Hike Number Five, February 1, 2015: Hastain Trail at Franklin Canyon.

Distance: 2.6 miles round trip

Elevation Change: 515 feet

Temperature day of hike: 80 degrees

Directions: From Sunset Boulevard, take Beverly Drive north (following it as it splits) to Franklin Canyon Drive. Turn right, and follow the ridge until you reach Lake Drive. Once you hit Lake Drive, find roadside parking, and walk to the trail head, which starts about 1/3 of a mile down on the left side of the road.

Sasha: Unless you’re living under a rock, you probably know this Sunday was the Super Bowl. While neither Abby nor I care about football, we had parties to attend, commercials to watch, and, let’s be honest, butts to ogle. In order to fit in our very important post-hike cocktail, we decided to stick to a shorter (and more local) hike, so we looked at Franklin Canyon. My research showed that the most challenging trail at Franklin Canyon is the Hastain trail, so we took a short but beautiful drive through the hills part of Beverly Hills to Franklin Canyon Park. After finding easy parking on the side of Lake Drive, we headed towards the marked trailhead to begin our climb.

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We were happy to see that unlike some of our previous hikes, it looked like Hastain would be a steady incline and fairly good, albeit short, work out. While the main trail is wide and well-maintained, I read that there is a challenging single track that shoots off to the left about .4 miles from the start, so we decided to aim for that route. We spotted what looked like a marked single track route, but after I took a short scouting trip past the blank sign (seriously), I quickly realized this was not the trail I read about and we resigned ourselves to the more obvious, wide path. Soon after, we ended up passing what we later realized was the actual path, which looked more akin to a water runoff trail than a hiking trail. Note that this trail is not on MapMyHike, so you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled if you don’t want to miss it.

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We continued upward through a chain link fence, and at about the 1 mile point, we reached an overlook with beautiful views of Century City, and the depressingly empty Lower Franklin Reservoir. There’s an option to head right and descend into the canyon at this point, but we continued up to the left to reach the top of the mountain. You’ll pass through two more chain link fences, and finally reach the highest point of the trail, with views of the incredibly green canyon and the city beyond.

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Abby: It felt nice to take a little break at the first overlook, since it was so hot outside and the bugs decided they wanted to join us on this hike. An unwelcome addition to my weekly hike sunburn is the bug bites I acquired. The view overlooking the city was beautiful; however the lake we were eager to see at this point was waterless. The LA drought is no joke. After snapping a few photos, we decided to continue up the mountain. This second half of the trail was a little steep, but since this was our only workout for the day, we trekked quickly up the incline and were greeted with more great views. When we got to the top of the trail, we hung out a bit, and as we discussed heading back down, we noticed what looked like an alternate route. It was pretty steep and narrow, so I was a little trepid, but as we’ve mentioned before, if a hike doesn’t feel like a challenge, we will find a way to make it one.

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Sasha: We figured the single track trail we could see from the top was probably the steep offshoot we missed out on, so we decided for the benefit of our readers (and our asses) we would take it for the descent. This trail is narrow, steep and quite slippery, and we were grateful for a somewhat recent rain that stuck much of the loose gravel to the path. There were definitely a few sections where we needed to use our hands for safety, so we regretted forgetting our fanny packs (yes, fanny packs) for water bottle storage. When we finally reached the bottom, we realized that the path we had mistaken for a water runoff trail on our way up was indeed the beginning of this steeper trail. While this trail down was challenging due to its steepness, it was easy to follow and we made our way down fairly quickly.

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Pro’s:

  • Great city views
  • Wide, well kept trails
  • Multiple trail options
  • Really green and lush
  • Dogs have to be on a leash

Con’s:

  • So many bugs – could be because of the weather, though
  • Hard to find alternate routes on main trails
  • Not much shade
  • No real options for a longer, more challenging hike

Tips:

  • Pay attention on the way up, as it’s not clearly marked
  • Go during the day, as at night it would be really dark and hard to navigate

Holy Shit View Factor: 6/10 Great views of LA, beautiful lush plants all the way up

How Good Your Ass Will Look Afterwards: 6/10 Could have likely been more had we found the steeper option on the way up

Post hike grub spot: We drove down the hill to Via Alloro in the middle of Beverly Hills for a quick bite. We both had a refreshing raspberry Bellini, which was wonderful, and split a Caesar salad.

