Having time to reflect on the trip has been good as the experience turned out very differently than imagined and that took some time to process. Here I would like to share the 5 important lessons that I learned on the trail.
Tomorrow I head to the hills, to explore a new trail on our public lands. The freedom to enjoy these lands is due to others who have served our country to protect us. Many of whom have given their lives doing so. A friend posted this note on Facebook about Memorial Day and I plan to take it to heart. I may not visit a cemetery, but I plant to visit my church in the mountains, reflect on the day, and remember the fallen.
The Angeles National Forest is alive with wildflowers! They were everywhere on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT)... even the dreaded Poodle-dog Bush. The beautiful purple flowers masking the nasty stinging rash you will get from touching it. So many pretty flowers on just one trail!
We have 3 days! Where should we go? What should we do? As Memorial Day weekend was approaching I was heading into planning mode. We needed to take advantage of the long weekend... should we head to Joshua Tree? Maybe the Sierra? Road trip down to San Diego, how about up to Santa Barbara? Should we go backpacking or car camp? Hike, climb or both? Dogs coming or dogs staying?
A last minute head's up to join a friend for a hike last Tuesday turned into a lovely afternoon. While at Outdoor Retailer, a couple of weeks ago, a friend, and Director of Sierra Club Outdoors, Stacy Bare said he was might be doing a hike to the Hollywood Sign. Despite being born in Hollywood and living in Southern California for a couple of decades, I have never done this hike. So I figured what better excuse than a friend coming in from out of town to head into the Hollywood Hills.
Realizing that I had not actually asked what day the hike was going to happen, a quick email exchange cleared up that the meet-up point was at the top of Beechwood Canyon/Sunset Ranch @ 1pm. Paul, Betty and I met up with some Stacy, some Sierra Club volunteers, veterans, and actress, Brooklyn Decker. We were a small but merry band with Betty embarking on her first hike! This is a family-friendly & pet-on-leash-friendly hike with the best views of the sign being from a mid-way point below it. Once you get to the top there is a chain link fence preventing you from getting to the actual sign and you have a view of the back of the sign. Round trip the hike is 3-4 miles and all fire roads.
You may not believe me, but until I Googled her after the hike, I had no idea who Brooklyn was. During the hike we learned about her volunteer work with the military and veterans, and that she is going to be helping bring awareness to getting youth outdoors as an Ambassador for Sierra Club Outdoors! It was great to form an opinion of someone based on actually getting to know them a little and not have a pre-conceived idea of what they might be like based on their celebrity. Always inspiring to meet someone using their influence for good and supporting a great organization like Sierra Club Outdoors!
The Sierra Club Outdoors is something we believe strongly in. We are instructors for the Wilderness Travel Course (WTC) which is part of Sierra Club Outdoors, as well as volunteers for the Advanced Mountaineering Program (AMP). We are also on the path to become rated Sierra Club trip leaders to bring others into the wilderness. How can we expect people to want to save our natural places if they have never experienced them? Last night at our first WTC class a friend described WTC as "a gateway drug" to the outdoors, we all laughed but it is true. We are teaching outdoor skills that give people the confidence to go out and enjoy nature…. and maybe even bring friends and inspire others…. and so on and so on. Wouldn't it be great if everyone could become addicted to nature.
So here is my shameless plug to check out Sierra Club Outdoors. They have tons of programs and events focused on getting people outdoors!