Monday, January 15, 2018

Where We Climb Like Mountain Goats

I often tell people that we go to Los Angeles nearly every year, and when I am asked what we do while we're there, they're usually surprised when I tell them that we enjoy hiking in nature. Yes, Los Angeles, synonymous with Disneyland and Hollywood and fame, silicon, extravagance, and excess... it also has some wonderful hiking spots.

We arrived on Friday afternoon to sunny skies and a lovely little suite in Van Nuys, complete with the ubiquitous Californian swimming pool. Yes, I like nature, but I am pretty high maintenance when it comes to accommodations:

The next day, we set out to explore one of the canyons we had not yet been to before: Las Virgenes Open Space Preserve. You can see how dry it is out here, even after the rains they got earlier last week. It took me a while to adjust to it, having come from rainy Vancouver Island. I have always hated climbing hills, but the hubby always seems to convince me to go just a little bit higher. I'm pretty sure he's part mountain goat. Having said that, we are rewarded with some spectacular views:

Luckily, we also rewarded ourselves handsomely for all the hard work of that climb later at Brent's Deli, where a sandwich ain't a sandwich unless it has 18 slices of pastrami in it:

The next day, we explored the Encino Farmer's Market. It was cool to see Californian produce available fresh from the farms in Fresno and the San Fernando valley:

Later on, we went up to the Santa Susana Pass to do more goat-hiking. You can see this is NOT where fruit is grown:

But it's a pretty cool place to sit and eat an apple:

After that, we moved onto an area called The Garden of the Gods, which was part of the Iverson movie ranch where many of the Western "B" movies were filmed between 1912 until the early 1960s. My dad is a big fan of westerns, and I bet he would recognize a lot of the views:

Today, we walked around the King Gillette Ranch, owned by the famous razor guy. I can't figure out if he was really a king or if King was actually his first name, but regardless, he sure lived like a king. The stable house has been converted into the visitor's centre, which wasn't too shabby-looking at all:

And after that, we made our way to Malibu Creek State Park, which we have hiked many times over the years. I never get tired of the views there. I'm so used to being the only ones on the trails there, but it's Martin Luther King Jr. day here today, so there were loads of people out and about... not that you could tell in this photo. It's a vast enough space to share, I guess:

It looks like we've been running around the whole time we have been here, but in truth, we've really only been out until just after lunch. The afternoons have been spent back at our little suite, reading and watching videos and napping, with the occasional adventure on the inflatable swan in the pool. No, this is not nature either, but it's kinda close:

And yes, I've had a few blissful hours of knitting. I've made some great progress on this improvised cowl that I'm making with an alpaca/merino/cashmere blend. It's a bit strange to be knitting something snuggly and warm in a place where I've been sweating buckets, but goodness knows I'll need it for when I get home, because the forecast back on the Island sure isn't for days upon days of sunshine:

It's been nice to get a few days away from responsibilities and from the things that have been monopolizing my brain lately. I usually live a pretty regimented life: work hard, exercise hard, eat right, sleep early... but right now, I feel like it's all I can do to sit quietly and breathe. I've decided not to beat myself up about it, and as I sit here in my stretchy pants and contemplate another dinner of lots of smoked meat, I feel grateful to have had some rest. Regimens can wait... rest and healing can't.

We're flying back tomorrow, and while I'm sad to leave the sunshine, I'm ready to go home. Maybe I'll be finished my cowl by the time we land. It'll be nice to feel the soft squishiness on my neck...

... just as soon as I wipe the sweat off it first. Have a good week!

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