Tracking the hike: We used MapMyHike again, and as mentioned before were able to navigate our way down the right side of the mountain with the zoom in and GPS options.

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Hike Number Four, January 17, 2015: The M*A*S*H Hike

Distance: 5.24 miles

Elevation change: 433 feet

Temperature: 68 degrees

Directions: 1925 Las Virgenes Road, Malibu Creek State Park, Agoura Hills, CA 91301 – Take the 101 North and exit Las Virgenes towards Malibu Canyon. Turn left on Las Virgenes and continue until you see the well-signed entrance to Malibu Creek State Park on the right. Enter and be prepared to pay $12 for parking.

Abby: Despite the fact that neither of us have ever seen the show M*A*S*H*, we decided that we wanted to hike to the show set in Malibu Creek State Park. As always, Sasha looked into it and on Sunday, we headed to Malibu to check it out. We took the 101 instead of PCH because it was a holiday weekend and drive PCH during a holiday weekend is a terrible idea. When we got there, we passed the parking lot and ended up driving into a campground. I am still confused as to who sets up camp at Malibu Creek State Park but that’s a different conversation. Once we turned around, we found the parking lot and were on our way.

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Sasha: After we parked in the main lot – FYI there is a $12 parking fee so have cash handy – we decided to check out the map that was conveniently located near some restrooms that I would never use and a vending machine. We immediately noticed tons of families (read: lots of little kids) gathered around with picnic gear and we realized we were probably not going to be too challenged by today’s hike. We sped up to get in front of some larger groups and headed to the beginning of the trail, which is straight shot behind the restrooms and down a few wood steps. The path is very well marked, but if you’re nervous, you’ll immediately cross a bridge over Las Virgenes Creek, see a “no fun zone” sign and know you’re heading the right direction. If you’re using any kind of mapping app, this is marked Waycross Drive (though it is clearly for people on foot or bike, not for vehicles).

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The first section of the hike is extremely flat. After walking through a short section shaded by Oak trees (impressed that I knew that, aren’t you), the path becomes very open and you’ll walk alongside Las Virgenes Creek until you reach an intersection, where you will bear right to continue on Craigs Drive. After some more flat walking, you’ll notice a few porta potties and an option to go left, and finally, a moderate incline if you continue straight on Craigs Drive. We continued straight up the incline, which was long but not so hard (that’s what she said), and found Century Reservoir to the left pretty soon after the top. This section was especially well populated, as Century Reservoir turned out to be a popular swim spot for families. We decided to skip it because too many children and unhygienic adults (ew) and headed onward. The rest of the path was pretty straight forward, and you’ll know you’re almost to the site when the path suddenly narrows into a single track (and very rocky) trail through some woods. Once the trail widens again, you’ll immediately see the M*A*S*H* site ahead of you.

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According to the internet, M*A*S*H* was filmed at the Malibu Creek Park site from 1972-1983. The site is extremely well preserved and clean, with a couple of trucks you can climb into and a picnic area. Though Abby and I had no clue what the significance of any of the vehicles or other props were, we luckily had some guests along who had greater appreciation for this piece of Hollywood history. Despite our M*A*S*H* ignorance, the setting was pretty spectacular, though I’m a little confused about whether Malibu and Korea are really all that similar.

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Abby: We walked a little bit further than the set site but learned quickly there wasn’t much else to see, so we headed back down. On our way down we saw someone who was walking the trail with no shoes or socks on, and I don’t think we’d recommend doing that because there are a lot of rocks, and lets be real, it’s not smart to walk anywhere outside without shoes on. It was busy again when we got closer to the entrance but it was easy to make our way down. When we got to the end of the hike, we all agreed it was more of a nature walk. We also ran to the car as we were starving.

