The other day I was itching to get out on a hike. But I didn't just want to go anywhere, I wanted to find somewhere new.
I had slept in late that day, and seeing as how the sun can set around 5:30 in December, I had to make sure I wasn't going to drive an hour to hike for 30 minutes. so I logged onto a website my coworker recommended called The Modern Hiker to find an appropriate hike on their list of Best Hikes and Trails in Los Angeles.
I decided that Temescal Canyon looked do-able in the amount of time I had. So I took off around noon.
I parked right on Sunset Boulevard in the Pacific Palisades, hopped out of my car, and the trailhead was practically right in front of me. The beginning of the trail was quiet and calm, but close enough to the Palisades neighborhoods that dogs could be heard barking in the distance. I actually got off trail accidentally and wound up really flustering one dog by getting a little too close to his backyard. He seemed friendly enough. I apologized to the fur monster and continued on my way.
The base of the trail winds through a desert forest - I'm no ecologist, but that's the only way I could describe it. Trees seem to grow out of dirt, and they live alongside cacti. I hiked in and out of shade, and sometimes walked through tree tunnels.
As I continued up the mountain, the trees cleared and the mountains emerged. I made my way up a few switchbacks until the trail somewhat leveled out and made way for an incredible view of the Pacific.
The trail continues further upwards yet, and I did make it to the peak, but I guess I was too in awe (or maybe just in the moment) to think to take a photo. Anything other than a panoramic shot wouldn't have done it justice, because as I stood at the top of this trail, I could look left and see all of downtown Los Angeles in the distance, and as I scanned westward I could point out Century City, the sprawl of the city and the grid streets of Santa Monica, and then the beaches - the Santa Monica Pier, the Pacific Coast Highway below and even some small little planes headed out over the Pacific from LAX. And then of course to my right is the huge expanse of the ocean, refusing to be ignored.
I figured with the sun on it's way down over the water I should head back instead of taking the trail further down the other side of the mountain to Skull Rock - I'll have to save that trip for another day. But I wasn't quite ready to head home, so I thought I'd take a drive around the Palisades. I'd never been there before and man, was the neighborhood nice.
I ended up driving down a dead end street that bumped up against a cliff overlooking the Malibu Trailer Park (seems like an oxymoron, but it's a thing). It seemed like a great place to just sit and relax, and so I did.
It was a day for the books, and yet another one of those hikes that reminded me how lucky I am to live in such a gorgeous place with so many new locations to explore. I'm convinced I'll be back again, but then again, I don't take much convincing for those kinds of things.