in March I bought a pair of high quality hiking boots and latched on to patient friends with hiking experience.

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Destination? Parker Mesa Overlook on the west side of Topanga State Park, the world’s largest wildland within the boundaries of a major city.

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The cliffs and canyons of the Santa Monica Mountains offer spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean.

 

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The morning fog shrouded the view a bit, but kept the approximately 5 mile hike a little more comfortable.

In addition to views of the Pacific Ocean, Topanga State Park features 36 miles of trails through open grassland, with oak groves, native shrub and flowers and an opportunity to leave the stress of city chaos for a quiet bit of solitude.

 

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I huffed and puffed up the very steep incline towards the Parker Mesa Overlook thrilled to enjoy the natural beauty.

I encouraged my more experienced (and in better shape) hiking partners to go on ahead and let me  do my best.  At a certain point my only focus was on breathing, so I am sure I missed many of the numerous geologic formations, including earthquake faults, marine fossils, and volcanic intrusions. Maybe next time!

 

Parker Mesa Overlook

From an elevation of 1,525 feet, Parker Mesa Overlook offers a great view of the Pacific Ocean, but the coastal fog had not lifted much and was still quite dense. I didn’t care. I was just so happy that I made it to the top!

My small group of hiking friends waited for me and greeted me with a round of applause. Good thing it wasn’t a timed race!

I do believe the best antidote to the stress of traffic congestion is getting out in the open air–and well above it.

I wonder where my new hiking boots will take me next time! Any suggestions?

 

 

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