Pro’s: 
  • Beautiful scenery
  • Nicely shaded
  • Signage made it easy not to get lost
Con’s:
  • Not many inclines, so it was more of a trail walk than hike
  • Lots of people at the entrance/exit
Tips: 
  • It would be fun to have a picnic on the MASH site, so bring food if you are into that
Holy Shit View Factor: 6/10
  • The foliage was really beautiful
  • There were several times where we noted that it was great scenery because of the trees and mountains
How good your ass will look after: 4/10 There was a small climb that was pretty steep about half way through
Post hike grub spot: We went to Mediterranean Pit Grill because who doesn’t want Mediterranean food after exercising? It was excellent food. We had a friend with who is on a strict diet and still found something she could have.

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Hike Number Three, January 4, 2015: Bee Rock, a Griffith Park Hike.

Distance: 5.45 miles round trip

Elevation Change: 833 feet

Temperature day of hike: 60 degrees in the shade

Directions: Take the 5 to the Los Feliz Boulevard exit. Drive west on Los Feliz Blvd. to the first light and turn north on Crystal Springs Road. Drive north for 1.3 miles and turn left at the intersection following signs for the merry-go-round. Drive up the hill for a quarter mile and turn right at the barricade in the road into the parking lot. For GPS directions use, Trailhead address: Crystal Springs Drive & Fire Road, Griffith Park, Los Angeles, CA 90027.

Abby: Since our first two hikes were both in Malibu with incredible beach views, we thought we’d switch it up and find an inland trail. One of my favorite hikes has always been at Griffith Park, but each time I’ve climbed I’ve started at the Observatory, and gone up from there. This time, we drove behind the mountain (where there is a zoo, pony rides, and a merry-go-round by the way) and decided to start from that side. Sasha had done most of (all of) the research on this hike, so I really didn’t know what was about to happen. As we parked, she mentioned that it seemed pretty complicated, so we took screen shots of the trail we wanted to attempt before heading toward the trailhead.

Sasha: I felt like I needed to do more research before we started this hike, as there are over 50 miles of trails at Griffith Park and I have spent very little time on any of them. I’m into hikes with a nice payoff moment, and since we weren’t going to be getting any ocean views, I needed to hit at least one Griffith landmark. When I stumbled across this 3.8 mile hike, which takes you to the top of Bee Rock and through the old Zoo grounds, I felt like I hit the jackpot. I was slightly disappointed by the light mileage, but figured we could choose to extend on one of many trails afterwards if we decided we wanted to. Abby and I had joked that a theme of our hikes has been “how do we make this harder,” so I knew she would be game to explore other options.

When we first drove into the parking lot for the Merry-Go-Round, we were greeted by the sweet sounds of a drum circle. We were a little put off by the crowds of families, but quickly noticed that they seemed to be picnicking in the grassy areas in the shade of the mountains and that the trails seemed less crowded. On our last hike, we’d realized we couldn’t count on cell phone service to pull up directions, so 16 screen shots later, we got out of the car and started towards the path.

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We headed southwest past the gate as directed and were immediately welcomed by at least four trail heads. I stared at my phone for a few minutes and with zero confidence, and pointed us ahead on a wide fire road. We knew we were looking for a set of stairs and after about 10 minutes of flat walking (and no stairs), Abby looked at me and said “I think we biffed it.” She was definitely right, but we decided to ignore the directions, head on and choose our own adventure. We took the first opportunity we could to cut up a narrow unmarked path to a slightly higher fire road (Mineral Wells Trail), and after about 20 minutes or so, we noticed Bee Rock above us to the left and felt confident we could figure out a way to get to the top on our own.

Eventually, Mineral Wells Trail ended, and we saw a much narrower trail that took a sharp left turn up the mountain. We continued onward and after a few switchbacks, we were pretty sure we were on our way to the top of Bee Rock. We eventually hit a fork in the trail, and luckily encountered a family on their way down. We quickly realized that the family didn’t speak any English, but the father pointed to our left and said to his daughter “dile que es muy feo.” I know enough Spanish to know that meant “go right,” which admittedly looked a lot steeper, and a little more “feo,” but we headed onward. After a few tight switchbacks, we saw we were approaching a chain link fence and a short set of stairs. We followed the chain link fence along a rocky ridge, and finally found ourselves at the top of Bee Rock.

