Urban hiking this week in the western/central part of L.A. I hiked about four miles at Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area (which I’ll refer to as Hahn SRA for the sake of brevity), a couple miles at Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook and then walked around the La Brea Tar Pits for a couple of hours as well. This made for a full and fun day of hiking.
Don’t know why I took so long to hike this trail which sits right next to Mount Wilson and across from Strawberry Peak. I could see so much here, from the numerous peaks in the San Gabriel Mountains all the way down to LA, the Verdugo Mountains, Griffith Park, the entire Santa Monica Mountain Range and much more. It’ is also great to be able to look at old photos of these peaks and get them all straight in my head, like finally solving a long nagging riddle. I now know which peak is Mount Lowe, which is Mount Markham, and so on. Can’t wait to get back here on a clear winter day.
My third trip to the top of Mount Islip, this time starting from Crystal Lake Recreation Area instead of off CA-2/Angeles Crest Highway. I wanted to acquaint myself with the road to Crystal Lake as well as the area itself. Crystal Lake is about 25 miles north of Azusa and I had driven the first ten or so of the road to get to my Bridge to Nowhere and Shoemaker Canyon hikes. Although I had hiked to the peak before, it was valuable to get a new visual perspective, not only of Islip but also the other peaks in the area – Hawkins and the peaks on Hawkins Ridge, Mount Waterman and Twin Peaks, all the way out to Front Country peaks like Mount Wilson and Strawberry Peak. I learn more every time I go hiking.
I was happy to get back to the mountains and enjoy a day of peaceful solitude. It feels like it’s been awhile since I’ve hiked in a place that was free of crowds. On the trail I seek a calm and positive state of mind where I’m free from worry and anger and negativity. Moments of true freedom can be found on the trail. For me, this state of mind is easiest to reach when I hike on uncrowded trails with vast mountain views, like some found in the Angeles Forest. Sunset Peak sits beneath Mount Baldy and has outstanding views of nearly all the San Gabriel Mountain Range. It was a bit hazy today.
Trying to beat the heat is always one of my first priorities when choosing a trail. This week I traveled up the coast a bit to the coolest spot I could find, about 20 miles or so past Santa Barbara. Aniso Trail runs between El Capitan and Refugio State Beaches. The trail is paved but one can hike in the dirt right next to it for much of the way. There is a section of trail, officially closed due to erosion, but the barriers are unmaintained and easy to get around and the closure does not seem to be enforced. I crossed paths with many people hiking this stretch. The blufftop views of the coastline are outstanding, and the beach below has several interesting features.