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Abby: I have to admit, when I came back to LA after a long holiday weekend of eating and drinking, I went a little overboard with the workouts, so my legs really felt that steep climb. I was grateful to take a few minutes to rest and look at the city views from the top of the climb. As we left the top of Bee Rock, we decided to try to make a loop of it, and scaled down the other side of the mountain, which was pretty flat for the most part. After a few miles on Vista del Valle Drive, we came to another overlook with views of downtown and at this point weren’t sure which direction would lead us to the right exit. This is where the MapMyHike app was incredibly helpful. Sasha was able to zoom in, and track where we had parked the car. As we made our final descent it became much steeper, which everyone knows I love. And by love, I mean hate.

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Sasha: After our last hike, I was mostly excited by the stats MapMyHike generated, but didn’t feel we had taken advantage of all it had to offer. After abandoning our original hiking intentions, we attempted to make our own loop on this hike. At one point when we were a little nervous we would be stuck at the top of the mountain forever, I realized that several of the larger trails were mapped on the app. I was a little nervous to trust them, but soon enough we heard the sweet sounds of the drum circle still going strong and ended up referring to the app several times on our way down the hill. We even found those elusive stairs we had missed in the beginning! I’m definitely excited to use the app more, especially in less familiar territories like Griffith Park.

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Pro’s:

  • There were a lot of other hikers along the trail, and since there are so many paths, it’s easy to get confused and having others there to help is comforting
  • Options for sun and for shade
  • Great city views
  • Wide, well kept trails
  • Lots of options to extend/amend your path

Con’s:

  • Wasn’t clearly marked, which is why we sort of made our own hike up
  • Horses also travel these trails, so watch your step
  • You spend quite a bit on a flat trail, so don’t expect to break too much of a sweat

Tips:

  • Pay attention on the way up, as it’s not clearly marked
  • Go during the day, as at night it would be really dark and hard to navigate

Holy Shit View Factor: 6/10 Great views of LA when you get to the overlooks, otherwise you’re just looking at the trail

How Good Your Ass Will Look Afterwards: 6/10 If you take the super steep path we took, you get a good 20 minutes of straight climbing

Post hike grub spot: We drove back to West Hollywood for lunch at Luna Park Café, because it is one of our favorite spots and they have incredible drink specials and the staff is very friendly.

Tracking the hike: We used MapMyHike again, and as mentioned before were able to navigate our way down the right side of the mountain with the zoom in and GPS options.

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Hike Number Two, January 1, 2015: Escondido Canyon Trail

Distance: 5.55 miles round trip

Elevation Change: 626 feet

Temperature day of hike: 60 degrees in the shade

Directions: Take PCH to Winding Road. There is limited free parking at the bottom of Winding Road and tons of street parking on PCH. For GPS directions, use 27807 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265.

Sasha: We know we said we were going to be doing a hike once a week, and probably on Sundays, but since we were both lucky to have extended holiday breaks and this challenge is all about exploring in 2015, we decided to start the year off with our second hike on January 1. On our first hike, we discussed what we would be excited to encounter through the year, and Abby mentioned wanting to see a waterfall or two. So despite sage advice from T-Boz, Left Eye and Chili, we decided to kick off 2015 chasing waterfalls in the middle of a severe drought. Five minutes of Internet research later, we found Escondido Falls in Malibu.

The drive up the PCH was stunning, per us, and we were excited that the weather seemed to be on par with that of our first hike. The route to Escondido Falls took us further north than Topanga, a few miles past Pepperdine to Winding Road, which is just before Paradise Cove. While there is parking at the base of the trail off Winding Way, it is extremely limited, so be prepared to park on the PCH and make the harrowing walk against oncoming traffic to the beginning of the trail.

After risking our lives on the walk from PCH to our starting point, we were disappointed to find the beginning of the hike was a 3/4 of a mile mild climb up Winding Road, which was well-populated with lots of couples walking dogs and young families congregated at the base. We sped up to pass the groups of kids and dog owners (who seemed unconcerned with cleaning up after their dogs so tread carefully), on the wide road and continued on up past several mansions with amazing views of the ocean. After passing a beautiful house with stables to our right, we started a short and fast decent to Escondido Canyon Park, where the trail to the hidden falls actually begins.

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Abby: We got to the gravel part of the trail where we were met with loads and loads of horse shit. Literally. I didn’t intend for any sort of pun there, but I feel like there is one. Anyway, you definitely have to be cognizant of where you are stepping on this trail, as it is everywhere. The trail is about 2 miles of flat ground so it’s hard to consider this an actual hike, but as Sasha mentioned, we were hopeful to see a waterfall after having some rain in Los Angeles. When we approached the springs, we were both surprised and disappointed. Surprised that there was a little bit of a fall, but disappointed that we hadn’t really worked out and this was the end of our planned hike.

After looking around, and swinging on the random tree swing by the fall, Sasha remembered that she had read there was an extension of the hike, but it meant that we had to do some serious rock climbing. We looked at each other begrudgingly, and decided we were going to try.

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Sasha: We noticed an unmarked narrow and steep path to the right of the water trickle, and thought we heard voices from that direction so we headed that way. The path was not at all obvious, but after a short climb we saw a yellow nylon rope that was clearly tied to help hikers scale the limestone wall. Abby and I were pretty nervous about this as the limestone was covered in loose sand and gravel that was extremely slippery so were grateful our Pop Physique classes taught us to lunge and squat in more ways and directions than we knew possible. I highly recommend wearing treaded footwear if you attempt this section, which takes you up 150 feet in 1/10th of a mile. Don’t be embarrassed to use all four limbs as necessary to avoid falling off the mountain. There were several points when we threw our water bottles ahead of us because we needed hands and feet to scale boulders or make it up a particularly vertical section. There aren’t ropes throughout this section, so use sturdy roots or boulders for stability – you’ll need them.

After scaling a few more boulders, we followed voices to a large open area and the upper falls. In wetter years, it looked like we would have run straight into a pool with a lush waterfall, but there wasn’t much water given the drought. There were a few groups picnicking and chatting around the falls, and we were excited to take a few minutes to catch our breath now that the sandstone climb was over.

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Abby: While it wasn’t the most impressive waterfall, it was really exciting to see it and feel as though this hike wasn’t a total wash. I am full of unintentional puns today, it seems. We noticed that there were people scaling down the side of the mountain after having climbed to stand behind the waterfall and decided we needed to try that. I have to admit; this was pretty intimidating for me. I am not a rock climber and I am prone to breaking bones, so climbing up the side of a wet, mossy mountain was a little trepidating. Sasha went first, and made it look easy. I followed and made it without hurting myself. My father called me this morning, and was shocked that I did this, if that tells you anything. At this point, as terrible as I am at Pop Physique I am feeling quite grateful for the classes as my legs were used to moving this way.

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Sasha: I’m not really sure that we were prepared to climb back down from the upper falls but we didn’t bring camping equipment and there was no cell service, so we really didn’t have a choice. What felt steep and dangerous going up felt impossible and downright terrifying going down. We spent about half this section on our butts, doing a version of a spider climb down the mountain. When we finally made it back to the yellow rope, a snooty kid remarked there was an easier way down if we had veered to the left, but we sure as hell weren’t going to climb back up the steep section after making it so far down. We tossed our water bottles over the edge to the lower falls and completed the last bit of the climb, using a conveniently placed tree to scale down to safety.

While we had been disappointed by the first section of the trail, the comparably boring walk back to Winding Road and up PCH to the car was a nice way to unwind and stretch out after the rock climbing to and from the upper falls.

Abby: While the beginning of the “hike” left little to be desired, I have to admit that I am feeling quite accomplished from the rock climbing and waterfall portions of the trail. If you’re willing to walk the miles to the trail, and the two flat miles (watching your step) of trail leading up to the climb, it’s an adventure worth taking.

Pro’s: 

  • The second waterfall after the rock climbing is beautiful
  • Easy to navigate to lower falls
  • Most of the trail is shaded, so it probably stays cool in hotter months

Con’s: 

  • The horse and dog feces covering the flat trail
  • If you’re looking for steep inclines, there aren’t any unless you climb
  • Pets allowed on trail
  • Trails are very narrow in the climbing sections
  • Lots of people on the trail

Tips: 

  • Definitely bring water, it’s a dry course
  • Wear shoes that you can climb rocks in, if you decide to take the second half
  • Watch where you are stepping
  • Pay attention on the way up, as it’s not clearly marked

Holy Shit View Factor: 6/10 On your way to the trail, you have a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean, but along the trail you don’t have a view.

How Good Your Ass Will Look Afterwards: 4/10 The flat road at the beginning doesn’t do much for your back side, but if you decide to climb the rocks, you get a nice little workout.

Post hike grub spot: We didn’t have lunch, as we had evening plans, but Paradise Cove is a block away, and they let you take food and drink on the beach, which is a nice way to relax after the climb.

Tracking the hike: For this hike, we decided to use MapMyHike to track our trip. It was our first time playing with the app, so we’re not really sure what it’s capable of yet, but we’re excited to play with it to track our distance and elevation and to map our hikes.

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Hike Number One, December 28, 2014: Los Liones Trail up to Parker Mesa.

Distance: 7 miles round trip

Elevation change: 1,250 feet

Temperature day of hike: 65 degrees

Directions: From PCH, head east on Sunset Blvd to Los Liones Drive (the second left off Sunset). Drive up Los Liones Drive until it runs directly into the clearly signed trail head. Park anywhere on the street. For GPS directions, use 575 Los Liones Dr., Pacific Palisades, CA.

Abby: One of the things I appreciate the most about Sasha is that she is a dear friend, and also my exercise buddy. When one of us finds a new or different workout to try, we try it together. When you have a workout buddy, you are committed to actually trying that work out. That being said, before the holiday break she asked if I was interested in one of the long hikes in Malibu, as opposed to the 32-minute schlep up Runyon, that week. I agreed and we decided on Sunday. When Sunday rolled around, I woke up and checked my handy iPhone weather app as it had been cold in Los Angeles (60 degrees is freezing), and it said 42 degrees. What the hell, LA? So I showered, put on my Lululemon pants, a t-shirt, a long sleeved shirt, a sweatshirt, a scarf and two pairs of socks before heading out the door. Sasha picked me up wearing exactly the same thing; we grabbed our Starbucks and headed toward the PCH for a beautiful drive along the Pacific Ocean with the top down, because even if it’s 40 degrees, you have to have the top down when you’re driving the PCH. We got to Topanga Canyon, and when we parked the car realized the weather was much better in Malibu than it was in West Hollywood. Thank God. We took off the scarves and two layers, and made our way to the trail.

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The first 1.5 miles are more like a nature walk than a hike. It’s a pretty narrow path through several trees with low-hanging branches. Watch your head if you’re tall. When we got to the first overlook I even said to Sasha, “that didn’t feel at all like one and a half miles” which I quickly learned was a jinx. There was an older couple sitting on a bench, so obviously we bothered them for a photo. The lovely old man had some major photog skills, despite asking how to use the iPhone camera.

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Sasha: Because the weather was so beautiful and we were trying to get a “real” workout in, we decided to continue onward and upward. I had previously hiked the 3-mile Los Liones loop and knew there were options to extend, so we headed in the direction that looked like it would take us to the top of the mountain. The path widens as you meet the fire road, which takes you up to Parker Mesa Overlook.

What started out as a leisurely nature stroll turned into a relentless climb. We hiked up. And up. And up. There was definitely a lot of grunting and sweating, a few “my ass better look amazing after this” comments and several stops to admire the spectacular views and chug water. About 3/4th of the way through this section, there was a short and steep decline into a field that would have been perfect for frolicking in if we hadn’t been so damn tired. Don’t be fooled by this slight break though, you will have to regain that elevation pretty quickly. There’s very little shade in this section, so we were grateful for a cool LA winter breeze.

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After climbing for about 1.5 miles, we were borderline ecstatic to see some signage pointing us .5 miles towards our summit, Parker Mesa Overlook. We noticed there were options to extend further, but we decided to stick with the 7-mile loop.

Since neither of us were familiar with the post-Los Liones section of this hike and our research had consisted of thirty seconds of iPhone searching in a Starbucks parking lot that morning, we weren’t really sure what to expect for the big view pay off. After an easy .5 miles of rolling hills on a narrow path, we reached the cleared summit. We were lucky enough to have a perfectly clear day and panoramic views from snow-covered mountains and the entire city to the south east, to miles of ocean and blue skies to the west and north.

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Abby: As much as climbing the inclines sucks, walking back down the mountain is so much worse. But that’s with any hike, so I’ll try not to say that every week. There were a few spots where we had to trek back up the mountain, but it was a lot of downhill hiking, so be prepared for that. I never am. When you get to the last mile and a half, remember that it is very narrow, so be equipped to have to move out of the way often to accommodate other hikers.

Sasha: One of our favorite topics of conversation is that we wish we knew what we know at twenty-nine when we were younger. While the past year has certainly been full of challenges for us both, we’re both so grateful for the wisdom that comes with the confidence and experience of our “advanced” age. We’re both turning thirty in 2015, which feels big and important, and given the time of year, we decided we needed New Year’s resolutions befitting the numeric and emotional milestones. We wanted to do something that was good for us, but we both exercise a ton already, and I love food too much to resolve to diet, so we had to think of something a little different.

As I was standing in Niketown a few days after Christmas with a totally unnecessary new pair of hiking shoes on my feet, I thought “if I buy these, I need to hike more,” and then “maybe there’s a New Year’s resolution in that.” Between grunts on the upward climb, Abby and I discussed and she came up with the brilliant idea to do it together (accountability is everything) and to blog about it.

So here’s the first of our year of 50 hikes. Over the next year, we’ll explore trails across the city and state and post about our experiences here. We’ll post helpful tips, rate the hikes, give you the pros and cons and hopefully make you laugh at least once. We’re welcoming suggestions, questions and partners-in-climb. While we’re not sure where this blog is going to take us, if Los Liones and Parker Mesa are any indication, we’re sure we’re going to enjoy the views.

Pro’s:

  • Incredible views
  • Clear signage
  • Trash cans along the way
  • No pets allowed on the trail
  • Nice overlooks to rest at every mile or so
  • Wide fire-road trails on the steep climbs

Con’s:

  • The first 1.5 miles can trick you into thinking it will be an easy climb
  • A lot of it is very narrow, making it challenging for several people to be in one spot
  • Very little shade

Tips:

  • It was significantly busier on our way down than on our way up, so go early in the day. We started at 10:30am.
  • While the weather was perfect in December, it can get very hot and dry in the summer. If you do this hike in the hotter months, we definitely suggest a hat, extra water and an earlier start.
  • Abby got a bit of a sunburn, despite the temperature being in the low 60’s, so wear sunscreen. Sasha was smart enough to do so.
  • Definitely bring water. Other hikers had food as well, and ate it at the top.
  • Bring a camera, the views are gorgeous.

Holy Shit View Factor: 10/10 So beautiful you may lose your breath a few times. It’s probably from the hike, but you have an excuse with these views.

How Good Your Ass Will Look Afterwards: 7/10 The flat road at the beginning doesn’t do much for your back side, but the inclines make up for it later.

Post hike grub spot: Café Havana. Get a mimosa because you deserve it (and it’s garnished with a fresh strawberry) and the Kale Caesar salad because it’s Malibu and it’s fucking delicious. We both cleared our plates.